Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constant Vigilance

Saturday, I sent E3 off to a Daisy Scout event with another Mom.

The event, a bonanza of all things safety including police, firefighters, hospital personnel, self-defense, helmet-fittings, and nutrition, was prefaced with permission slip that informed us parents that they would be having a craft/snack that involved peanut butter. BUT, if our child had a peanut allergy we should let them know at the registration desk and they would provide a peanut-free alternative.

I remembered the peanut craft/snack the day before the event and emailed the Mom who would be in charge of E3 to ask if she was comfortable with taking on the responsibility of 'hawk' on E3's behalf. She was.

Upon returning home, Mom S gave me the low-down on the event.

  • The craft/snack was making 'bird nests' out of pretzels, graham crackers, and peanut butter.
  • Their alternative was to make the same craft using cream cheese instead of peanut butter.
  • But the pretzels had a peanut warning on the package.
  • So did the graham crackers.
  • And they planned to have the cream cheese alternative kids sit at the same table as the peanut butter kids, rotating them in and out without regard to keeping the cream cheese kids in an area previously uncontaminated by peanut butter.

I'm thankful I listened to my gut and sent along some home-made chocolate chip cookies in her allergy bag (which holds her Epi-Pen).

I'm thankful E3 is wary around ALL snack offerings and looks to an adult she knows for help in checking that it's peanut-safe.

I'm thankful I've talked as much as I have about her peanut allergy and have checked the snack packages at her Daisy scout meetings, pointing out the allergy information and warnings where applicable to the other Moms.

I'm thankful Mom S was there to back-up E3 and stand up for her in the face of what was supposed to be a safe snack alternative, and to advise the snack leaders about how what they were offering and doing wouldn't be acceptable for anyone else with peanut allergies either.

I mean, I get that not everyone is peanut-aware and if it's not something you have to pay attention to on a daily basis you're going to make mistakes. But if you SAY you're going to offer a 'safe' alternative, then do your research.

Foods to Avoid:
•Items that list peanuts in the
ingredient list – allergens are usually printed in bold at the
end of the ingredient list.
•Items that are marked as “processed in a
or “manufactured in a facility that also processes
- these are usually printed near the ingredient list.

Definition of Cross-contamination:
When a food that does not itself contain any allergens is tainted with an allergen during food preparation, cooking, storage, or serving. Examples:

•When food is chopped on a cutting board on which allergens have
previously been cut;
•When baked goods are baked on a cookie sheet that
hasn't been thoroughly washed after baking cookies containing allergens;
•When foods are cooked on a grill on which foods marinated with allergens
are also grilled;
•When spoons on a salad bar are used to serve both allergenic foods and safe foods;
•When knives are used to cut allergenic foods and safe foods without washing in between.

Is it an inconvenience? Yes.

Is it difficult? No.

If my six-year old can do it, so can anyone else who can READ.


Glenda said...

Yay for Mom S being so diligent. Boohiss for the folks who planned the crafts and snacks.

Until there's a reason for it to become part of their mindset, it just won't -- *unless* they're making a conscious effort (like Mom S) to be aware.

I've been meaning to ask -- I know you and I both read the same allergies & asthma book (the title escapes me right now) -- what changes, if any, have you made to diet and lifestyle as a result of the info in the book? There was so much info that I could stand to do a reread.

Brenda said...

There is an alternative to peanut butter,it's called sunbutter and is made out of sunflower seeds! We serve that at out Daycare due to so many peanut allergies! If you'd like I can get some information on where to get it.

Nancy R said...

Brenda, we are HUGE Sunbutter fans! Not so much of the 'crunchy' variety because the sunflower seeds in it are really big, but the 'natural' with the average-sized seeds is our favorite.

I tell everybody I can about it!