A School Nurse’s Perspective on How to Keep your Child With Food Allergy Safe at School

cathyowensby Cathy Owens, RN, M.Ed, NCSN, ERSN

All schools have a duty to provide a safe environment for children and to act appropriately in an emergency.  We know that nearly six million children have a food allergy-which equates to approximately two per classroom! Additionally, according to the CDC, food allergies have dramatically increased since 1997 and many individuals do not have their epinephrine with them at all times.  So, schools need to be prepared to handle allergic reactions-not only in the child with a known allergy, but with those who have not yet been diagnosed.

My passion and advocacy for protecting students with food allergies in school came about because I had to make a decision to give a student another student’s epinephrine auto-injector when the student was suffering from severe anaphylaxis and paramedics had not yet arrived and unfortunately, he had no previous history of anaphylaxis so had no medication at school. Because of my actions, he was able to be safely transported to the hospital and recovered but it did shed light on the fact that without epinephrine available to any student suffering from anaphylaxis, the outcome could be much different.

As a result, California passed a law allowing schools to stock epinephrine for undiagnosed cases of anaphylaxis, but that is not enough because it doesn’t protect all the children, since schools have a choice.  A law, Senate Bill 1266, is now pending that will require epinephrine to be stocked in all schools. But it is important for parents and schools to partner together to reduce the risk of exposure and to ensure quick access to epinephrine.

Parents should work collaboratively with their school nurse, the cafeteria staff, administration and teaching staff with regards to classroom activities involving food (e.g. no peanut products should ever be used for classroom projects or snacks) as well as developing a plan for the cafeteria. Having an identified table for students to be able to sit at is an option or using paper placemats as a means to protect the child’s food from surface contamination and to identify it as a ‘safe zone’ for their food is another option.

Storage and access to the epinephrine should also be discussed. It should be easily accessible (if in a locked cabinet, all staff needs to have a key to the cabinet so critical seconds are not lost waiting for someone to unlock the cabinet. If the student carries their epinephrine, a plan needs to be in place as to who knows where it is and is the backpack with the student at all times. Additionally, field trips and other activities away from the classroom/health office (where the epinephrine is stored) need to be discussed and a plan needs to be developed.

Besides ensuring a safe classroom/cafeteria and storage issues, training of staff is a critical piece of the plan. Staff should be trained on the use of the epinephrine as well as signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis.  An individualized plan such as a 504 plan should be in place for all students with a known food allergy.

In conclusion, parents should work together with their schools and school nurse to develop a plan for a safe environment and also advocate for standing orders for epinephrine! It is important to remember that there is no absolute contraindication for giving epinephrine when someone is having breathing difficulties and most importantly, a child’s life may be saved!

Photo credit: Allergic Living

Discover the Positive Effects of Yoga

At this year’s FARE National Food Allergy Conference, teens with food allergies participated in a 90 minute yoga workshop learning how to enhance their quality of life and experience the mind-body connection. The workshop was led by Kristen Kauke, a licensed clinical social worker and 200-hour registered yoga teacher who teaches yoga weekly. Kristen’s two sons have food allergies, and Kristen also lives with food allergies herself, so she has a wealth of experience in coping with anxiety and living well with food allergies.

We asked Kristen to give us a recap of the mental and physical exercises that she led the group through during her workshop, as well as provide us with information on the positive effects of yoga.

kaukeyoga

By Kristen Kauke

Drawing on my knowledge of psychosocial principles, empirically based treatment modalities, group processes, yoga, and overall wellness, during this workshop I helped teens to quiet their minds, gain awareness of their body, and learn tools for coping with stress and regulating emotions. Research shows that stressors associated with managing life-threatening food allergies can have a negative impact on quality of life. Research also demonstrates that yoga is associated with a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression, and an increase in self-compassion. As the body and mind relax and release through breath and vinyasa (flow of postures), so do pent-up emotions and traumatic memories. This workshop allowed teens to experience such positive outcomes of yoga.

