Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Tough Allergy Day

Great news! I bet you didn’t know that new federal food labeling laws went into effect on January 1st. Yeah that’s pretty big stuff for parents like us who avoid 7 of the 8 major food allergens for their children. It will be so easy now to avoid the allergens and increase the likelihood that The Boys will live to outgrow their food allergies, right?

Well, it will help us avoid the sort of allergic reaction that could put them in the hospital, but it’s really only great news for parents of kids who are less than 3 years old. For my The Boys these laws are a very mixed blessing.

Here is the downside (there’s always a down side).

This morning we opened the morning staple Honeycombs for breakfast. Did you know that Honeycombs are manufactured on equipment that processes wheat? Nope, neither did we…until this morning. Maybe we can get Post Cereal to explain to The Boy 3 why his favorite cereal has to go away.

When I went to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) website to find information about the new food labeling laws for this blog post I found a statement for the press. FAAN’s response to McDonalds quietly released statement that their fries are produced using dairy and wheat derivatives. The Clown at McDonalds even errantly suggests ignoring The Doctor’s orders and continuing consumption of the fries. Nice.

Hopefully once all this new packaging comes out there will be foods left that can be consumed. I’m not ready yet to have The Boys selected out of the gene pool.

In more entertaining allergy news, the This American Life: Living Without radio show featured a story by Sarah Vowell about her wheat allergy. It’s the second segment of the show, and is probably quite revealing to someone unaware of what it means to be wheat allergic. You can listen free using Real Audio.

Keep listening to section 3, there’s a guy doing his own The MinusHome Project.


Noel said...

Due to my ignorance of wheat allergies, I have a question.

If Honeycombs is The Boy 3's favorite cereal, he presumably has eaten it before without any adverse reaction. Are wheat allergies such that a certain foods may not always cause a reaction, but just to be safe you should avoid it?

Hmmm...I think as I wrote the above paragraph I answered my own question. If Honeycombs "are manufactured on equipment that processes wheat" they may in some unknown batch contain wheat allergens. And The Boy 3 just has not yet partaken of a tainted (for him) batch of Honeycombs.

mytzpyk said...

Nice analysis Noel. You correctly answered your own question.

I'll add:

Allergies are built; exposure to an allergen reminds the body that this is something it needs to fight against.

Avoidance coupled with the mature immune systems that come with growing up increases the chances The Boys will grow out of or become less allergic to the foods.

Any accidental exposure to allergic foods at their young ages not only presents an immediate risk, but also is a more difficult to comprehend long term setback.