The Chicago Tribune has produced yet another groundbreaking food allergy story on the front page of today's paper. Read it here.
After their food allergy investigation series, stores are now pulling items off the shelves that have undeclared food allergens.
When I read the article, I wasn't surprised that one source was quoted as saying "If I had food allergies, I wouldn't eat imported foods." I've blogged in the past about my family's avoidance of imported foods for our child, and it looks like that concern is not unfounded.
Also, imported or "fancy gourmet" foods are frequently served at holiday parties, so use caution. It's another great reason to bring a couple of your own dishes to the celebrations you attend.
The really scary part is that out of 50 foods the Tribune tested for this story, 26 of them had undeclared food allergens. Lesson learned: be aware of what is a high-risk food for your particular allergy. Educate yourself so that you are not only relying on labels and what the people who work at a given store are telling you. The buck stops with us.
The other thing I liked about the story is that it did not focus much on nut allergies--it talked about milk and gluten allergies. The reason I'm glad about this is that many times in the press and in our daily lives, folks concerned about nut allergies aren't taken seriously. Talking about the other "top 8" shows how widespread the problem really is.
Despite the fact they it appears they employ a legion of "nut-happy" food editors, this paper is making a big difference and the author of this article is a hero to all of us.
Better labeling and better manufacturing practices are what we've been waiting for--and stories like this will help us to get it.
Congrats to the writer, Sam Roe, for his helpful investigation!