During this transformational workshop, I introduced teens to the connection between thoughts, actions and feelings. I call the negative cycle “the Bermuda Triangle” where catastrophic thoughts exacerbate anxious feelings and reinforce protective actions. In exploring the “Bermuda Triangle,” teens shared common anxious thoughts about living with food allergies such as “I’m not in control,” or “Sometimes I’m afraid I might die.” Teens noted correlating feelings such as anxiety, sadness, annoyance, or flabbergasted. And they identified typical protective actions such as isolating or being shaky. I challenged the teens to consider more ideal patterns of thoughts, feelings and actions in living with food allergies. These included more optimistic thoughts, feelings of safety and calm, and actions such as connection with others. I emphasized how changing thoughts changes feelings.

Then I led teens through the action of a gentle yoga flow. In this manner, teens experienced relaxation of the body, and consequently, a shift in baseline feeling. I highlighted how in using an action such as yoga, they could tolerate and even soften feelings.

Finally, through an experiential activity called “Being Willingly Out of Breath,” teens learned about parts of their Self, as well as applied tools to observe thoughts, tolerate emotions in times of stress, and listen to their inner wisdom.

Teens shared freely, laughed, and gained insight. They moved and stretched themselves both physically and emotionally. In the end, they learned that they DO have control over their wellbeing and can utilize tools to achieve calm despite living with food allergies.

Another important takeaway is that any BODY can do yoga! Yoga is for athletes and those who only run when being chased, super bendy people and those who can’t touch their toes, teenagers and silver-haired folk, women and men! Yoga offers something for everyone! If you’ve never practiced before, it’s best to take a class with a qualified teacher or follow a video. There are many different styles of yoga from restorative to powerful. However, the following are some simple and relaxing poses you might enjoy at home:

3 Part/Elevator breath – why and how

Beginning any yoga practice with a centering breath is of utmost of importance. When the breath slows, the thoughts follow. Diaphragmatic breathing signals the relaxation response in the central nervous system. One of my favorite breath exercises is the “elevator” or “3 part breath.”

To begin, exhale!

Then begin to inhale from the low belly and stop at “floor 1.” Pause. Inhale more to mid-belly or “floor 2.” Pause. Inhale to upper chest or “floor 3.” Pause. Then exhale slowly, contracting belly towards spine, tucking pelvis and lengthening spine until empty, or back to “floor 1.”

Begin again and repeat the cycle two more times.

Neck – why and how

We hold a ton of stress and tension in our necks! When our neck and jaw remain tense, it sends a signal to the central nervous system that we are in danger. This signal activates and maintains the stress response. To achieve consistent peace, we are wise to mind our necks!

Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position. Being by inhaling and simultaneously raising the right hand.  As you exhale, bend the right hand over the top of your head and pull down on your ear, moving ear towards right shoulder. Continue to inhale and exhale for three cycles. Then scooch your right hand to the base of your neck. Gently pull down on the base of your neck so your chin eases down and angles towards your right knee. Inhale and exhale for three cycles.

Release your right hand and allow your right palm to press into your forehead, easing your head back to center.

Repeat this process with your left hand over your right ear. First, left ear to shoulder. Then base of neck towards left knee.

Legs up the wall – why and how

If you’re only going to do one yoga pose, this is it!  This pose is like getting an oil change for all your internal systems. Besides increasing strength and flexibility, you reap cardiovascular benefits; you reverse the effects of gravity. This pose balances hormones, increases immunity, soothes the nervous system, and aids digestion and restful sleep.

To begin, scooch your right thigh and glut against the wall. Then shift your legs up, back down. Center your legs against the wall and align hips square.  Allow spine and neck to lengthen and rest on the floor.  Breathe your 3 part breath, allowing spine to sink to the floor, heart to lift with inhalation.  Hold legs up the wall for 3-10 minutes, with increasing amounts each trial.

