We cannot guarantee…

imagesSO today I had a call back from the head of the primary school we expect Sidney will be going to.

I had a mini tour of it a few weeks back and it seemed very warm and jolly. We were shown round by some older kids who were pretty clued up when I asked if any pupils had food allergies; I also spoke to the SENCO (the Special Needs Co-Ordinator) at the time, and she said all the right things. As soon as I walked into Reception I clocked the tots playing with egg boxes and lentils (!) but she assured me that equipment and lessons would all be made safe.

Then the head rang me today, because I requested a quick chat with him before we apply in January, and the first thing he said was: “It’s about allergies, isn’t it? Well, I have to say we can’t guarantee anything.” Continue reading “We cannot guarantee…”

Shea panic

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ONE OF THE few mainstream chocolates that is safe for Sidney to eat is Cadbury’s Buttons. This is fantastic because:

* they are kiddie-friendly

* they come in teeny packs so it’s easy to limit the amount he shovels in

* they are available everywhere so it’s the perfect party bag sweet to suggest to friends

* they are available everywhere so it’s the perfect treat for family to buy

* they are available everywhere so if we find ourselves in a situation where we’re out with friends and every kid is having an ice cream, or a cake, or something Sidney can’t have, it’s easy to track down a packet of Buttons for him to enjoy

* they are brilliantly versatile for cake toppings, biscuit decorations, etc

So imagine the panic when a new ingredients listing turned up on selected packets of Buttons a little while ago: shea. Continue reading “Shea panic”

Hello…

im-backDear readers, I do confess, it’s been seven months since my last posting… What can I say, other than a demented 18-month-old, a four-going-on-14-year-old and the paid work I can squeeze into the moments when they are both asleep (ha!) mean I have reluctantly neglected my station?

There’s been so much I’ve wanted to blog about, too. This has been the Year of the Allergy Mama on a Mission. Our grassroots campaign to fight Alpro’s decision to merge nut and soya milk production and slap a ‘may contain nuts’ warning on all their soya products resulted in victory when they backtracked and agreed to keep the lot, bar chilled yoghurts, free from cross contamination. Continue reading “Hello…”

Everything may contain nuts

images-7I’M BASHING this post out super-speedily. It demands much more time and effort, but until I can manage a proper write-up please may I direct you to the short but powerful blog post below, by ‘I Bake Without’?

There is a huge row ongoing on social media between families with allergies and Tesco. Very recently it has become apparent that the supermarket is slapping ‘may contain nuts’ warnings on everything from vegetables to fruit juice. It’s too convoluted to go into how utterly shit Tesco has been in responding accurately and coherently to consumers’ complaints about this. At first, the customer care staff confirmed that, yes, from now on ALL products would be slapped ‘with may contain nuts’ warnings. Then there was a huge and furious outcry. Then the bigwigs stepped in to issue a denial.

I’ll post more about this as soon as I can. But please have a look at this and see what you think:

http://ibakewithout.com/2014/04/04/why-must-we-fight-for-good-allergy-labelling/

 

FreeFrom Food Awards – top picks

Unknown-9THREE YEARS ago on Mother’s Day my then five month old had his first allergic reaction and was dashed to hospital in an ambulance. Some bloody Mother’s Day.

But last night I was a guest at the FreeFrom Food Awards and it set me thinking how amazing it is that, three years back, I had no clue about allergy and no part to play in its weird old world whereas now I am privileged to know a wonderful circle of people who share a common cause. Continue reading “FreeFrom Food Awards – top picks”

Dear Lollibop

lb-logo-2014Tickets for the Lollibop Festival go on sale this Friday. Now in its 5th year, the under-10s jamboree started in my local park and has ballooned to become the UK’s largest children’s festival. This year it’s being held at Hatfield House, and I would like to take the tots. But I would also like organisers to think about catering for food allergies, so here’s the email I just sent…  Continue reading “Dear Lollibop”

An open letter to Henry Dimbleby, author of the School Food Plan

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FROM September, the Government is to fund free school meals for every infant and primary school child in England. The groundbreaking policy is the brainchild of Henry Dimbleby, founder of the food chain Leon and author of the compelling School Food Plan.

There are excellent reasons for this, many of which are outlined here. But for parents of young children with food allergies, the policy has yet to prove itself.

There have been a few brief kerfuffles on Twitter over exactly how catering for allergies fits into the plan. To his immense credit, Dimbleby has responded to many of these questions personally and asked me and other ‘allergy parents’ to email him with our concerns. So here’s the letter that I sent to him: Continue reading “An open letter to Henry Dimbleby, author of the School Food Plan”