Skin prickles, Peppa Pig, peas & more: allergy tests at three

IMG_7785IT’S BEEN a year since we last had Sidney skin prick tested and in that intervening period we’ve come on in leaps and bounds.

The wheat allergy bit the dust this summer and, since having a succession of negative and low skin prick results, we’ve been able to introduce some new foods: cannellini beans, butter beans, baked beans, coconut, mango, pineapple, melon, kiwi… The culinary world is opening up, and for that I am hugely grateful.

Continue reading “Skin prickles, Peppa Pig, peas & more: allergy tests at three”

Finally – have your say (though it may change jack shit)

Almost a year ago now I wrote a post about looming changes to the laws on food allergy labelling.

New EU regulations set to come into effect in December 2014 state that allergen information should be extended to non-prepacked foods – that means that restaurants, delis, cafes etc will be made to comply.

The catch is, however, that it is up to each individual European country to decide exactly how to implement the proposals. And I for one am desperate to avoid the same mess we’re in with allergen labelling in shops: that is, the manufacturers slapping on ‘may contain’ warnings willy-nilly without ever getting to grips with the issues of cross-contamination and actually doing something practical and helpful about it. Continue reading “Finally – have your say (though it may change jack shit)”

A doctor calls…

Well, no, not him – but am v happy to reveal that Dr Tammy Rothenberg, a consultant paediatrician with a specialist interest in allergies will be the resident expert at the food allergy parent support group in Stoke Newington on Saturday 30 June. Dr R – formerly of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and now the Homerton, Hackney – will be there to to answer all your burning questions about childhood food allergy. Plus there will be some great allergy friendly recipes to take home, as well as a chance just to catch up and chat with parents in the same boat.

Please follow this link for details and info on how to come along… Would love to see as many food allergy parents from the area as we can squeeze in!

Risk it for a biscuit?

I have a dilemma.

I know most ‘may contain’ food labelling is about arse-covering more than anything else, but do we let our nut, egg and sesame allergic Sidney eat pre-packaged foods that, on the face of it, are fine to eat, but contain the rotten little addendum: “Produced in a factory that handles egg, nuts and seeds”?

Our doctor, who we like very much because he’s sensible yet sunny, says those ‘may contain’ goods are most likely fine to eat if they’re from a major manufacturer or a household name supermarket. But, as he puts it, it depends on how risk averse you are.

I’d like not to be risk averse. I don’t want Sidney to go through life fearing travel, or eating out, or even eating in. I don’t want to deny him foods that would actually be fine to eat out of some vague sense of panic and because the brand’s lawyers said ‘stick that on there just in case someone sues’.

Today at Sainsbury’s I hovered over the baby snacks aisle, and two packs I hadn’t seen before: Plum’s ‘Strawberry Oaty Chomps’ and Ella’s Kitchen ‘Strawberries & Apples Nibbly Fingers’.

At the moment, his only between-meal snacks are fresh fruit, rice cakes, those full of air sweetcorn puff things and yoghurt. It would be lovely to let him have something different and these new bars seem all good: fruit, oats, quinoa…

But they are both produced in the bloody factory that also produces nuts blah blah. I have to confess, it annoys the hell out of me. The foods they make for younger babies have no such warnings; I assume it’s because controls are far stricter for the under-1s and that, once they’re past 12 months, it gets more of a faff, and more expensive, for the manufacturers to continue to be so rigorous.

So I hovered, and I picked them up, and I bought them, and now they’re sitting in our special allergy drawer in the kitchen (yes, we have one). But I’m too nervous to let him eat them. Yet.

What would you do?