Thank you to Kristen for providing this summary! We hope those of you reading at home will try some of her sample yoga exercises. For more content from Kristen, you can view a webinar she presented on the topic of “Dating and Intimacy Challenges Associated with Having Severe Food Allergies” on FARE’s website

Questions From FARE’s Mailbag: Allergens in Non-Food Items

mailbagEvery day we receive dozens of phone calls, emails, and letters from individuals and families who have questions about food allergies. Many of these questions are concerning non-food items that may contain food allergens and if they are a risk to those with food allergies. Below are answers to a few questions that we have received recently about non-food items:

  1. Is there any risk from using ant baits that have peanut?

Although it is not required to be labeled since it is not a food product, many ant baits or traps display a label warning that the products contain peanut. As long as these traps are not handled by the person who is allergic (or wear gloves while handling), and they are placed in an area that is out of reach (such as in a garage or behind a bookshelf), they should not pose a threat. There are alternative or natural options for ant baits that do not contain peanuts, however, which may be a better choice if the peanut-containing traps are a worry to you.

  1. Do those with tree nut allergies need to avoid shea nut butter in cosmetic products, such as lotion?

Shea nuts are considered tree nuts, and are designated as such according to the Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act. If they are included as an ingredient in food products, they must be labeled. When used in cosmetic products, such as lotion, shea nuts are turned into “butter” by processing their oil, which is highly refined. A 2010 study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that shea nut butter poses little to no risk to the peanut or tree nut allergic because it contains no IgE-binding soluble proteins. While the risk is minimal, consult with your doctor if you believe you or your child is allergic to shea nut.

Also note: there is a recent case study that indicated that if you have a skin inflammation such as eczema, using skin cream that contains food ingredients could lead to an allergic reaction. The researchers who piloted the case study remind clinicians and patients that “skin care ought to be bland, advocating avoidance of agents capable of sensitization – especially foods.”

  1. I’ve heard that some asthma inhalers contain lactose (a milk sugar). Are these inhalers a risk to those with milk allergy?

Pharmaceutical grade lactose may contain trace milk proteins and could rarely induce reactions in inhaled or injected medications. A 2014 article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology indicated that reactions are “quite a rare phenomenon given the large number of children with milk allergy who use lactose-containing dry powder inhalers uneventfully.”Any inhaler that contains milk should indicate so in the patient information insert.

  1. Is pet food that contains my child’s allergens okay to purchase?

It is best to avoid purchasing food for your pets, especially dogs, that contains your child’s allergen. The food’s proteins can be transferred through saliva if the dog licks your child, or the child may handle or even eat some of the pet food. If there are pets that your child is visiting or encounters outside of your home, you will want to closely observe their interaction.

You Might Live With Food Allergies If …

curtis_sittenfeld_fare_conferenceLast month, attendees at the first FARE National Food Allergy Conference were treated to a heartfelt, warm and witty keynote speech, “Finding Your Food Allergy Voice,” by bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld, whose daughter has food allergies.

Curtis’s riff on comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s popular “You Might Be a Redneck” routine was met with appreciative laughs. With many food allergy parents exchanging knowing glances at some of the familiar scenarios Curtis mentioned, we were not surprised we received requests to reprint her speech. We are happy to share this excerpt from Curtis’s speech.

