Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Safekeepers




Started by food allergy mom Debbie Finkel, a Brookline, Massachusetts attorney, Safekeepers is a new BPA FREE container system: "Plastic food storage containers printed with the universally recognized “Stop” and “Go” signs on each container with matching covers, letting you know what’s safe to eat and what isn’t." [Disclosure: I met Debbie at a FAAN event after she sent me samples of product.]

As you can see above, the Safekeepers plastic containers come in the usual handy sizes, pints, quarts and jumbo, and in big bold letters they say “stop” in red or “go” in green with coordinated colored tops. It’s a very simple concept and one that we’ve all probably handmade at some point or another (my Sharpie is always at the ready to date foods for the freezer, for example). Here now is a cost effective alternative to handwriting in pen on a container or putting a piece of tape that gets rubbed off or slips off in the dishwasher.

In addition, I think there’s a tremendous value in having Tupperware that is YOU safe, especially if you live in a household where your allergens are present like when you are sharing a fridge in a college dorm or have a young child staying over a grandparent’s house. I can see Safekeepers being especially helpful to help little ones who are learning their letters and colors as well as their safe foods and their unsafe foods.

And that is the assumption here: that there are stop and go foods in your household and in the world. How to handle this is a personal decision for your family, your child or yourself and one that you should explore with your board certified medical provider.

Thank you Safekeepers for a great product.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies




I received samples of the four new crunchy cookies from Enjoy Life Foods and I am in deep trouble – they ALL are *way* too good.

The four new flavors are: chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, sugar crisp, vanilla honey graham. They are still all top eight allergen free; however they have changed the base flours for this kind of cookie – they’re using millet, buckwheat and rice. There is no information about these flours yet on their website so this is what I was told by Enjoy Life Foods:

The new flours we are using are sourced from a mill that only handles gluten-free, top-8 allergen-free flours. The mill originally was established to be organic only, but they recognized that gluten-free was a big opportunity and built a brand new mill next to their original mill. The new mill has a separate warehouse, packaging facilities and storage – in essence, an entirely new plant was built just for the GF flours.

What we really love about this mill is the high quality of the ingredients, the fineness of the flour, and their high-level of customer-centeredness. They know how important it is to maintain their allergen-free status and were GFCO certified even before we started buying from them.. Our CEO, Scott Mandell, visited them in the fall and was pleased with what he saw.

They test their ingredients before they mill them and when we receive a new shipment we run tests in our own QA lab. Depending on the risk level of the ingredient, we can run internal tests on any of the top 8. We always run gluten tests on every ingredient we receive in house, regardless of any other test we are running. Ingredients are kept on hold until we can verify that they are safe to eat. When we don’t like a result, we will use third party testing. We always keep samples from every lot of ingredients we receive – no matter how messy. If we do get reports of a reaction, we can go back not only to the ingredients that were used in a product, but finished samples from the lot in question.

Most of our new flours are organic, as the mill specializes in sourcing organic flours. We have started using their sorghum, buckwheat, and millet flours, and hope to add rice in the future.


***

Now on to the new Enjoy Life Foods crunchy cookie flavors. Bottom line: they are *all* good; so what I have to say really is picking nits. But yes, I have my favorites and the two that to me are the most successful in terms of looks, tastes texture (and after-taste or lack of) are: sugar crisp and double chocolate chip - sugar crisp has the slight edge.

The sugar crisp reminds me of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough. They are slightly chewy in the center, at least my batch was, and the flavor was exactly right to me: overly sweet, and buttery - just what you want in a sugar cookie. Quite irresistible. I’ve already taste tested half the box. And I can envision some ice cream scoops in between two cookies refrozen and served for dessert during the summer months. Or next week.

The double chocolate chip has a deep chocolate flavor with a truly crunchy, crisp texture – these would be great crumbled up and used a cookie crust for some allergen-free pie.

I found the chocolate chip pretty darn good just not as crave-able.

The vanilla honey graham is the least successful flavor wise. The honey natural flavor is off (not very honey-ish and odd), and there is no detectable graham taste. So it falls in this nether world of neither a honey cookie nor a true graham nor for that matter vanilla. I asked if this was the final formulation and was told yes. (I think they still need some tinkering.)

