Prepping for Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011

Okay, so I’m on a roll this morning.  That Subway stuff struck a nerve.  It reminded me that I would like to have more consumer-driven responses to food allergy issues, and less government mandates.  Food Allergy Awareness Week is not for a few months (May 8-14, 2011), but it doesn’t mean that you can’t start getting ready now.

I just wrote to the Food Network, requesting some Food Allergy Awareness.  I used their contact form, and this is what I had to say…

I’m a big fan of all the Food Network shows.  I’d love to see an Iron Chef battle where they can’t use any of the “top 8” allergens.  I am allergic to shellfish, and always recoil slightly when it’s a lobster or crab battle… or when the inevitable prawn works its way into a dish.  There is a Food Allergy Awareness week every May.  It would be great timing for such an event… and really help the allergy awareness and cross-contamination cause.  There are MANY food-allergic foodies out there!

I’m sure you’re aware that the top 8 allergens are Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, & Wheat.  TO have an Iron Chef battle where they ahd to prepare meals without any of the top 8 allergens would be truly epic, and help show others out there that there ARE indeed alternatives & work-arounds when dealing with a life-threatening allergy.  Food allergy awareness week this year will be May 8-14, 2011.

Thank you for your time, I hope to hear your thoughts on this matter!


I’d like to ask that you also write your own letter or email.  And, why stop at one? Please, share with me other places where you think we ought to write, and I’ll write to them too!

I’ll definitely be writing more, perhaps armed with statistics like the following (from

Prevalence of food allergies in the United States

Ninety percent of food allergies in the United States are caused by eight foods:  Milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish.  This website is dedicated to a diet free of these allergens.  Of course, it is possible to be allergic to just about any protein.  In Japan, rice allergy is one of the offenders.

Just to give you a sense of how many kids are suffering from food allergies today, here is a table of the most common food allergies.  This does not count children with milk-soy protien intollerance or Celiac disease, only children with Ig-E mediated food allergies.

Percentage of young children with allergy to:

  • Milk 2.5%
  • Egg 1.3%
  • Soy 1.1% (There is little agreement on this number.  Estimates range from 1 to 5%)
  • Wheat 1.0%
  • Peanut 0.8%
  • Tree nuts 0.2%
  • Fish 0.1%
  • Shellfish 0.1%
  • Overall 6 to 8% of population

Percentage of adults with allergy to:

  • Shellfish 2.0%
  • Peanut 0.6%
  • Tree nuts 0.5%
  • Fish 0.4%
  • Milk  0.3%
  • Egg 0.2%
  • Soy 0.2%
  • Overall 3.7%

Source: Hugh A. Sampson, MD. “Update on food allergy“, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, May 2004

While writing to politicians does gain some inroads, there are other productive avenues to explore.


15 thoughts on “Prepping for Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011

  1. What a fantastic idea! This would be amazing for food allergy awareness, and it would be quite the challenge for chefs, making it all the more exciting. I think I will write a letter as well. I don’t have television service, but anything to help out. A lot of people don’t realize the simple substitutions that can be done for food allergies, which is why I covered so many delicious holiday recipes on my own blog (I still can’t believe how tasty that dairy free, egg free pumpkin pie turned out…YUM!). Keep it up, man. Having food allergies myself and two kids with allergies, would you believe I didn’t even know about food allergy awareness week? lol


    • Glad you like the idea, hopefully we can spread the word. Yeah… substitutions can be a good thing for health reasons for all kinds of people, not just the food-allergic.

      You didn’t know about food allergy awareness week? I think 2009 was perhaps the first time I had heard of it, so don’t feel bad! Ha ha.


  2. Eric, that is an awesome idea! I am a huge fan of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” program; we should write to them too! I think they’ve had to do a vegan challenge before; surely a “free from the top 8” food allergens challenge would be in the same spirit. OK, I’ve got to watch football now but remind me to write to them tomorrow! It’s OK to nag me, I mean it! 🙂


    • Glad you like the idea! If you post the contact info/page for “Top Chef” here, I’ll write to them too. Perhaps we can somehow pull together a little database of places to write… just like the ones that FAAN put together for the politicians.


      • Re: Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” program: There’s an email contact form at, and/or we can write to:

        Bravo Viewer Relations
        3000 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 250
        Burbank, CA 91523


  3. I think this is a great idea!! I’m getting ready to watch Steelers football (like AllergyBird) but I’ll make sure I get on this during the week. Thanks for being proactive on Food Allergy Awareness Week too.
    Regarding the Subway post: If they can handle one allergen, they should be educated to handle them all. One shouldn’t get priority over the others. Everyone deserves to eat safely.


    • Thanks, glad you like the idea! Hopefully we can pass it along to enough people to get something started.

      Totally agreed on the Subway issue. It’s angering that I’ve been writing to them for years about shellfish concerns, but they address the gluten thing first.


  4. Our little guy has several severe allergies to foods and used to have a lot of intolerances too that caused him to have awful eczema all over his skin. We went through a period of really challenging times with so many doctors and tests and all for them to confuse us like crazy. The tests are just not that accurate and we knew he had things going on that they were not showing. Finally we figured out that he had many intolerances too and that was the primary cause for his eczema rashes. Once he started taking his Belly Boost children’s probiotic…he was so much better! It has been an answer to our prayers and really changed our life. He does still have allergies and we avoid these foods and carry an EpiPen for him. I hope that more and more restaurants will focus on this important issue for so many! Thanks 🙂


    • It’s good to see that the whole world is concerned with the issue… a lot of the news that I hear comes from just Canada & the United States. Canada seems to be more progressive on the issue for better or for worse. I’ve added your blog to my blog reader!


  5. Submitted today to


    I did a search today on your site for “Food allergies” and sadly found only one recipe for a peanut-free playdough. As a leader in the food industry, I’d like to ask that you post more about food allergies and their alternatives, especially the “top 8”; Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, & Wheat.

    I have a severe shellfish allergy, but also consider myself a “foodie”… there are a bunch of us out there. Each May, there’s a Food Allergy Awareness Week (recognized by many state & local governments as well as The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) and I’d like to raise awareness on more than a government/legislative level. I’d like there to be a consumer-driven movement, perhaps aided by Food industry powerhouses such as yourselves.

    To learn more about FAAW, please see this article:

    Thank you for your time, I hope to hear your thoughts on the matter.



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