  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you develop a strategy for attending a four-year-old’s birthday party with the same precision you’d use to invade a small country.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been with a group of people singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame and you’ve wondered what you should do when they get to the line “Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…” Should you keep singing? Should you go silent? Should you hum?
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … someone says milk, and you think, “Can you be more specific? Like cow milk? Almond milk? Soy milk? Hemp milk? Rice Milk?”
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever worried about what will happen when your child attends a slumber party … and she’s 2!
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … if you’ve ever worried about what will happen when your child goes to college … and he’s 9!
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever accidentally lost weight.
  • You Might Live with Food Allergies If … your greatest fear on Halloween is not witches, zombies, ghouls, or haunted houses.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever wondered if your child has food allergies either because you did fill-in-the-blank or because you did the opposite of fill-in-the-blank. Like, is it because you ate TOO MANY shrimp when you were pregnant? Or is because you didn’t eat ENOUGH shrimp?
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been given extensive advice about how to handle food allergies by people WITHOUT medical degrees.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … before leaving home, you think to yourself: Keys, cell phone, sunglasses, wallet, epinephrine.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever stood inside a grocery store, reading ingredients on a package and thinking, wait, tricalcium phosphate—that doesn’t have milk in it, right? Thank goodness for smartphones, huh?
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been to a party where the hosts tells you there won’t be any nuts in the food and what they mean is BESIDES the cashews in the pasta salad and the walnuts in the cookies. But yeah, besides that, there won’t be any nuts.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been at a playground where someone’s else toddler was staggering around with a baggie of crackers and you’ve watched him as intently as if you were on a criminal stake-out.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’re not that into Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray but you just love Kelly Rudnicki and Cybele Pascal.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’re no longer on speaking terms with at least one blood relative either because they think you take food allergies too seriously, or because you think they don’t take them seriously enough. (An alternative to this is, if you wish you were no longer on speaking terms with at least one blood relative)
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever made a recipe from a vegan cookbook because it avoids milk and eggs but then you’ve added real bacon to it. I’m speaking from personal experience with that one—I have some great vegan cookbooks and I’ve thought to myself ‘I wonder if the person who wrote this would understand that I’m working within certain restrictions or if they’d just think I’m a corrupt, disgusting carnivore.’ We’ll save that question for another day.

Do you have your own “You Might Live With Food Allergies If …” to share? Post yours in the comment area!

Thank you, Curtis, for a great speech in Chicago and for granting permission to reprint excerpts here! 

2014 Regional Food Allergy Conferences

In 2014, FARE provided funding for five regional conferences, which are managed by local support groups and volunteers. These events are made possible though FARE’s Community Outreach Grants Program, which gave nearly $23,000 in support to these important education and community gatherings. If one of these events is in your area, we encourage you to attend!

 

Michigan Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Conference

Saturday, Aug 9, 8 am
Kresge Hall Auditorium
Madonna University
Livonia, MI

http://www.foodallergymiconference.com

 

NY/NJ Food Allergy Education Conference

Sunday, Sept 14, 9 am–12 pm
Saddle Brook Marriott
Saddle Brook, NJ

http://www.tinyurl.com/FARENJ

 

Utah Food Allergy Conference

Saturday, Nov 15, 2 pm
University Guest House Hotel
Salt Lake City, UT

http://www.utahfoodallergy.org

 

Washington FEAST Regional Conference

Fall 2014 (date and location TBA)
Washington State

http://www.wafeast.org

 

Eosinophilic Esophagitis in the Spectrum of Food Allergy

Saturday, Nov 15
ForeFront Conference Center
Waltham, MA

EGID@childrens.harvard.edu

The next FARE National Food Allergy Conference will be held in Long Beach, CA on May 16-17, 2015. Save the date!

Study: People with Eczema Should Avoid Food-Based Skin Products

If you have a skin inflammation such as eczema, using skin cream that contains food ingredients could lead to an allergic reaction, according to a letter to the editor published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Australian researchers report on the case of a 55-year-old woman who had a life-threatening reaction after eating two mouthfuls of a salad containing goat cheese. Although the woman suffered from eczema and seasonal asthma throughout her life, she had no history of reactions to food. But after conducting tests to track down the problem ingredient, doctors found that she was allergic to goat’s milk.

Further investigation revealed that the woman frequently used a moisturizer containing goat’s milk to soothe her eczema, although she stopped using it when her condition worsened. Rubbing the cream into inflamed skin, however, presumably sensitized her. When she ingested goat cheese, it triggered a reaction that escalated within minutes, requiring emergency treatment with epinephrine.

The researchers believe that this is the first direct evidence that humans can become sensitized to a food allergen by exposure through the skin. However, previous studies suggest that people with eczema have developed food allergies after using soaps and oils that contain wheat, oat, peanut and goat’s milk. The authors advise eczema patients to avoid skin care products and cosmetics that contain food ingredients.

Fourth of July Western Cornbread

This recipe is perfect for your Fourth of July cookout or a summer picnic. It’s free of the top eight allergens and can be fried or baked depending on your preference. If you’re looking for a refreshing dessert to serve, check out our “4 Frozen Recipes for the Fourth of July.”