So, when I go into the store, I will be buying (read: hoarding) the sugar crisps. Taste is however so *extremely relative*, so I say try them all and find your favorite as they are all top eight allergen free and pretty darn yum – how sweet is that?

Thank you Enjoy Life Foods for creating another set of winning products that are safe for all of us!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lucini Italia

I met Lucini Italia at Food Fete (a media event) and woo hoo, lucky me (and now, you). Lucini Italia has come out with a new line of chickpea flours and a line of pasta and pizza sauces, all beyond delish.

The Lucini Italia chickpea flour is milled to make into little pizzettes. The directions on the pouch right now are overly complicated (I’ve been told there are being corrected) and I doctored the recipes to suit my needs: added freshly grated parmesan, lots of salt and pepper and cut down on the water to mix. Once I did that, I made happy farinatas that I topped with fresh mozzarella and the pasta or pizza sauces, which I used interchangeably without issue. So delish!

Speaking of the Lucini Italia sauces, they are like the best three day sauce you’ve had: just enough salt and a little bit of sweet (from carrots). But best part, the pasta sauces come in pouches, excellent for traveling. They were so good that I tasted them cold, straight from the pouch and would have continued to eat them that way if I didn’t have to do a proper test.

On to food allergy information a few important points:

--There is a “natural flavors” line in the sauces and I was told by Lucini Italia they are flavors of an ingredient already listed. I know, a bit of a head-scratcher and something you need to feel comfortable about before diving in.

--There are no voluntary “may contain statements” on the packaging as of now.

--There is scant allergen information on the home site as of today. I’ve been told this is in the process of being corrected and updated for a Fall 2011 roll out.

This is what Lucini Italia told me in an email about their products and allergens as of now and I've reprinted below with permission:

Lucini Italia products [chickpea flour, pasta sauce and pizza sauce and olive oils ] are FREE of dairy, peanut, treenut, soy, sulfites (***except for our balsamic vinegar), shellfish, fish, eggs, and gluten.

Cinque e' Cinque [chickpea flour], our vinegar and all of our oils are produced in small factories that are allergen free and process nothing of the above.

Our pouch sauces are free of the allergens as well, however, the factory also produces products with dairy, soy, sulfites, fish, eggs and gluten. Note this is a completely separate production line and our sauces test gluten-free.

Like our pouch sauce, our pizza sauce is free of the allergens as well, however, the factory also produces products with dairy, sulfites, eggs and gluten. Again, our pizza sauce tests gluten-free.


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It's vital to get direct reassurance from a company for your personal food allergy or food intolerance needs if there isn't enough information on the label or their site.

So, if you have further questions, please reach out to Lucini Italia directly - they want to hear from you.

Lucini Italia Co.
Four Seasons Tower
1441 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1410
Miami Florida 33131
T 305.858.7200 Ext.222
Toll Free 1.866.5Lucini

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nuts on Plane, Survey

Colleague Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, in conjunction with FAAN, is conducting a survey about peanut and tree-nut reactions on planes.

Here’s how FAAN describes the study:
Have you and/or your child had an allergic reaction to peanut or tree nut during a commercial flight? If so, we encourage you to take this brief, anonymous survey (insert link). FAAN is conducting the survey, along with members of our International Alliance from Australia, New Zealand, England, and Canada. We hope to report on the survey data in a professional journal, present the results at a professional conference, and share the results with airlines around the world.

It’s a quick few questions and here is the link to access the survey.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Boar's Head & Allergic Girl, Recipe


© Boar’s Head

I’m privileged to announce that Boar’s Head and I created a top eight allergen free, gluten-free, protein packed, low fat, good hot or cold, side or main dish recipe for all of you and just in time for Food Allergy Awareness Week , 2011.

You can watch me make it below (super fun) and then you can make it yourself with the recipe below!



