Tag Archives: Allergen

Zero8


Zero8 | Resto-Bar

Restaurant sans allergène

I’m going to need to get my passport, a long weekend, and maybe even a French/English dictionary so I can drive to Montreal and have several meals at my new ideal vacation destination: Zero8

I just learned of the wonderful existence of Zero8 thanks to the ever informative Allergy Eats Blog.  Paul at Allergy Eats is always on top of current allergy issues with restaurants (like recent fast-food menu changes), and it’s great to see that a restaurant like this even exists in the first place.  What’s their deal?

Well, they are free of the top 8 allergens, plus a few other things… and seem to be extremely sensitive to the needs of those with food allergies, food intolerances, and celiac disease.  This quote alone from their “Learn More” page is really incredibly comforting:

As everyone suffering from food allergies knows, going to the restaurant with family, friends or colleagues is not always enjoyable: limited knowledge of the ingredients used in dishes, fear of cross-contamination, lack of confidence in the staff are some of the worries that can come with ordering a simple meal!

A food allergy cannot be taken lightly. Difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, inflammation and vomiting are some of the extreme reactions that the immune system can have when confronted with a food protein. The consequences can be dramatic. Serious allergies can cause an anaphylactic shock, a violent reaction that can cause loss of consciousness and sometimes death.

At Zero8 we offer a secure environment where you can eat with confidence. We guarantee a worry-free meal!

…And something more restaurants ought to understand, express, & practice.  Or at least this could translate to other restaurants:

Since most food allergies are caused by the 9 priority allergens, you may be allergic to other foods. That is why we identify all of the ingredients in our dishes on our menu and that the list of our kitchen’s authorized ingredients is available upon request at any time. Whenever possible, we try to accommodate our clients’ requests in adapting dishes to their particular needs.

Zero8 pays attention to your needs!

Is that too much to ask?

I have no idea why Canada seems to be light-years ahead of the United States where food allergies are concerned.  They have better legislation, tolerance for epi-pens, and awareness.

Chefs in the US need to get behind this!  If there was a place like this in Pittsburgh, you could bet I’d be there all the time and I’d tell all my friends & family about the place.  There were a ton of Pittsburghers at the Food Allergy Walk last year, you have your clientele ready!

Click the Allergy Eats Blog logo to read about Paul’s experience there!

Allergy Eats Blog

My Food Allergy Responses Graph


Inspired by the Food Allergy Fun graph of responses that Tiffany gets when she tells people her child has a food allergy, I made my own graph.  These are the typical responses that I, as an adult, get when I tell people about my shellfish allergy & try to give a brief description of the dangers of cross-contamination.

Typical Responses When I Explain my Food Allergy & Cross Contamination:

This is what I hear all the time.

Click the graph above for the full-sized image.

Food Allergy Fun | Actual Responses – Food Allergy Fun Graph


Sad, but funny.  Food Allergy Fun‘s Tiffany is always good for a giggle.  At least I only have to worry about myself, not a little one.  I could make a similar graph of responses that I encounter when I tell other adults about my food allergy.

Actual Responses – Food Allergy Fun Graph

Actual Responses - Food Allergy Fun Graph

via Food Allergy Fun (click image to go there!)

via Food Allergy Fun: Actual Responses – Food Allergy Fun Graph.

…blah blah blah Food Allergy blah blah blah blah.


Sad, but true.

blah blah blah food allergy blah blah blah blah

Image via Food Allergy Fun

I encourage you to read more at Food Allergy Fun!  Hey, we all have to maintain some sense of humor about food allergies, and when we laugh at excellent cartoons like this, we know we’re all in it together & not alone (like it feels sometimes).

Follow Tiffany on Twitter for more cartoons as they happen!  I’m (obviously) a big fan.

Pittsburgh’s Food Allergy Walk 2011 Recap


4th out of the 5 top individual earners!

4th out of the 5 top individual earners!

So, we had a great time on Sunday at the Pittsburgh Food Allergy Walk!  I was honored to receive a certificate for being a top individual fundraiser, and glad I could help.  I was also asked to perhaps take part in getting the word out next year, and maybe be in on some of the planning.  My online chatter was picked up by this year’s volunteer chair Uwe Winzen, as well as the founder of EpiMoms (I’m a terrible person, I forgot her name already).  How cool is that?

(I say next year, we get the 501st Legion out there!  –  Looks like they appeared at some other cities’ food allergy walks!)

Campaign Progress | Goal: $50,000.00 Achieved: $39,333.05

Campaign Progress - Goal: $50,000.00 Achieved: $39,333.05

As of right now, the site states that we raised $39,333.05 toward the $50k goal.  I head a number in the $40 range on Sunday, but perhaps they’re still tallying cash & check donations made the day of the walk.  With online & offline donations, I raised $560.55 and Bethany raised $106.85… so we raised a total of $667.40.  We quite literally could not have done it without the support of our friends & family.

