Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Allergy Happenings

We got on the 757 and immediately wiped down my son's area with disinfectant wipes. When he sat on the earlier flight, we noticed a peanut next to his seat. It made my skin crawl. On both flights, complimentary peanuts were served. Not much smells worse to me than the smell of roasted peanuts on an airplane.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for a 5 year old to walk off of an airplane without touching something. Who knows how many people were eating peanuts on that plane. I am sure there was peanut dust everywhere. The moment we got off the plane, my son said his eye really hurt. It was already red and his eye lid was slightly swollen. It just kept getting worse. We gave him Benedryl immediately. (Unfortunately, the eye drops got packed in the suitcase and were not in his medicine bag. We had to use those a lot on the trip due to seasonal and animal allergies.)

I appreciate how caring our church was during the cook-out on Father's Day. The postcards advertising the event reminded everyone to avoid bringing peanuts and peanut products. Beyond that, there was a dessert marked with a sign that said it was bought at a bakery that processes peanuts. We wouldn't serve my son a dessert we weren't sure about. However, the hand written note on the dessert (that had been put on a plate) warmed my heart. The constant efforts to inform everyone make us feel comfortable and loved.

I appreciate how our families took allergy precautions when we visited. They read labels constantly (and then, of course, I followed up). My husband's family ordered sunbutter for sandwhiches and made several desserts with sunbutter. They surprised me with how much they took his allergy into consideration.

While on vacation, I saw a restaurant (that I had not heard of) with a huge sign in the window stating something to the effect of: We use 100% peanut oil with no perservatives. The sign made me cringe. It screamed never come here. I check out there website. Here's what they have to say:

Over the past 20 years, peanuts have become part of the Five Guys identity. We by no means want to exclude guests from our store, but at the same time we would not want to disappoint our peanut eating guests. We make sure that we have signage on our doors and in our restaurants about the fact that we serve peanuts in bulk containers as we would never want someone to risk their health by coming into our restaurants.

I have decided that I respect the store because of their large signs on the store window and their resolve to make sure customers are informed. Of course, I will never eat there.

This past weekend we visited some friends out of state. My friend was trying out a new recipe that called for liquid smoke. At store, we found Stubbs liquid smoke. We check out the label. It did not contain nuts or have a peanut warning. At their house, she was trying to decide whether she would need to refrigerate it after opening the bottle. Her husband looked up the Stubbs website.

To our surprise, the website said:
"If you are allergic to wheat, corn, mustard, grape or peanuts, DO NOT use our products."

Yes, the "DO NOT" was in all caps. I couldn't believe it.

Something needs to be done about labeling.

Last night I found these peanut-free cupcakes at Wal-mart.

I was shocked. I took the container over to the bakery to investigate. (Ironically, they were on a shelf that was under a bakery allergy warning sign.) The lady in the bakery said that these cupcakes are made in a nut-free facility (which is stated on the label). They come to Wal-mart frozen and they are not opened in the bakery. I think these might be a wonderful back-up item for me to keep frozen in my freezer!


Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

Wow, so many things... Sounds like an overall great trip. The whole plane issue scares me, glad you got through it. Great find on the cupcakes, I will have to watch for those.

Take care,


Nowheymama said...

This captures perfectly the ups and downs of living with food allergies.

everydayMOM said...

That's all good info! We had a similar experience on an airplane when they handed out bags of peanuts. We couldn't believe it!

The flight attendant was not being helpful at all as I tried to explain our situation. Then, later I told her that my son was having an allergic reaction AT THIS VERY MOMENT! She finally looked at him and realized what a big deal it was. (Just facial swelling, sneezing and eyes watering, thank God!)

The airline said that flight was the first time in five years they had given out peanuts!

RLR said...

I also have to commend FIVE GUYS for their signage. There's even signage on the inside of the doors that requests people not take peanuts out of the restaurant due to allergy issues.
My (former) favorite steakhouse serves peanuts, too - a bucket on every table.
Shocked about the liquid smoke labeling. Glad to hear about the cupcakes!!!

