Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Food Allergy News: Caution: Changing Labels!
We all make mistakes with food allergy management, me included. But sometimes these mistakes are valuable learning experiences, especially if nothing bad happens as a result. The other day I was in a big hurry rushing around to get items from the store. Long story short, I wanted to get some olives for my husband and kids (they love Greek olives) so I grabbed some at SuperTarget, giving a cursory glance to the ingredients list and then tossing it in my cart.
I was over-confident because a) I'd bought these before, and b) I wasn't paying attention to the "imported" part (imported foods are usually a higher food allergy risk) and c) the Target brand olives I'd bought in the past were safe.
When I go through the store, I am reading labels but admittedly, like anyone else, I try to save time. And even though I've been dealing with nut allergies for years and I KNOW that there is no logic involved in food items and which ones "may contain" peanuts or tree nuts, I still felt pretty safe with Greek olives due to all of our past experiences with them.
Now, at the end of the day, this was a mistake that was caught in time. By my daughter, not by me, who went to open the package, read the label and showed it to me.
My daughter has always questioned me before eating the foods I bring home from the store and I've always encouraged it because I want her to learn how to deal with it but also--I'm human. I might miss something and she can read, so she should get in the habit of checking things herself.
I'm sharing this story because I believe some positive things came from it. First of all, my daughter proved that she is always checking her own labels . Yes! It's sunk in after all of these years -- and for those of you just starting out with peanut allergies, tree nut allergies and other food allergies, that's why I encourage teaching your kids to check foods from an early age.
Second of all, I learned that labels in stores are changing rapidly to keep pace with allergies, labeling laws and their own changing company policies due to consumer input. I'm glad the allergy warning was on the product, that is great and kudos to Target for their thorough labeling policy. But I didn't do my part. If labels ARE there, we can't become immune and we can never assume. We've got to read the darn things, every time.
For anyone who thinks they are being over the top for checking with companies and studying food labels each and every time they visit the grocery store--you're not. Keep up the good work.
I'm now instituting a triple check system for foods--once in the store, once in the checkout line and then once while I'm putting everything away. And of course, bless her, my daughter will still check foods before eating them.
Anyone else have a food label change on them suddenly? It's happening more and more it seems so lesson learned: don't assume about any food. Check the labels and prevent a possible allergic reaction.