UPDATE

Welcome! I posted my final post in October 2010 for the sole reason that for those who need it, it is the post I most want them to see. It was, for us, an answered prayer. I wish you the best of luck in your journey with food allergies, eczema, and/or asthma. I have since founded ChasingMotherhood. CONTACT: stopandenjoy@gmail.com XO

Monday, March 23, 2009

YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ!

It's not headline news that managing food allergies involves an incredible amount of time thoroughly reading food labels - many times of the same product over and over because ingredients can change without any warning. However, what was news to me is how very unregulated and remiss the food labeling laws are in our country. My experience in "cyberspace" creating this blog has led me to learn about the incredible people all over the United States, and beyond, who have chosen their own path of advocacy to better the situation for severely food allergic children.

When it comes to food labeling, I am learning so much from the not-for-profit foundation Eat, Learn, Live (ELL). A trip to their website reveals the following mission statement: "Every child has an innate right to safely consume manufactured foods and to safely engage in learning environments. Every child must be provided the right to eat, to learn and to live safely without jeopardy to one’s life. " Among many other advocacy efforts they are spearheading in government, school and community arenas, I was most interested to discover that part of ELL's primary mission is to "to maintain a database of information that better informs consumers of incidents where a major allergen is not properly labeled on a product". The alerts you may already receive (and often!) about cross contamination in food products from FAAN, or elsewhere, involve VOLUNTARY recalls AFTER the FDA has been notified of the contamination. According to ELL, those VOLUNTARY recalls by manufacturers represent only 7% of allergic contamination!!!

Scroll down on their website to check out their Allergy Incident Report and Advisory Labeling Report. Their goal is to create a database where parents can report suspected contaminations instantly without having to HOPE for the manufacturer to voluntary recall their product. Prior to ELL that was the only system in place.

Finally, check out the Labeling Complaints link to learn about the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. Although it requires manufacturers to identify in plain language the presence of any of the 8 major food allergens it also has many frightening shortfalls. All of ELL's efforts are "on behalf of the more than 12 million Americans and 2.2 million school-aged children who have a food allergy."

Thank you to Eat, Learn, Live and all the advocates around the world!

No comments:

Post a Comment