If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’re most likely already annoyed by my Food Allergy Awareness Week related updates, links, and tweets. I would apologize, but I’m not sorry. I rant occasionally about my deathfish troubles without the need of a week dedicated to it, and I generally get at least a good dialog going. I thank you know for your patience and interest. This week is set aside for just such ranting and lunacy, and as one of the afflicted, I feel it’s my duty to be vocal all week.
Again… I realize that food allergy cures and research aren’t top priority to everyone, and that there are many many other diseases and health issues that also deserve research and attention… a lot of them much higher on the “urgency” scale. But, I refer you to the aforementioned duty to be vocal this week.
These sites have many many excellent resources for information, education, activism, & general awareness:
I encourage you to take the time and explore the sites if you’d like to know what it’s like to deal with an allergy yourself, or have a child with a severe allergy. (You can also hit up my Allergies category.)
For my fellow Food Allergy Afflicted Friends…
While I get behind these campaigns to wrote to your local, state, & national politicians… I just get a feeling that this needs to come form somewhere else. Maybe it’s a political ideaology thing… I don’t want toe government to take care of me. Perhaps I don’t want the government to force people to take care of me. I feel that if that’s the case, it will be a bare minimum. We need to get the food and health industries behind this movement. Companies have to want to be allergy and cross-contamination friendly because it gives them an edge on the competition.
Instead of writing to a politician and getting a nifty gold-sealed proclamation… I’d rather see a special on the Food Network, a cooking publication that’s not allergy related already to pick up on it and do a special issue. I’d like to see Pizza Hut finally tell me where and how their sauce may come into contact with shellfish. I’d rather know why Subway uses one knife to cut all of their sandwiches. I’d love to know why restaurants with multiple deep fryers don’t assign one for shellfish and one for other foods.
I’d like to see labels have to declare more than just the big 8 allergens, but to clearly define all ingredients. Even mollusks, which I’m allergic to (and which fall under the “shellfish” category) don’t have to be listed prominently under current FALCPA regulations. There are many other things that people are allergic to… corn, peppers, chocolate, … it’s imperative that everything gets labeled!
We also need to stick together. To me, it seems like the bulk of allergy literature relates to wheat/gluten and peanuts, and these are the ones people are most aware of. You can somewhat easily get peanut butter substitutes, and on the other side of the ‘Burgh there’s even a gluten-free bakery. I’ve never seen a place advertise “Shellfish Free!” It makes me a little jealous. (I always joke with the wife that if I ever win the lottery, I’m opening a restaurant called “F___ Shellfish”.)
I’d like to remind all of us in the top 8 that there are not only eight categories of us, but many many others without a name or a voice out there.
Let’s go after the Food Industry next ear, and not the government.