Western Cornbread

Milk-free, Egg-free, Wheat-free, Peanut-free, Tree nut-free, Soy-free, Fish-free, Shellfish-free (Free of the Top Eight food allergens)

  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • oil

In large bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir in 1/4 cup water and vegetable oil. Slowly add boiling water. Stir batter until it reaches consistency of grits. Add chili powder, corn, and cilantro. Mix well. In large skillet, pour oil 1/2 inch deep. Heat to medium-high. Scoop 1/4 cup batter and drop into hot oil. Fry in batches, cooking 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with margarine if desired.

Note: The amount of boiling water that will be used can vary depending on the type of cornmeal that is used. Coarsely ground or stone-ground cornmeal will require more liquid.

Suggestion: For baked cornbread, pour 1/3 cup vegetable oil into jelly-roll pan, spreading it to the edges. Pour batter into pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 475 degrees. Turn cornbread and bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.

We hope you and your family have a fun and festive holiday weekend!

2014 FARE Vision Award Winners

The FARE Vision Awards take their name from FARE’s vision statement, which is to make the world safe for people with food allergies. These awards recognize individuals and entities who work to make that vision a reality, and who support FARE in its mission to find a cure for food allergies and to keep individuals with food allergies safe and included.

Our 2014 award winners have gone above and beyond in their efforts to support the food allergy community, and they are truly leaders in making a difference for everyone who is living with food allergies. Awards were presented at the FARE National Food Allergy Conference on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

awards winners with adrian

Pictured from left to right: FARE’s CEO John Lehr; FARE Vision Award Recipient for Outstanding Community Citizen, Anne Thompson; FARE Vision Award Recipient for Outstanding Corporate Citizen, Siobhan Cavanaugh accepting for Mylan Specialty; and pro football player and Mylan Specialy spokesperson Adrian Peterson

Vision Award for Outstanding Corporate Citizen 
Presented to a corporation that has made a positive impact in the lives of people with food allergies and supported the food allergy community through a partnership with FARE.

Presented to Mylan Specialty

mylanlogo

 

 

Through its work and actions, Mylan Specialty has shown its commitment to the food allergy community by helping people live well with food allergies, promoting positive change on behalf of the community, and otherwise supporting the development of a safer world for people with food allergies.

Our 2014 honoree has been a leader in supporting transformative programs focused on increasing anaphylaxis awareness, preparedness and access to treatment for those affected by life-threatening allergies. FARE has been proud to partner with Mylan Specialty on a wide-range of education and awareness initiatives, including this, our first FARE National Food Allergy Conference, for which Mylan is the presenting sponsor. Mylan also is the national presenting sponsor for the FARE Walk for Food Allergy program, which takes place in more than 60 cities nationwide to raise awareness and critical funds to fulfill FARE’s mission. Last year’s walks raised a record $3.6 million to support food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness programs. Mylan also regularly supports annual programs such as our Teen Summit and the meeting of the International Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance.

In just this past year, Mylan’s support has made possible several special projects that have advanced the cause of the food allergy community. These include:

  • The documentary “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America,” which was produced and distributed by the Discovery Channel in partnership with FARE, and
  • The creation of our new comprehensive educational tool called Your Food Allergy Field Guide, which is designed to help families transition from a new food allergy diagnosis to living well with food allergies. In less than six months, thanks to grants from Mylan and other supporters, FARE was able to distribute more than 100,000 free printed copies of the Field Guide to allergists nationwide to provide to their patients with food allergy, and to create a free digital version on our website.

In addition to these great programs, Mylan has also worked to increase awareness through its Anaphylaxis 101 and Ready2Go campaigns, and to improve access to epinephrine auto-injectors through its EpiPen4Schools and $0 Co-Pay programs. And, as makers of the EpiPen, they are a daily presence in the lives of millions of Americans who are prepared to respond to anaphylactic emergencies.

Vision Award for Outstanding Community Citizen
Presented to an individual volunteer who has gone above and beyond to support FARE and its mission, dedicating herself to educating others and advocating for the cause.

