Friday, January 30, 2009
This article from the NY Times talks about how President Obama will now take a look at revamping the FDA because of the salmonella/peanut butter case. And I'm all for it!! We've been getting substandard food for way too long.
Just look at this article from the Associated Press. Back in April, that same Georgia plant involved in the salmonella case sent rancid peanuts up to Canada. The Canadians said "No Thank You" and sent them back and the FDA just couldn't get it together.
Yes, I want to make sure that ALL of our food is safe. But I also want the FDA to FINALLY get the food allergy labeling right. I want them to crack down on manufacturers that don't adhere to the labeling laws. I want them to get off their duffs and do what they should have been doing all along.
The FDA has been asleep at the wheel for way too long. It took the salmonella case to finally shine a big enough spotlight on the fact that they've actually crashed and burned.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
That's OK, I was never a big Starbucks fan anyway. I'll stick with my Arabica. This is just another example of a company blowing smoke. Listen up Starbucks: It's the actions, not the words that count.
Where's the wheat? I'm not sure but my guess is the white corn masa (I looked it up on line and Bob Redmill's isn't made in their gluten free plant so I'm assuming that the supplier for this isn't either and this ingredient would be the problem). These corn chips were on sale at the grocery (5 bags for $10.00). Normally we don't need 5 bags of corn chips but next weekend is the older boys birthday and I thought I'd stock up for the party. We don't normally buy these, and I read the label and nothing said "WHEAT" to me. I'm wrong. I called the 1-800 number on the bag and the really nice lady that answered the phone told me that they contain trace amounts of wheat. CRAP!!!! So 5 bags of corn chips will be returned to the grocery store.
My other problem is chicken wings. I can buy the totally natural kind that we always get that are like $5.00 for 15 wings (and we have 24 people coming over so you do the math) or I can try and buy one of those bulk bags. I don't buy Tyson (or any other large chicken conglomerate) because they add things to their foods and because I just like the taste of organic chicken. Since we're trying to save money on groceries, I've adjusted my snobby chicken ways to at least go for the Amish chicken, but I still won't buy the other because of all the "__% of chicken broth added". But the grocery does have large bags of chicken wings from Tyson. And they do say that some kind of broth is added to enhance flavor, but they don't give you the ingredients for the broth. So I e-mailed them today.
My son is allergic to wheat, rye, barley, oat, eggs, peanut and tree nuts.
I would like to purchase a package (100 pieces) of your uncooked chicken wings but I need to know that none of his allergens are in the flavoring solution that you freeze them in. Can you please confirm that for me. Thank you in advance!
Thank you for your inquiry regarding our products. We do not maintain a written list as ingredients may change. If you have questions regarding a specific product, please call our consumer number: 800/233-6332 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Have the UPC number available so they can access the correct product.
OK, that was less than helpful. I don't have a UPC code because I'm not buying the product until I know it's safe (otherwise I'll be returning it, like the corn chips). I could go to the store and write it down, but now they've made me mad. Even if it is safe, I don't want it.
So today I bought a different bag of wings and I searched and couldn't find the "contains 12% all natural chicken broth for flavor enhancement" phrase. But clearly I know the phrase is there (as I just wrote it for you) because now that I got the darn wings home I can see it written in ever so small print on the bag. CRAP AGAIN! And there is no number on the bag to call them. So thank goodness for Google and thank goodness for Manta. I got the number and made a long distance call to Arkansas and am waiting for someone named Brenda to call me back to let me know if that broth contains any of his allergens. Otherwise the grocery will be getting Two 100 piece bags of chicken wings back too.
And at that point I'm serving homemade Chili and Cherrybrook Kitchen cupcakes whether everyone likes it or not. This is all too stressful.
Talking my husband into buying that farm is looking better and better every day.
Reading labels and knowing what is in your food shouldn't be this difficult. And if something contains trace amounts of wheat and you know that, why the heck can't you put it on the label, especially since it's a top 8 allergen and since the number of Celiacs and wheat intolerant has increased so drastically the last several years? What would it hurt? It can't cost that much to add "contains traces of wheat".
So hopefully Brenda will call me back soon. And keeping my fingers crossed that the wings are safe. But with the luck that we're having today, they were probably coated in a wheat bath before being frozen.
