Sunday, December 21, 2008

Food Pulled From Shelves After Tribune Investigation

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!


Unknown said...

Wow, Jenny, thanks SO much for the heads-up on this excellent Chicago tribune article. It's great to see that the Tribune is turning up the heat on these companies!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about you when I read this article today. I am so happy to see it front page again. I have to say though that quite a few of the comments from the company spokespersons truly outraged me...for example: President of Baker Mills saying that the milk amount in its brownie mix was OK at 940 parts per million; "At that level, I think we're OK, to be honest." The reporter informed him that experts warn no level is safe for food allergic people. Thanks so much for your post and insight Jenny!

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

This is great, thanks again for passing on great info.