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Boar’s Head EverRoast Chicken Breast & Golden Raisin Quinoa Pilaf
Serves 2 Total prep/cook time: 30 Minutes


© Boar’s Head


• 1 cup Boar’s Head EverRoast Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, diced ¼” squared
• ½ cup yellow onion, diced ¼” squared
• ½ cup green onion, diced
• ½ cup celery, diced, ¼” squared
• ½ cup carrots, diced ¼” squared
• 1 cup Quinoa (white or red)
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 cups chicken stock
• ½ cup golden raisins
• 1 dash sea salt
• 1/8 tsp black pepper

1. In a heavy, medium sized saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add yellow onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add Quinoa, salt and pepper and cook, stirring vigorously, until the grain is coated in the oil and smells toasted, about 1 minute.
3. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
4. Turn off heat. Add Raisins & Boar’s Head EverRoast Chicken, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Place in a serving dish and top with green onion.




© Boar’s Head

Questions about Boar's Head and gluten-free or food allergens?
Contact Boar’s Head
(941) 955-0994
(888) 884-2627 (toll free)
1819 Main Street, Suite 800
Sarasota, Florida 34236

Or connect with Boar’s Head on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter

Monday, May 09, 2011

Food Allergy Awareness Week, 2011

I’m going to be *everywhere* this week for Food Allergy Awareness Week . I hope you can join me or pass it along. Here are the highlights.

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*Boar’s Head & Allergic Girl Top 8 Free recipe and video launch!*

May 9: 7:00pm EST - I'll be in Nutley, NY speaking and signing books at the annual Nutley Food Allergy Awareness Program at the Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, Nutley, N.J. 07110.

May 10: All week long FAAN will feature five guest bloggers, who will share their experiences with food allergies. May 10 my blog will be posted.

May 10: 1pm EST I'll be on the live chat with The Motherhood.com: Recipe Swap and Tips for Cooking and Baking Delicious Allergen-Free Foods.

May 10: 7pm EST - I'll be at the Parents of Asthmatic & Allergic Children support group meeting with Dr. Paul Ehrlich (35 East 35th Street).

May 11: 530pm -10pm EST Wellsley, MA - I’ll be attending and speaking at the Blue Carpet Boston Celebration with Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai at his restaurant.

Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011!

Food Allergy Awareness Event, Nutley NJ, May 9 2011




The Mayor of Nutley, NJ Joanna Cocchiola has invited me to be their guest speaker for Food Allergy Awareness Week.

TONIGHT: May 9, 2011 at 7pm

Nutley Public Library
93 Booth Drive
Nutley, NJ 07110-2782
(973) 667-0405

I'll have books for purchase and to get signed!

Join us!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Allergic Girl, Phil Lempert

This Saturday, May 7 at 8:14am EST, I will be talking with Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru about food allergies on his show and you can listen in LIVE on http://www.dougstephan.com/.
Join me!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Allergic Girl Speaks in Westchester, NY

Are you in Westchester? Come join me - and bring your book and I'll sign it!

From a press release:

Learn More about Living With Food Allergies

The JCC of Mid-Westchester & Food Allergy NY present:
Sloane Miller
Author of Allergic Girl

Friday, May 6th
10:30am – 12:00pm
JCC of Mid-Westchester
999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale

Purchase Sloane’s breakthrough lifestyle guide for food-allergic adults, their families and loved ones and bring with you for Sloane to sign. Books may be ordered online at http://amzn.to/AllergicGirl. Limited copies will also be available for purchase at the event.

Please RSVP to Julie Dorfman at dorfmanj@jccmw.org

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free sent me some samples to try and I have to say so far it’s a big fail. Three main reasons: they have not had this product certified by any of the known gluten-free companies, there is no gluten-free nor allergen information on the box and there is no gluten-free nor allergen information on the website.

This is what the website has currently: http://www.kelloggsnutrition.com/util/faq.aspx, which is clearly not updated as they are now offering gluten-free. Then there’s a subsite for the new GF – which is here and has no information about gluten-free. Nada. The box says nothing but ingredients. No FALCPA, no voluntary "may contain" statement.

I asked the Kellogg’s representative who sent me the product specifically for that information and this is what they told me via an email:

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free cereal is made with whole grain brown rice and contains less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, and it is also fortified with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, D and E, B vitamins, and iron. As for testing the cereal for gluten, to ensure the gluten-free status, the product is made in a separate production facility that has been making gluten-free items for nearly a decade. Every batch of product is tested for gluten, as is the production line.