I did notice that I was in the minority… all the walkers received a ribbon: Blue for people with food allergies, green for friends & family supporters.  I didn’t see too many people my age or older with blue ribbons.  It seemed to be a core of families who had small children & young teens with food allergies.

Kyle Dine

Kyle Dine

It was fun to finally meet & see a performance from Kyle Dine after talking via Twitter & Facebook.  After all, we do represent the #FoodAllergyDudeArmy.  Kyle does great work educating kids on what to do regarding not taking food from just anyone, getting an adult to read labels, and speaking out right away about reactions…  as well as letting them know they’re not alone.  I also got to personally thank local celebrity Sally Wiggin for her generous donation!  She called me a sweetheart.

I have some photos up on Facebook, and hope to send them to FAAN so they can be placed in their Flickr photostream.  Hopefully others will comment on the day’s events at the Pittsburgh Food Allergy Walk Facebook Page.

Got a nice little video thank-you from FAAN too:

Smiley Cookie

Smiley Cookie

One of the coolest things I took away from the day was talking to Chef Regis Holden from Eat ‘n Park about their food allergy policies & procedures.  He told us how he worked with Bill Moore, their Director of Safety and Security, to develop practices from marking the order, to looking up all of the ingredients with possible cross-contaminants, to this awesome little purple kit with a sterile sanitary contaminant-free cutting board, knife, tongs, and other tools.  Chef Holden also spoke of yearly allergen training video refreshers, and of how he had just recently heard good things about the Eat ‘n Park on Banksville Road which is nearby.  I may just have to go see for myself, and blog about their process and my adventure!

Thanks again to everyone who gave us donations, and to the walk organizers.  I think we did some good work for FAAN!

Search Terms for 7 days ending 2011-07-27 (Summarized)


Amusing search terms from the last week…

Search Terms for 7 days ending 2011-07-27 (Summarized)

2011-07-20 to Today

Search Views
sonic allergen information 15
help@customerservice.kmart.com 6
sonic allergy information 5
square guitar 5
food allergy awareness poster massachusetts 3
allergen signs 3
mussel allergy 2
parking chair 2
shortcode texting blocked on sprint 2
hollywood magic movies police 2
message 1051 sprint 2
star wars movie order 2
movie list with gorillas 2
subway allergic reaction -peanut 2
food allergy poster 2
giant eagle vs shop n save vs kuhns 2
skausky33@verizon.net 1
funny farm film 1
were can i buy arby’s bbq sauce 1
peter steele 1
brooksfilms, ltd. (mel brooks) 1
texting wont go threw message failed shortcode 1
old movies of my childhood 1
kids pizza mazes 1
tag my pals facebook 1
k.cfarobinson chick-fil-a 1
my childhood devrim filmleri 1
sprint msg 1051 1
error code 1051 epic 1
failed wendys review 1
tanya staal 1
sonic allergies 1
awkward family photos thanksgiving letter 1
baby secret of the lost legend 1
text message response msg 1051 1
dutch haven homemade rootbeer 1
2111 mcdonald’s drive 1
did katelyn carlson have an epi pen 1
k.cfarobinson. 1
r2d2 cap 1
sprint 1051 1
katelyn carlson allergy 1
kronenwetter water problem areas 1
allergen signage 1
9230: message faled. shortcode may have expired or shortcode texting may be blocked on your account. msg 1051 1
functionless art is simply tolerated vandalism…we are the vandals 1
msg 1051 1
american dj error 44 message 1
“commonwealth of pennsylvania” “seal” 1
spencarian 1
convert shortcode 1051 1
short codes for sprint 1
sonic allergen info 1
data vs threepio 1
sonic allergy menu 1
flipout guitar 1
food allergy worning signs 1
dewey decibel flipout guitar 1
katelyn carlson 1
shortcut number for sprint 1
unblocking shortcode texting verizon 1
cfarestaurant.com 1
decadent cheese scalloped potatoes with sour cream 1
kately carlson 1
toybox video songs 1
wendy.ruth@us.mcd.com 1
how to cook hot dogs in the oven 1
letters from serial killers billy 1
why is short code texting blocked on my sprint account 1
food allergic tragedies 1
if i try to text a short code on my phone i will get a message saying the shortcode you texted has expired or short code texting is blocked but it isnt blocked and it hasnt expired 1
doritos and shellfish allergy 1
public service announcement retro old cool funny mp3 1
sprint error 9230 1051 sprint says no blocks 1
yinz 1
nerf herder – “siegfried & roy” mp3 1
short code texting blocked sprint 1
food allergy awareness week 2012 1
root beer stoltzfus ronks, pa 1
armchair reader books vs bathroom readers 1
la choy teriyaki sauce review 1
+3422 email conbtact wawa tobacco list 1
goofy nudes 1
help@customerservice.k-mart.com 1
how to enter short codes in to a sprint phone 1
a amish restaurant that looks like a windmill i 1
sonic allergen menu 1
ella jones usa cytec 1
knife they cut subs with at subway is dirty 1
where to buy bronco berry sauce 1
data c3po t shirt slash 1
sonic allergy 1
advertisement letter 1
pa, statute 3552, “jaywalking” 1
cellphone cross contamination foodservice 1

Keep in mind we don’t count your own visits. This report from 2011-07-27, 14:20:43 UTC-4.

