A note from Ria Sharon of Checkmytag.com, and note from me on what it’s like to be an allergymompreneur

May 9, 2007 at 5:58 pm (Allergy News!, Blog & Websites, Blogroll, Canada, Contributors to the Podcast, education, gear, kids, labeling, newspapers, peanut, Products, social issues, USA, Websites)

Most of our friends and family are amazingly thoughtful and ask, “Is this safe?” before they give our little guy anything to eat. A few just give me the box so I can check the label. But almost all will admit their discomfort with making the call themselves, partly because they are not sure what to look for when they are reading packaged food labels.

Next week is Food Allergy Week so we are making extra efforts to promote food safety for our food-allergic friends and loved ones. The Spring issue of our bulletin, Be Aware. Be Safe. is devoted to taking the mystery out of the new labeling laws. Please help us raise awareness and understanding of food allergies, by passing this .pdf along to your friends, co-workers, educators, and childcare providers.

Also, visit our Community page, http://www.checkmytag.com/community.html beginning May 20th to read personal accounts from the blogosphere on how food allergies have changed the daily lives of a growing number of families.

Thanks for helping to keep kids safe,

Ria

Ria is a very warm and helpful individual.  Please check out her site!  It is not just about “selling shirts” for her.

Someone recently accused me of only doing this blog to direct people to my allergyware.com site.  She didn’t say it accusingly, but rather matter-of-fact.  As if.  😦  Why do I make the shirts?  Why did I do it in the first place?  Because allergies are a “growth industry?”  Because I was looking to make a quick buck?  C’mon.  My kid could DIE if he eats a peanut.  There were no shirts at all out there for sale except from England, when he tested positive for peanut.  What would YOU do?

Honestly, it is issues like the above that I am using this hiatus to think over.  I don’t want anyone to think that it is my desire or motivation to profit from my son’s life-threatening allergy.  The fact is, I’m not a millionaire who can set up a fund to research the cure.  I do not have the time to volunteer a lot and do a lot of political stuff, plus I do not have the temperament for it.

What I am is a writer with a degree in accounting.  I am a business person by training and a story-teller by birth.

I write this blog and I sell tee-shirts because I buy the tees myself.  My kid also wears shirts by other allergymompreneurs.  He took his first field trip today with his medicine in a bag from allergykids.com (thanks, Robyn).

If you are so cynical that you think for the past five years I have enjoyed some kind of status as Allergy Tee Shirt Emperor, then you are forgetting the heartbreak and daily stress and agony that go along with safe-guarding a child who is too young to speak for himself.

Pushing six years old, he is finally getting closer to being able to speak up for himself to people about his allergy.  He still can’t read, give himself his epinephrine shot, or measure out his own Benadryl.  He is dependent on any adult in his vicinity to notice if he develops hives, has trouble breathing, his eyes swell up, etc.

So I made him shirts.  When he was recently fed a nut-containing brownie at school, I sent him to school the next day in an allergy shirt, in addition to talking to his teachers about what happened.  You know what?  Call me materialistic & opportunistic and any other “istic” that you want, but I FELT BETTER knowing his shirt said this in big letters:

cutelittlesamallergyshirt.jpg

(this was him four years ago, nearly exactly!)

This is him today, in a Nut Free Zone hoodie:

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I love this child.  He is not a model, a product spokesman, a clotheshorse, or a mannequin to hang shirts on.

HE IS MY CHILD.

If you think I’m doing this blog and doing my shirts for the money, or you wonder why I don’t do more: I am doing what I can, where I can, with what I can.

I love my children, all three of them, and I am doing my best.  This blog is filled with photos, links, articles, podcasts, recalls, news, you name it.  I am doing my best.  I doubt I will ever give up the blog, but for now I am not in the frame of mind to do videos or audio podcasts.  I probably will again.  I do not feel like I am “done,” you know?  But my time is sort of maxed out right now.

Now head on over to Ria’s site, or any of the awesome Allergy Mom (and Dad) sites listed in this blogroll.

Sorry for the tangent, but I think it deserves to be said: Allergy Moms who started Allergy businesses have their hearts in the right place. They should be commended, not distrusted!