That's not an answer that would allow anyone with a severe wheat allergy nor celiac disease the knowledge to try this product with any kind of confidence. Kellogg’s sent me an early peek at a new product so maybe their website isn't ready, I thought. But no, not for a major brand like Kellogg’s- there is no excuse not to have their allergen information ready on their site or to have contrary information on their major home site *and* for a representative to tell me about vitamins when I asked about allergens.

So, fail, Kellogg’s, major fail as a first step if you want to serve the food allergy and celiac disease communities.

What we need: quality food allergen and gluten-free practices in place in your facility, transparency of those practices and clear, quality information readily available on your website about those allergens, ingredients and practices.

Need help? Call me.

Monday, May 02, 2011

1in133.org

I know the FDA is working on this as I spoke with them last year specifically about the gluten-free labeling. However since a survey was passed around about labeling issues, I haven't seen much happen. So, here something to support our celiac "brothers and sisters" in Washington, DC May 4, 2011.

The below is from a press release sent to me by Jules Shepard:

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Long-Overdue FDA Labeling Regulations Could be the Icing on World’s Largest Gluten-Free Cake

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 29, 2011 – Prominent members of the burgeoning gluten-free community announced today a collaborative “1in133” event on May 4 to bake the world’s largest gluten-free cake as part of an effort to draw attention to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) delay in finalizing standards for gluten-free food labeling. The name is derived from the fact that at least one in every 133 people in the U.S. suffers from celiac disease. Research now indicates that while as many as 3 million Americans has celiac disease, another 18 million have gluten sensitivity; both groups must entirely avoid gluten as a medically-necessitated diet.

To kick-off Celiac Awareness Month – globally recognized in May - the 1in133 event is being hosted at the Washington, D.C., Embassy Suites Convention Center on May 4 and will culminate with a V.I.P. reception for federal lawmakers, concerned members and friends of the gluten-free community and gluten-free food manufacturers. With pre-eminent guest speakers and information on a petition advocating for the FDA to take action on determining a gluten-free food-labeling standard, the 1in133 event will reinforce the need for such standards and pressure the FDA to take action.

“This is a very serious autoimmune disease,” cautions Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. “It deserves equally serious food labeling laws.”

Fasano, one of the world’s leading researchers in celiac disease and a leading proponent of a federally mandated gluten-free standard, will attend as the 1in133 event’s guest speaker.

Seven years ago the FDA was tasked with developing and implementing such standards as part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). The delay in implementation and lack of labeling rules has left millions of Americans with celiac disease and gluten intolerance at risk of illness from contaminated food.

Currently, U.S. food manufacturers can claim “gluten-free” on product labels without appropriately informing consumers if a product is truly free of all potentially harmful ingredients. As a burgeoning market -- $560 million in sales in 2004 and projected sales of approximately $2.6 billion in 2012 -- gluten-free food products have brought many newcomers to the space claiming gluten-free status on their labels while not necessarily removing all potential allergens. Other manufacturers are reluctant to label their products “gluten-free” because there is no accepted standard. This disparate situation leaves consumers who eat gluten-free to guess which products are actually safe for consumption.

FALCPA was passed to protect food-allergic and celiac patients from having to decipher ingredient labels through sometimes-harmful trial and error efforts. The law, which requires the top eight allergens to be clearly listed on ingredient statements, did not require disclosure of barley or rye, the other grains that are toxic to those with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. The 2004 mandate for the FDA to develop and implement gluten-free food labeling requirements would fill that void.

The 1in133 event is the brainchild of Jules Shepard, noted gluten-free author, baking expert and celiac community advocate, and John Forberger, a winning gluten-free triathlete and active blogger. Event sponsors include Whole Foods Market, The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University and others. Event coordination is contributed by Aaron E Flores, Executive Chef, Embassy Suites D.C. Convention Center.

Proceeds will benefit the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA), a non-profit volunteer organization that advocates for the needs of people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The ACDA spearheaded the grassroots campaign which was instrumental to the passage of FALCPA.

For more information please visit http://www.1in133.org or contact info@1in133.org.

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