Carrie said...

I am shocked and cannot begin to understand your daily struggle! But I do appreciate your posts because it makes me more aware - I will soon have kids in school and will become more involved in public/school events. Even though we do not have allergies in our family, I can be more considerate of those who do - especially in public settings or church and family gatherings! Thinking of your family will help me rethink meals and desserts I will take to events!

Alicia said...

Wow...I really liked this post!!! My kids are not allergic to peanuts, but it made me see how aware you have to be for your son!!!

I love how you found those cupcakes at WalMart! Awesome!

And yes, I agree..all products should have that warning sign! Did you email that company? Thank God your brother in law checked out their website even though it was for another reason!!

Anonymous said...

JA, we have a new Five Guys in San Antonio. The first time we ate there, I thought of how several of my friends will not be able to eat there (incl your family). There were peanuts everywhere! But, I also noticed the signage and thought at least you won't have to find out the hard way not to eat there :) I also love the door sign that requests that you not take peanuts out of the restaurant due to allergies in the neighborhood.

I also make signs about my food when taking something to a gathering. And, now I will be more aware of making sure my airplane seat, restaurant seat and any other place are peanut-free when I leave! Even though we don't have any allergies in our family, you have made it much easier for us to help protect families that do :)

Hope the peanut-free cupcakes were yummy!!


Kimberly said...

It really is such a helpful reminder to those of us who don't struggle with a deadly food allergy in our family that we still need to be aware and considerate of those who do. While I have become so much more aware of ingredients and allergy listings on items purchased from the store I don't often take into consideration what I'm making at home at taking some place to be consumed be "the public". Obviously if I know that someone has a specific food allergy I will steer clear of using those products but oft times I don't know everyone who might be at a function and if they have allergies. A sign or card to sit next to the food item that you are sharing is a wonderful touch and doesn't take any time at all to do!

I did go thru all my cakes mixes last night when I pulled out a boxed brownie mix. I had three different kinds of Duncan Hines cake mixes and only one them had a nut allergy warning! Interesting, huh?

Missy said...

I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to live with a food allergy like that.

Beth E. said...

My goodness, what a scare with your son's eye! I read in the doctor's office today that there are airlines that are becoming more sensitive to the peanut allergy issue, with some offering "peanut-free" flights, others are allowing three rows behind and in front of an allergy sufferer to be empty. You might want to investigate that further.

I am very impressed with the diligent efforts of your church and your family to maintain a safe environment for your children.

Oh, and the Walmart cupcakes totally ROCK!

samantha said...

Cupcakes!!! YES YES YES this was such great news. I can't believe it. I will be checking these out tonight. If only everyone took allergies seriously and/or didn't try and make you feel like you were overeacting would be so nice.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

ACK! So sorry about the plane. My son has gotten the eye thing from the grocery cart. But I don't know what caused it. Peanuts on planes are just so not necessary.

And thanks for the liquid smoke info. I hate that kind of labeling. If you have allergies to all that stuff and can't eat it then how hard is it to label for it? GRRR....

Nicole said...

I saw cupcakes like that at Walmart around Easter time. Love it! I'll have to look for them again. I can't even imagine what you must have been feeling on that plane! I'm so glad he's okay.

Sue said...

Yup, traveling with food allergies just adds a ton more for us to do. I personally love Five Guys. We recently discovered them and since Kayla's allergic to dairy, we obviously don't take her there. But I too respect them for their store labels and website info. Shows they take it seriously and want people to be informed.

I'm glad you found out about the Liquid Smoke. I think the labeling laws have made things worse and unfortunately I don't think more control will change it. I just always call. I'm glad they had that info on their website.

Airplanes scare the heck out of me!!!

SUsan Weissman said...

The one time that we didn't fly a peanut free airline the EXACT same thing happened but then my son got asthma in the days that followed too. Could have been the new environment. And I agree - it is such a strong smell for everyone!