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Allergy alerts! 3! US and Canada – Harry & David, Tickleberry, Greenleaf

April 11, 2007 at 9:49 am (alert, Allergy News!, Canada, labeling, milk, nut-free, peanut, tree nut, USA)

Harry & David Issues Nationwide Allergy Alert on Harry and David Dark Chocolate Clusters The Ultimate Walnut Cherry Caramel Indulgence for Undeclared Peanuts And Cashews
Contact:
Harry & David Operations Corp.
800-345-5655

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 6, 2007 — Harry & David Operations Corp., of Medford, Oregon, is recalling approximately 65 – 6 oz. boxes of Dark Chocolate Clusters The Ultimate Walnut Cherry Caramel Indulgence because they may contain undeclared peanuts and cashews.People who have an allergy to peanut or cashew products run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Harry & David is recalling all Dark Chocolate Clusters The Ultimate Walnut Cherry Caramel Indulgence boxes with a “Best Before” date of 071123. These products are: 6 oz. paperboard boxes with a folded over top. The boxes are green and cream striped. The “Best Before” date is printed in black ink and located below the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of the box.

These products were distributed throughout the United States through Harry and David Stores since March 15, 2007. Sales of this product have ceased.

There have been no injuries reported to date. Anyone concerned about a potential illness associated with this product should contact a physician immediately.

The recall was initiated after it was determined that the product contained peanuts and cashews. Investigation into the cause is ongoing.

Consumers are requested to return product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions about the recalled product may phone the Customer Service division at 800-345-5655, 24 hours a day.
________________

ALLERGY ALERT
UNDECLARED MILK, SOY, SULPHITES, PEANUTS AND WHEAT IN TICKLEBERRY’S CHOCOLATE COVERED DRIED FRUIT PRODUCTS
OTTAWA, March 28, 2007 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Tickleberry’s are warning people with allergies to milk, soy, sulphites, peanuts and wheat proteins not to consume Tickleberry’s Chocolate Covered Dried Fruit products described below. The affected products contain milk, soy, sulphites, peanuts and wheat which are not declared on the label.

The following Tickleberry’s Chocolate Covered Dried Fruit products, sold in 100 g packages, are affected by this alert. These products have been distributed nationally.

Product Undeclared Allergen
Chocolate Dried Blueberries Milk, Soy, Peanuts
Chocolate Dried Cherries (Pastel) Milk, Soy
Chocolate Dried Cherries (Dark) Milk, Soy, Sulphites
Chocolate Dried Strawberries Milk, Soy
Chocolate Dried Raspberries Milk, Soy
Chocolate Dried Apricots Milk, Soy, Sulphites, Wheat
Chocolate Dried Cranberries Milk, Soy
Chocolate Dried Cranberries (White) Milk, Soy
Chocolate Cherry, No Sugar Added Milk, Soy

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Consumption of these products may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to milk, soy, sulphites, peanut and wheat proteins.

The manufacturer, Tickleberry’s, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia is voluntarily recalling the affected products from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Dale Hoy at Tickleberry’s
250-490-5281

CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on Milk, Soy, Sulphites, Peanuts and Wheat, five of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

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Media enquiries:

Dale Hoy at Tickleberry’s
250-490-5281
Shashi Kulkarni (English)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Food Recall and Emergency Response
613-368-1622 Julie Lacoursière (French)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Food Recall and Emergency Response
613-760-4044
_______
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/recaltoce.shtml

___________ALLERGY ALERT
UNDECLARED SESAME SEEDS IN NINO D’AVERSA BREAD CRUMBS
OTTAWA, March 23, 2007 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with allergies to sesame seeds not to consume Nino D’Aversa Bread Crumbs. The affected product may contain sesame seeds which are not declared on the label.

The affected product, Nino D’Aversa Bread Crumbs, is sold in 375 g containers bearing UPC code 0 65763 00120 6. All codes are affected by this alert.

This product has been distributed in Ontario.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to sesame seeds.

The manufacturer, Nino D’Aversa Bakery Ltd., Downsview, Ontario is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Armando or Domenic, Nino D’Aversa Bakery Ltd., at 1- 416-638-3271;
CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on sesame seeds, one of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

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Media enquiries:

Shashi Kulkarni (English)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Food Recall and Emergency Response
613- 368-1622 Jean-Louis Michaud (French)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Operations Co-ordination – Quebec Area
1-866-806-4115

MILK ALLERGY ALERT
April 3, 2007

Greenleaf is recalling “Lemon Bars” due to undeclared milk.

“Lemon Bars” were sold to consumers in a single retail store, Elevated Ice
Cream Company in Port Townsend, Washington. The product is not packaged and
therefore not coded. The bars are sold individually at the retail store’s
counter.

Consumers who have purchased the product may return it to the place of
purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the
company at (360) 379-0989.