***Update: George's Chicken called back: It wasn't Brenda but a nice man named Bill. He said "Ma'am (very nice southern drawl), you called about our chicken broth. There are no allergens in there. You listed a long list of allergens and I can tell you that there is only chicken in it. The bag only contains things listed. And it lists chicken. Y'all have a nice day now". How refreshing. My chicken only contains chicken. Looks like we'll be throwing down some wings next weekend. Thank you George's Chicken. See Tyson? It wasn't that hard. What's in YOUR chicken. I don't think I want to know....
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I took them outside
It was COLD!
Trying to make snow angels
I think he's stuck
Stop taking my picture please
All bundled up
Hey, don't throw snow at Mom
There's a big pile of snow at the back of the driveway
So boys need to slide down it
Since Hubs is STILL recovering from Achilles surgery I decided to shovel the walk for him. Half way there....
The Little one got wore out from the cold and melted down.
He doesn't want his picture taken so he's running away
Now he DOES want me to take his picture to show he's not melting down
See? No melt downs here (LOL).
The walk is done. Want to take bets on if my back and arms hurt tomorrow? No need to. They already do.
Hubs owes me. That was a lot of snow.
The little one is now sleeping and the big one is playing Lego's quietly in his room. Hubs is one his way home early due to some roads already being shut down. I'm off to have a snack.
Monday, January 26, 2009
It almost looks as if this tree is budding. I wish...
It looks like everything was sprinkled with powdered sugar
We're supposed to get snow for the rest of the week. But at least the temperatures will be in the 20's. Should feel like a heat wave.
I'm using the wintry button for this weeks menu planning since it's so stink' cold outside:
Friday: Grilled cheese and roasted red pepper soup
Saturday: Fend for yourself
Sunday: Turkey sandwiches
Monday: Pork loin and veggies
Tuesday: Beef short ribs in the slow cooker with steamed broccoli
Wednesday: Lemon Chicken and potatoes
Thursday: Tater Tot Casserole
Visit Laura for more Menu Plan Monday. Have a fantastic week!!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
No one doubts that there needs to better restrictions to keep children safe. It just needs to be done without putting business owners out of business and without doing away with hand made items for children.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Action Alert from the American Library Association. Apparently this act would affect our libraries too. And the actions that would have to be taken would drastic.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 has been interpreted to include books as a product that must be tested for lead. While it is understandable that the CPSC must protect children from toxic materials, publishers have already tested the book components and found that the lead levels are lower than the regulations require three years from now. Additionally, all book recalls in the last two decades have been because of toys attached to the books that posed a choking hazard, not the books themselves.
Making these testing regulations retroactive would require both school and public libraries to take drastic steps to come into compliance. They either would have to ban children from their libraries or pull every book intended for children under the age of 12 from their bookshelves at the time children are fostering a lifelong love of learning and reading.
What can you do:
Please call the Acting Commissioner, Nancy Nord, at (301) 504-7923. When you call this number, wait for the automated directory to give you directions to reach Nancy Nord’s office. Explain to the Commission that it is simply impossible for libraries to remove all children’s books from the shelves and/or ban children under 12 from the library and still provide the level of service that is needed.
Click here to read the entire article from the ALA.
Click here for the entire Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (and good luck reading that).
Kind of makes that argument about how healthy peanut butter is for us seem a little silly now, doesn't it? (I'm just saying....)
But seriously, make sure to check your cabinets. Some of these recalled products go back to Aug/08.
Other helpful tweeters for those with food allergies or intolerance's:
Navan Foods - helps people with special diets find safe foods
Gluten Free News - Information about living gluten free
Food Safety - Food news and recalls
Gluten Freeda - Online cooking magazine
KFAT Tweets - Kids with Food Allergies/Lynda Mitchell: Food allergy news and updates
WEGO Health - Overall Health news and updates. Includes information on special diets
Allergy Notes - Board-certified Internist, Allergy and Immunology Fellow, Former Cleveland Clinic Assistant Professor of Medicine, NEJM Advisory Panel Member
Food Recalls - Latest information on food recalls
jlove13 - Marketing and Media Communications Manager at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), grad student at Johns Hopkins, and soccer enthusiast
CNN Health - Latest overall health updates
The Whole Gang - Gluten Free, Allergy Free, Eco Friendly
Sure Foods Living - helping people with celiac, gluten intolerance, food allergies
Gluten Free Girl- Some of the best gluten free recipes EVER (and really good writing too).
