Food allergy post: June 2011

Before you read this month’s post, please either click over or scroll down to my last post titled, “Two Phro*Zen fans that will make your heart melt.”

Ok. Back? Alright, so those two little cuties with the cones are frequent customers, reason being that Kai (the little dude giving a thumbs up) has some food allergies. When I was approached waaay back last year about creating a safe dessert for him, I was a little confused. I knew that lactose allergies were fairly common and I had heard a little bit about gluten-free foods, but when I got a list of what making a safe batch would require I felt fenced in to say the least. There were so many “no” foods, and even the ones that were ok were only ok if they were made a certain way or had a certain label! I’ll admit that at some point during the experimentation phase, I had a small fit.

Spoon-throwing aside, when all was said and done I felt I was much more knowledgeable not only about allergies, but about ingredients and food in general, too. And you know what? All of that work, mostly on the part of the incredibly helpful and informative parents, has allowed us to create a more allergy-friendly ice cream (“Kai’s Good Karma”) for kids to enjoy…and there are probably a whole lot more kids out there with food allergies than we previously knew.

A recent study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that eight percent of children in the U.S. are affected by food allergies. Of the 5.9 million children with food allegies, nearly one-third have multiple allergies, and 39 percent have a history of severe reactions. It’s the largest study of its kind, and those findings are pretty startling. Considering the care it takes to ensure the safety of any food, and the number of items recalled every year (you’ll find a link below to the most recent list of recalls), there are some real strides to be made in the ways we process, label, and consume our food.

But enough preaching. The point I’m trying to make is that I was completely unaware of how severe these allergies could be. I had no idea how extensive the lists of unsafe foods were. I didn’t realize that even allergen to skin contact would create a reaction. But now I do, and I really hope that more people will help to get the word out about what food allergies are, and how reactions can be prevented. For some really helpful information, head over to FAAN’s website: http://www.foodallergy.org/

We’re working on some allergy-friendly ice cream sandwiches and other goodies, so watch for another update soon!

List of recent recalls and alerts:

http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/faalerts.php

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