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Peanut Allergies by Brenaya Hewlett

March 19, 2007 at 7:12 am (Canada, education, kids, medical, nut-free, peanut, safety, school, shots, social issues, USA)

“May contain traces of peanuts” “Made in a facility that also processes peanuts.” These are two sentences I hate the most.” The one sentence I love the most, “made in a peanut free facility” Chairperson, honourable judges, ladies and gentlemen and fellow students. I’m going to share with you how a person gets an allergy, what anaphylaxis is and how challenging it is to live with a peanut allergy. Do you like peanuts? Well I sure don’t because to me, they are criminals.

I got my allergy because I was born prone to allergies. I have significantly lower levels of enzyme which breaks down the chemical that causes bronchial spasms. I also have high levels of IgE antibodies that are activated during and allergic reaction. Allergies are hereditary instead of someone just getting it from one parent I got it from both of mine. Because both of my parents are already lacking enzyme to give to me they give me even more IgE antibodies. I got my peanut allergy after I was born. Since I was born prone to allergies that is what started it. When my mom was breast feeding me almost every food made her nauseous but she still needed her proteins so she overdosed on peanut butter and whole peanuts. Since I have low levels of enzyme my kids will have terrible allergies because I have practically none to pass on and way to much IgE to give. Studies show that over sanitized conditions in the west have caused immune systems to overreact to absence of other infections.

What is anaphylaxis? A dictionary defines this as “a term commonly used to denote the immediate transient kind of allergic reaction characterized by a contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries due to release of pharmacologically active substance classically initiated by the combination of an allergen, mast cell-fixed and cryophilic antibody known as IgE” you might now have understood any of that but in simpler words anaphylaxis is an immediate allergy reaction that completely shuts down every single thing in your body. It is a life-threatening reaction when cells in your respitory system swell causing suffocation, cardiac failure and loss of consciousness. It must be instantly treated with epinephrine to buy you enough time to get to the hospital. Statistics show that 1.5 percent of Canadian kids have deadly peanut allergies and 15 children die a year because their peers at school were eating peanuts around them.

It is extremely challenging to live with a peanut allergy. Just imagine living your whole life knowing you could just touch a door knob and die. Try a little experiment, be me for a week you cant eat anything with any type of nut in it. Each food that you do eat you have to read the ingredients twice to be sure. At the bottom of the list get used to seeing made in a facility that also processes peanuts, and if it does say that sorry you cannot consume. If you accidentally touch peanuts, scrub your hands arms and face for five minutes and air dry. if you smell peanuts cover your mouth and nose and run away until the smell is gone. It is harder than it may look!, And there is always cross-contamination. When you are at your friends house you cant eat anything. If they had peanut butter on the knife and then put the knife in the margarine and you ate it well it is now time to go to the hospital because you are in anaphylactic shock. To sum it up, peanut allergies aren’t just something that the victim takes cautions about but everyone needs to.

In conclusion, 73 percent of people don’t know enough about allergies to be around a person that has severe reactions. Today you heard how people get allergies, what anaphylaxis is and how annoying allergies are. Next time you meet someone with any type of severe allergy show some sympathy for them. If they go into shock get out the epi pen and pull off the grey cap at the tip and jab it in their thigh, believe me it might sound weird but you will be their hero.

Brenaya wrote this speech for school. Thanks for sending it in!

Oh, PS. Sometimes people write to me and say they are having trouble breathing. If you do that, PLEASE go to the emergency room or doctor as before you even finish your email! I would drive you, myself, but oftentimes I get emails from other countries from children saying they are having trouble breathing. As a parent (and a human being) it troubles me to think that you emailed me and then perhaps collapsed.

If you write me once because you are feeling sick, please write me later and tell me you are okay. I worry about anaphylaxis and asthma and what might be happening to you.

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AllergyMoms.com conference

February 8, 2007 at 5:18 pm (Allergy News!, Canada, conferences, education, kids, medical, safety, social issues, USA)

Well, I missed the opportunity to meet some kick-ass Allergy Moms.  Here are some photos and info about ladies who are taking the matter of life-threatening food allergies into their own hands, serving our community and vowing to contribute to a change.

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Sara Shannon signing a letter she wrote to Senator Orie on ehalf of “AllergyMoms” back in Oct.

For those of you unfamiliar with Sara Shannon–she is the mother of the young Canadian girl who died of anaphylaxis in the fall of 2003.  The news story broke hearts around the world, and as I hear of it, the girl’s mother is changing lives as an activist to protect other children from a similar fate.

