Thank you Tina Rose from www.realage.com on this insightful piece on how far we’ve come in raising allergy awareness.
Raising Food Allergy Awareness
In the dark days before the information age, people didn’t always know about the power of food allergies. You could go your whole life without getting an “allergy alert” about a company that found a rogue peanut in an allegedly peanut-free zone. But these days, with the online world always at our fingertips, more and more companies, restaurants and people are becoming aware of food allergies – which is good for those of us who struggle to breathe (or itch, or worse) when greeted by peanuts, a dose of shrimp stock or even a bite of egg.
Obviously places like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have helped raise awareness about allergies, but there are a lot of advocacy groups and grassroots organizations whose members have pounded the pavement, lobbied food manufacturers and government agencies to make sure that we all have the option to enjoy delicious foods safely.
Organizations like FANN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network), Food Allergy Initiative, Kids with Food Allergies Foundation, and American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology have all worked to raise awareness and create an environment that helps keep allergy sufferers safe. Just a few of the things we should thank them for either demanding or developing include:
- More comprehensive food labeling
- Special allergy alert notices that go out online, on mobile devices, television and radio when food is mislabeled, recalled or an ingredient has changed
- Pamphlets, brochures and classes – online and in person – for educators, health professionals and just everyday individuals who are interested in keeping someone they love safe
Outside of alerts and education, one of the best things to happen to allergy sufferers in decades is the “foodie” movement. Whether you love Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray or the Barefoot Contessa, there’s no denying that these people have helped springboard the whole idea of “food love” and passion for entertaining into the mainstream. Along with that also came gluten-free recipes, homemade baby food, allergy-friendly substitutions and a whole slew of recipes, books, blogs and TV shows about the importance of eating well – and eating safely.
Of course, you still have to be aware, wear your medic alert bracelet, and be prepared in case of an emergency, but thanks to the power of the Web and the rise of the “foodie” culture, it’s a safer – and tastier – world for all of us.
Tina Rose writes for RealAge.com, a health and wellness website focusing on allergies and health tips to help you live life to the youngest.