Presented to Anne Thompson

annthompson

Anne has been a passionate advocate and volunteer for FARE and the food allergy community for nearly two decades. When her son Andrew was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies two decades ago, very little information was available. In 1997, Anne co-founded one of the first food allergy support groups in the country–Mothers of Children Having Allergies, better known as MOCHA, here in Chicago. Since then, Anne has mentored, counseled and taught hundreds, if not thousands, of other families who are struggling with the daily challenges and anxiety of living with food allergies. In fact, families across the country have benefitted from Anne and Andrew’s story through their participation in the 2013 documentary “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America,” which was produced by the Discovery Channel in partnership with FARE.

As an advocate, Anne was instrumental in getting District 39, in Wilmette, Illinois, to be among the first school districts in the nation to adopt progressive policies in food allergy safety and inclusion. This policy served as a model for statewide guidelines and later national guidelines. She was also active in advocacy efforts that led to Illinois allowing all emergency response personnel to carry epinephrine auto-injectors, and played an important role in the passage of legislation allowing higher education institutions in Indiana to stock epinephrine.

Anne, along with her MOCHA co-founder Denise Bunning, also helped to launch the first Walk for Food Allergy, which was held in Chicago in 2004. Most recently, Anne’s experiences in helping Andrew navigate his first two years at Purdue University have made Anne a leading authority in the management of food allergies in higher education. Anne has dedicated countless hours and her expertise in this arena to helping FARE develop its new FARE College Food Allergy Program, which was launched in January, and she continues to be involved in its implementation. Anne’s service on behalf of FARE and the food allergy community also includes her current positions on FARE’s Support Group Leader Executive Council as well as on our Advocacy Leadership Council.

Vision Award for Outstanding Fundraising Achievement
Presented to an individual or a group of individuals who have gone above and beyond to raise
critical funds to support FARE and its mission.

Presented to Abbey Braverman, Roxanne Palin and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff

fundraising award

The co-chairs of the FARE New York Spring Luncheon, Abbey Braverman, Roxanne Palin, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, are dedicated mothers of children with food allergies. Thanks to their commitment and hard work, the luncheon, which was first held 15 years ago with just over 100 attendees, has become a high-profile event in New York City that attracts more than 700 guests each year and raised $1 million in 2014.

The luncheon’s goals are to raise funds to advance FARE’s mission and to educate and engage supporters. The co-chairs have brought great spirit and energy to helping FARE exceed these goals each year, while creating a fun and festive environment that inspires attendees to become more involved in our cause.

In addition to building a strong base of loyal supporters who return – and bring new supporters – year after year, the luncheon has helped raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergies and anaphylaxis, and highlights FARE’s work through features and interviews in the tri-state media. It has also helped FARE build mutually beneficial relationships with allergy friendly companies.

Founder’s Award
Presented to a public figure or group of public figures who have greatly advanced the vision of a safer world for individuals with food allergies through significant public action.

Presented to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), original sponsors of the School Access to Emergency
Epinephrine Act, which was signed into law on November 13, 2013.

In this – the inaugural year of the Founder’s Award– we are pleased to present it to four of our nation’s legislative leaders who are also champions of the food allergy community.

Last year, Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Representatives Phil Roe and Steny Hoyer sponsored and successfully passed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act – which was signed into law by President Obama on November 13, 2013. That law incentivizes states to require the stocking of emergency epinephrine in their schools.

Because of their dedication and dogged commitment to the cause of safety and inclusion for children with food allergies, more states have adopted stock epinephrine laws and more lives will be saved because of their leadership.

Congratulations and thank you to all of our 2014 Vision Award winners!

Allergy-Friendly Father’s Day Barbeque Recipes

Let Dad spend time doing what he does best – man the grill at your Father’s Day barbeque! These food allergy-friendly recipes for steak marinade and potato salad are perfect for dads and guests alike and free of the top eight food allergens.