Listen to Sabrina explain life with allergies in the documentary she made about life with severe allergies, at age ten.

hsm-bowling-and-the-gina-thing-072.jpg

Attendees of note:

Front row:
Robyn O’Brien, Gina Clowes, Sara Shannon, Susan Taichman-Robins, Maria
Acebal

Back row:
Anna McCartney, Maureen Polensky, Kristie Serio, Catrina VonderMeulen,
Teresa Newlands

Robyn (Boulder, CO)
Gina (Cranberry Twp,PA)
Sara (Ontario, Canada)
Susan (Philadelphia,PA)
Maria (Washington, DC)

Anna (Seattle,WA)
Maureen (Bucks Count,PA)
Kristie (Dallas, TX)
Catrina (Cincinnati,OH)
Teresa (Cleveland,OH)

As you can see, this conference was exceptionall well-attended!  I will be checking my email more closely in the future.  I’m so bummed that I missed this.

Speakers:

Pennsylvania State Senator Jane Clare Orie
Sara Shannon, Food Allergy Advocate, Ontario
Todd Green, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Terri Brown-Whitehorn, MD, Attending Physician, Division of Allergy & Immunology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP),
Susan Taichman-Robins Esq.,Pennsylvania Coalition for Food Allergy
Kristie Serio, Food Allergy Support Team (FAST) Texas
Anna McCartney, Food Allergy Education and Support Team ( FEAST), Seattle
Maria Acebal Esq., Safe@School Partners, Washington, DC
Robyn O’Brien AllergyKids Foundation, Boulder
Paul and Catrina VonderMeulen, Food Allergy Advocates, Cincinnati
Maureen Polensky, RN, Pennsylvania Coalition for Food Allergy
Barry Lank from Lank/Beach productions is Toronto
Gina Clowes, AllergyMoms
AllergyMoms Food Allergy Support and Advocacy Group

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Almonds alert

February 5, 2007 at 8:18 am (Allergy News!, almond, Canada, nut-free, recalls, USA)

ALMOND ALLERGY ALERT
February 2, 2007

“Café Tasse brand Lait Café” chocolate bar is being recalled in Canada due
to undeclared almonds. It is likely this product has also entered the
United States.

“Café Tasse brand Lait Café” chocolate bar, milk chocolate with coffee
filling, a product of Belgium, is sold as a 45-g bar bearing UPC 5 400219
505405. All codes of this product are affected by this alert.

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Canadian allergy recalls

December 1, 2006 at 5:49 pm (Allergy News!, Canada, Products, recalls)

UNDECLARED ALMOND AND PEANUT IN SCHÄR BRAND SNACK – GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE WAFERS WITH HAZELNUTS

OTTAWA, November 30, 2006-The public warning issued on November 24, 2006 has been updated to include additional allergen risk and product information. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with allergies to almond protein or peanut protein not to consume the Schär brand Snack – gluten free chocolate wafers with hazelnuts. The affected product may contain almond and peanut proteins which are not declared on the label.

All Best before dates and lot codes of this product described below are affected by this alert.

The Schär brand Snack – gluten free chocolate wafers with hazelnuts, a product of Italy, is sold in a 105 g package bearing UPC 8 008698 005286 on the back panel. On some packages, the UPC on the back panel may be covered up with a sticker. These packages have a white sticker on the front panel which bears a different UPC 8 00869 80528 6. Both the UPC are affected. The package contains three individually wrapped 35 g Snack bars.

This product has been distributed nationally.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to almond protein or peanut protein.
The importer is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on peanut and tree nuts (almonds), two of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

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Media enquiries:

Shashi Kulkarni (English)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-368-1622

Linda LeBlanc (French)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-760-4112

*******************************************
ALLERGY ALERT – UNDECLARED ALMOND IN SWISS DELICE CLASSIQUE NOISETTES BRAND FINE MILK CHOCOLATE WITH WHOLE HAZELNUTS

OTTAWA, November 29, 2006-The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Euro-Excellence Inc. are warning people with allergies to almond protein not to consume the Swiss Delice Classique Noisettes brand Fine Milk Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts described below. The affected product may contain almond protein which is not declared on the label.

The affected product, the Swiss Delice Classique Noisettes brand Fine Milk Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts, is sold in a 100 g package bearing UPC 7 616501 012478. All lot codes are affected by this alert. This product has been distributed in Ontario and Quebec.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to almond protein.

The importer, Euro-Excellence Inc., located in Montreal, Quebec, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on tree nuts (almonds), one of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

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Media enquiries:

Fred Jamieson (English)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-760-4376

Marie-Andrée Lefebvre (French)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-760-4044
_________________________________________________

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