Recent Specialty Diet News

Like the economy and the swine flu, allergy and Celiac news seems to have a certain pattern.  Doom, gloom, and then a light at the end of the tunnel.  Recent news from the specialty diet world is no exception.  But, like life, sometimes it takes the doom and gloom to truly appreciate that light so here are a few highlights from various places around the globe:

Allergy Mom’s Newsletter:  Gina Clowes is the mom of a multiple food allergic child and a tireless advocate for special diet families.  Her most recent newsletter was disturbing because it features an interview with a parent who lost a child last year to a peanut allergy.  What was very enlightening was that this parent mentions that his family had come to expect a certain kind of reaction from their teen and were completely caught off guard when this life-ending reaction occurred.  It’s also a wake-up call to remind all food allergic parents that a “mild” allergy is not always predictable.  Our family had quite a discussion around this terrible tragedy.  You can read Gina’s interview with the father on the Allergy Mom’s April 25 Newsletter.

Recently Anaphylaxis Canada has asked for those living in British Columbia to respond to proposed changes to the BC medical act that would allow naturopaths to treat allergic patients as part of their scope of practice.  Anaphylaxis Canada’s concerns are that  food allergic individuals (as opposed to intolerances) should be treated in a medical setting where intervention would be possible in the case of an anaphylactic reaction to treatment.  That position bears thought when hearing about a recent Dublin inquest where a man died from peanut allergy while being treated with alternative methods.

Did you know that this week is National Food Allergy Awareness Week in the United States and last week was National Food Allergy Awareness Week in Canada?  To learn more about increasing awareness any week of the year, please visit the FAAN website (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) in the US and Anaphylaxis Canada’s website in Canada.

Nonuttin’ Foods began providing GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) free products 2 years ago because there have been questions raised as to whether genetically engineered food could be having an effect on the rising rates of food allergies.  Since there have been no specific studies to date really delving into that question, we prefer to avoid genetically manipulated foods and advocate labeling (not currently required in North America) to allow the customer a choice.  Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they have provided a research grant to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to investigate that question.  It may take many years to have the question answered but at least it is a start.

Did you know that there is a correlation between rising food allergy rates and the rising rates of childhood obesity?  A new study looks at the possibility that one is affecting the other.

Peanut allergy gets a lot of media attention often because of its severity and in recent years, the amount of well known food processors that have begun labeling their products as peanut free (Mars, Nestle, Christie to name a few in Canada).   However, as reported in the UK recently, fruit and vegetable allergies, particularly Oral Allergy Syndrome, is gaining ground on the peanut and may be considered the epidemic of the food allergy world for the new century.

And finally, (are you getting tired of all of this news yet?) it looks like pure oats will finally be allowed gluten free certification in Canada.   For any of you who have tried to decipher exactly why you don’t see “gluten free” on our Canadian labels and website while we can on our US information, the confusion may finally be coming to an end.  Essentially, Health Canada’s position is that pure oats are a suitable addition to most gluten free diets and may help add some needed fiber and nutrition to the Celiac diet within reason (i.e. 10 bowls of pure oats a day is too much of a good thing – for anybody!).  But that doesn’t mean we’re allowed to put “gluten free” on our granola labels in Canada because oats aren’t allowed to be called gluten free, also according to Health Canada.  However, the Canadian Celiac Association is expected to roll out a new pure oats certification program at their annual conference in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario on May 31 which may change all of that.  I’ll be there with bells on!