Karina's Kitchen - Gluten free, allergy free and all around fabulous recipes
Gabster/Peanut Free Mama - Her bio is "I Hate Peanuts" (yes, her daughter has a peanut allergy) so is it ironic that I clicked over to add her to the list from the Peanut Council website? Hope I didn't bring any peanut dust with me. Gabs is a food allergy mommy so she gives tips on living "nut free".
Switch 2 GF/Mike Hutchison - Gluten Free tweeter with food reviews
And these are just the ones that I've found. I'm sure there are more... (feel free to add to the list please)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The article about wheezing is talkng about kids that do not have asthma. These children just have wheezing. This is where they are saying that the steriods do not help. All I'm trying to say is that I don't want parents of children who actually have asthma to get scared of the drug and refuse it as treatment. It is approved for asthma symptoms. Thanks to Kids with Food Allergies for letting me know that that what I was trying to say may have been confusing. For more information on asthma and treatments see here.
I've seen this article everywhere today. At first I wasn't going to give an opinion, but since it's EVERYWHERE I want to respond.
My son has illness induced asthma. Right now, he's sick and he's starting the "asthma cough". He's on daily preventative meds (Flovent and Singulair) to lessen his asthma attacks. And believe me THEY HAVE! We used to end up in the ER at least 2-3 times per season because his asthma would get out of control. He was even on maintenance antibiotics (he took a dose of Bactrin every day from October to April to try and stave off any illnesses)one year because every other week he had terrible asthma attacks. Prednisolone is not a good thing to put your child on. Not only does it cause behavior problems (severe aggression and personality changes), but there are many more serious and life threatening side effects. I would not want my child on this stuff if it wasn't necessary.
My son has had asthma attacks that have lasted all night and caused him to cough so hard that he's broken blood vessels in his face. Both the ER and the pediatrician have given him prednisolone to help get his breathing back to normal. It's usually a dose or 2 of prednisolone along with albuterol through the nebulizer(for 5-7 days and there is a step down for the prednisolone). This has always worked for us and the side effects from the steroid were well worth how well it's worked to get his breathing back to normal. Every child is different and not all things will work for everyone. But I hate to see parents get scared of a medicine that can actually do wonders for their child's severe asthma attack. No, it isn't something that you'd want to use often, but when the need arises, talk to your doctor and get all the facts.
Oh and by the way, the Living with Food Allergies blog carnival is now up. There is a lot of really great information there so it's really worth the time to check it out. The bloggers that participate are really passionate about cooking "without" and educating others with food allergies. (You thought I might do a post that didn't include food allergies, didn't you? WRONG :D)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Click here to see more.
I hope this type of education is a trend that continues.
The last several weeks I've been doing a weekly menu. It's helped me to get more organized and I'm also hoping that it will help cut down on the grocery bills. Since I usually do my shopping on Thursdays, my menu goes from Friday - Thursday.
Friday - Tuna salad sandwiches and chips
Saturday - Ended up being a free day since we weren't home
Sunday - Sausage and potato skillet
Monday - Chicken stroganoff, mixed veggies
Tuesday - Orange teriyaki beef
Wednesday - Slow cooker ham and scalloped potatoes, green beans
Thursday - left overs, sandwiches and general "clean out the fridge".
Head on over to Laura's to participate in Menu Plan Monday or to see other menus. If there is something that we REALLY enjoy, I'll add the recipe here.
Friday, January 16, 2009
It's always nice to have allies in high places. Thank you Dr. Wood for clearing up a few of Mr. Stein's misconceptions.
You can read the article from Robert Wood here.
As a parent with a child with multiple food allergies, I really take issue with Mr. Stein's opinion piece. No other illness gets the kind of back lash that food allergies do (except maybe obesity). In our politically correct society, it seems PC to actually bash and belittle those with food allergies or parents with children who have food allergies. I don't understand this?
My son has multiple life-threatening food allergies. We've ended up in the ER twice because if them. This is not a "figment of my imagine" and he doesn't have them because I "need to feel special". I wish to God that was the case.
I also don't ask anyone to go above and beyond to make sure my son is safe. That's my job. And I take my job very seriously. If I didn't, my child would get ill or worse.
It's also my job to make his life as "normal" as possible. We take care to keep our son safe without trying to make him the "boy in the bubble". And believe me, it's not easy. Yes, we avoid food and situations that may be too unsafe for him. But we try and come up with ways to make things safe that otherwise wouldn't be.
