Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sugar and Spice Make All Things NICE!



While recently shopping at HEB, I noticed that Immaculate had released a Limited Edition Gingerbread Spice cookie.  I was a little hesitant to buy them since they contain eggs (my youngest is allergic to eggs).  Nervously, I decided to buy them for my oldest child to try.  Before sampling the cookies, I contacted Immaculate Baking Company to inquire about their manufacturing processes, cross-contamination, labeling, etc. since it was a new product for us.  When I called, I was politely greeted by a company representative named Jada.  I asked Jada many questions and she was very knowledgable in her answers.  Jada stated that "the Immaculate Baking Company takes food allergies very seriously and lists the top 8 allergens in addition to sesame, sunflower and mollusks".  Venture over to the Immaculate Baking Co. website (www.immaculatebaking.com) , where each product they sell has an ingredient and nutrition facts information sheet.

Since listing 'May Contain' is optional for companies, I wanted to confirm that the spice cookies were not potentially cross-contaminated with tree nuts or peanuts.  When inquiring about the specific product, two pieces of information were needed:  the series number (10 digit number) and the barcode.  This enabled the representative to accurately identify the product and see a photo of the actual product label.  Jada explained that if there is any chance of cross-contamination of a product with any of the top 8 allergens (plus sesame, sunflower and mollusks), then the product will have a 'May Contain' advisory statement.

10 digit series number (beginning with 3)

barcode

Immaculate's Gingerbread Spice cookies were a huge hit!  They were spicy, delicious and a perfect pairing for my cup of coffee and my son's breakfast:).  The bigger hit was finding a company that cares about its' consumers.

Happy Thanksgiving!  



Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gobble Gobble...

…'til you wobble!  This is a very busy and exciting time of year for obvious reasons!  It is also a very stressful time of year for those of us managing food allergies.  Coordinating menus and pleasing everyone can be a tall task, but it does not need to forecast a holiday season of stress.  We all can safely enjoy the holidays with a little prep and planning.  Part of enjoying the event, holiday, etc is enjoying the journey!  This is a great week to start planning your menu and doing the research needed to determine how foods are prepared to avoid cross contamination, decoding the ingredient list to determine any hidden dangers, and educating family members about your family's food allergies.  For us, the last piece regarding education consists of reminding extended family that we do have kids who are severely allergic to nuts, peanuts and eggs.  The nuts pose the greatest challenge for our family since we ALL love nuts and love to use them to adorn our delicious desserts and side dishes (ie. pralines, pecan pie, sweet potato casserole with crushed pecan topping, etc..)  We are very thankful to be blessed with family that is accommodating.  Rather than have a 'forbidden list' for our family, we ask that those foods all be grouped together and placed out of the way (ie. middle of serving area, not easily accessible by the kiddos).  Then we review our food allergy rule with the kids (ages 3 and 5 years):  RULE #1. Do NOT eat anything until it is approved by either of us--YOUR PARENTS--not grandma or grandpa.  We also stress that just because you have eaten it before does not mean that you can eat it again.  This is what works for us right now.  There is no perfect way to navigate the food allergy world of the holidays other than to be practical and reasonable.  Sanity is appropriate this time of year to keep you jolly, right?

I wanted to mention that one of the policies that Dairy Allergy Mom and I worked to have included in our school's food allergy policy was recently implemented at our childrens' Halloween party.  Learning from a prior incident involving class parties and, separately, from my child's preschool class food policy, Dairy Allergy mom and I thought it would be helpful to other room parents and helpers, to identify the food allergy students with a bright yellow sticker indicating that they have food allergies. The teachers and parents liked the idea.  The stickers are for the elementary students.



Special blessings for all of our Veterans and many thanks from HFAN.  Please thank a Veteran for his/her service.  We all do what we do because of them.  THANK YOU for your service!

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