Milk-free, Egg-free, Wheat-free, Peanut-free, Tree nut-free, Soy-free, Fish-free, Shellfish-free (Free of the Top Eight food allergens)

Steak Marinade

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (for soy-free), or tamari/wheat-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 lb. steak (flank steak recommended)

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce or balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, red wine vinegar, pepper, and ginger. Place steak in glass dish or large plastic bag; pour marinade over steak and cover or seal for several hours or overnight.

Spicy Potato Salad

  • 4 large red potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (8 3/4-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 6 green olives, sliced

Cook potatoes in boiling water 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain. Set aside until cool to touch. Cut potatoes into cubes; place in large bowl. Set aside. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt; pour over potatoes. Toss gently. Cover and chill 1 hour. Stir in corn, carrots, and olives.

We hope you and your family have a great Father’s Day!

FARE Kids Who Care: Callie Milner

Callie FARE BlogCallie Milner wants everyone to be able to enjoy dessert together, which is why she started Callie’s Nut-Free Treats, a home-based bakery business that has been churning out nut-free baked goods and delighting customers in the Chicago area. At just nine years old, Callie and her mother Dara are donating all proceeds from their sales to FARE so they can help raise funds for food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness. We asked Callie to tell us more about her successful fundraiser:

What are your food allergies? What’s it like having food allergies?

I am allergic to peanuts. When I go to a restaurant and I am ordering food, I have to be really careful that the server understands that my food cannot touch anything with peanuts. Cross-contact is the biggest thing about having food allergies. Having a food allergy makes you have to think in every situation about what you are eating and what others are eating around you. It is usually ok, but sometimes people don’t listen or understand and that is when it gets tiring. It is also tiring when there are really good treats around you that you can’t eat, and that is why I made Callie’s Nut-Free Treats!

Tell us about how you have been fundraising for FARE.

I have been making Callies’ Nut-Free Treats to raise money for FARE. I dance at All About Dance in Chicago and Ms. Jessica and Ms. Shannon (the owners) have let me have bake sales there for 3 years.  All of my treats are peanut, tree-nut and shellfish free and many are gluten-free and egg-free. I also have a website that people can order off of as part of the bake sale. I have raised over $9,000 so far and I don’t plan to stop!

Why did you want to do it? Why was it was important to you?

Callie’s Nut-Free Treats was really important to me because when I would see a good treat, I would really want to eat it, but I couldn’t because of my food allergy. So that’s why I made Callie’s Nut-Free Treats. I know how it feels for kids with food allergies and I want to make treats that a lot of people with food allergies and also without food allergies can eat. Now I don’t feel bad when I see great treats. I also wanted to teach people about food allergies and why they have to be really careful.

Which of your baked goods is your favorite? Which is the most popular seller?

My favorites are chocolate-covered chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate sandwich cookie and potato chip milk chocolate bark, chocolate covered graham crackers with sprinkles and marshmallows. Our best sellers are the chocolate-covered chocolate sandwich cookies and solid chocolate pops.

How can you be a good friend to someone with food allergies?

You can be a good friend by not eating something they are allergic to when you are near them. You can also help protect someone with food allergies by telling your mom, dad or nanny to not serve foods they are allergic to and not allow foods to touch what you are allergic to when they come to your house. Like if a knife was used on peanut butter and then put in the jelly jar, I can’t eat that jelly.

What advice would you give a kid or a friend who was just diagnosed with food allergies?

Some tips I would give a friend that was just diagnosed with food allergies would be:

  • Be very very very very very very careful when you go to a restaurant. You have to say my food can’t be touched to what I am allergic to. You can ask the server to ask the chef what is safe for you to eat.  Make sure they understand cross-contact.
  • If someone is eating something you are allergic to, you have to speak up for yourself and say can you please not eat that and go wash your hands.
  • There are still a lot of great things you can eat. You can eat out and you can make lots of good things at home. I have traveled lots of places and I get to eat many yummy things.
  •  I have made lots of great friends and done special things because of my food allergies so don’t worry.

Thank you, Callie, for supporting FARE and providing safe treats for individuals with food allergies in the Chicago area. Callie’s treats are available for pick up to those in the Chicago area and can be ordered online at calliesnutfreetreats.com.