I don't want him to feel different because he has food allergies. I want him to learn to advocate for himself and I want him to learn how to keep himself safe, but I also want him to live life as it's meant to be lived. I want him to exceed in spite of his food allergies. Not use them as an excuse not to do things or not achieve his dreams. I want what all parents want: their children to live happy, healthy lives.
My greatest wish is that some day he will outgrow most, if not all of these allergies. I pray for this every day. But I also pray every day that he is safe and that we are able to keep him that way until he's able to do that on his own.
I don't appreciate Mr. Stein using my sons food allergies to get laughs to boost sales for his news paper. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but not when what you say may actually put someones life at risk. That is not responsible journalism.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
(photo courtesy of Hotel for Dogs)
It's supposed to get down to -30/-35 tonight. It's definitely a 3 dog night (maybe even 5 dogs!).
I hope this cold snap ends soon. I'm no fan of winter, but this making me completely miserable!!
(This was a cute movie, by the way)
I'm ready for spring..... and I have long wait for that. Maybe a trip south?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Read one man's experience of what NOT to do if you have food allergies and are eating out. The article also talks about educating yourself. It refers to Families With Food Allergies which is a food allergy support group that helps to educate parents of children with food allergies and adults with food allergies (it also happens to be the support group that I attend when I can).
To learn more about eating out with food allergies go here.
Click here to find or start a food allergy support group near you.
Federal health officials said Tuesday that asthma drugs, including Merck's Singulair, do not appear tied to suicide — though regulators continue to examine possible links to behavioral problems.
This is good to know, but it's also good to see that they will still continue to investigate this.
My son is on Singulair and we've had very good results with it....this time.
You can read about our first exeperience here.
Thanks again to Allergic Girl for the hat tip on this one.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Wow, Joel. And people pay you for this? That's almost as comical as the current bail out situation.
Anyway, whether you agree with Mr. Stein or think he needs to be shipped off to another planet, it's good to read what type of opinions are out there. Even if you don't agree with them (and maybe you do, what do I know?).
And thanks to Allergic Girl for putting a spotlight on this one. Just wish I would have had a least one cup of coffee before I read that....
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Both of my boys had eczema (my youngest still does) and the youngest has asthma. I never ate fish while pregnant (I don't eat fish now, except maybe sushi) and I can't really say that I ever really ate apples while pregnant (except maybe apple pie and I don't think that counts).
We do know that some of what the mother eats while pregnant can affect the baby. I don't know if apples or fish play any role in this (I thought pregnant moms weren't supposed to eat a lot of fish because of the mercury contamination), but it's an interesting study and it would great to see more data on this.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Yesterday I received a phone call from the Little Man's school and to make a long story short, the Director said that she heard that you could not administer Benadryl and the EPI together. Supposedly she heard this from a family member of hers who has a daughter with a peanut allergy. The daughter was having a reaction and they gave her two doses of Benadryl to get it to stop (and let me just say that after the first dose didn't work, THEY SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THE EPI AND CALLED 911). Apparently the woman called her pediatrician to tell her what happened and supposedly the pediatrician said that because they gave Benadryl they would not have been able to give the EPI pen. I use words like "apparently" and "supposedly" because again, I'm getting this information second hand and I really don't know who said what. But what I do know is that information, wherever it came from, is incorrect. The Director was now afraid to give my son the EPI and Benadryl even though our food allergy action plan from the allergist says to "give EPI, Benadryl and call 911" in case of a reaction. I explained to her that both times my son was given the EPI pen (once in the ER and once by me) that he was also given Benadryl and Orapred at the same time by ER staff and that our allergist has written it on the action plan and that was what she is to do. She was fine with it and just wanted to check to be on the safe side. But this how misinformation gets spread around. And this is how it becomes even harder for people with food allergies or food allergy parents to keep safe guards in place.
For the sake of the daughter with the peanut allergy, I hope the woman with the misinformation gets better informed. And I hope whoever started this game of telephone with misinformation stops it before someone gets hurt.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Not all elements of the article are the problem of the manufacturer though. Some are common sense issues that we as food allergy parents or persons who suffer from food allergies must take upon themselves. The article is interesting though and I'm glad to see that food allergies are remaining in the spotlight.