Get a proclamation from your state governor that says “diarrhea”!


Food Allergy Awareness Week

FAAW

So, Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011 is still a little far off, but at the same time it’s quickly approaching.

Personally, I’m all about pushing it from a consumer-level rather than having some government mandates handed down to reluctant (and perhaps allergen-ignorant) business owners.

But, at the same time, I see the monumental importance of government recognition.  It spreads awareness and gives hope to those of us trying to express the validity and seriousness of food allergies and anaphylaxis.

So, I urge you to do your part, and write to the governor of your state asking for them to declare recognition of Food Allergy Awareness Week.  From the FAAN website:

Take ActionFood Allergy Awareness Week: May 8-14, 2011

Ask your Governor to Issue a Food Allergy Awareness Week Proclamation

Issuing a Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) proclamation is a great way to help raise awareness in your State!

Ask your Governor to declare May 8-14, 2011 Food Allergy Awareness Week!

In 2010, FAAW was recognized in a RECORD 37 STATES! Let’s break this record in 2011!

As of Feb 8, 2011, only one proclamation has been issued (Minnesota). Only 49 more states to go!

So, what are you waiting for?  It only takes a few minutes, and you may even get a nifty official-looking document from your governor with a state seal that has the word “diarrhea” on it.  I mean, how funny is that?


Subway | Eat Death™


I’ve recently renewed my dialog with Subway, sparked by the news of them rolling out a gluten-free menu.  Here’s how it’s going down:

From:

ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Gluten-Free Menu Options in Texas?
To: Paula Gomez <gomez_p@subway.com>, Rob Searfus <R.Searfus@sfaft.org>, Mack Bridenbaker <m.bridenbaker@sfaft.org>, Christine Sumecki <c.sumecki@sfaft.org>, Subway Customer Care Team <asksubway@subway.com>, “B. Pingarron” <b.pingarron@sfaft.org>, “M. Luby” <m.luby@sfaft.org>, “Anna Marie Seeley (Customer Care Representative)” <seeley_a@subway.com>, Kevin Kane <kane_k@subway.com>

Hello Friends at Subway,

I write to you today because we have had a dialogue going in the past about food allergies and cross-contamination that I would like to continue.  I have recently read a few articles online informing the masses that Subway plans to roll-out some gluten-free menu options in the Dallas & Tyler Texas markets soon.  If you would like to read the articles in question, here are some links:

While I would like to be able to applaud this effort, I also find it quite frustrating.

I am quite proud of Subway as an organization when I read such responsible things like “The baked goods will arrive pre-packaged and individually wrapped. Employees will be educated on how to cut the bread using a pre-wrapped knife to avoid cross contamination.”  I mean, really… this is a novel idea and a stellar effort as well as great news for Celiac afflicted potential Subway customers.  Certainly lines like “Also, to further avoid cross-contamination, that same Sandwich Artist will prepare the order from beginning to end, ensuring a 100-percent gluten-free meal” offer a level of comfort to those who must dine gluten-free.  While other restaurants have offered gluten-free menus, you seem to understand that a knife that cuts a regular bun cannot also cut the bun of a gluten-free selection.  This would, I imagine, be quite a worry for a wheat-allergic or Celiac person.  I can imagine this scenario quite well, actually.  You may remember my past missives expressing my allergy to shellfish (and more specifically to your “seafood” sub offering).

This is where my frustration sets in.  I have written to you on multiple occasions expressing the frustration for not only my shellfish allergy, but all of the “top 8”; Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, & Wheat.  Why have you picked this opportunity to only concentrate on the wheat?  There are others too… I know of people with tomato and pepper allergies that would be thrown into the same anaphylactic shock that I would given I were to take a bite of unknowingly deathfish-laiden lunchmeat.  While you seem to understand the importance of a gluten-free knife… what about a cheese-free, tomato-free, and shellfish-free knife?  Perhaps you have forgotten my previous letter with a few colorful illustrations of the contaminated knife issue.  I will repost here for your convenience:

Then we have the community knife.  If one were to cut someone’s seafood sub with that knife, wipe it off, then cut my sub, there are STILL allergens on that knife, enough allergens to kill me.  Do you want me to be thrown in to an Anaphylactic fit?  I doubt it.  Well, at least, I hope not.

Think about this – do you share your toothbrush with everyone in your household?  Would you with everyone in your office?  Would you share it with everyone that you pass on the way to work in the morning or with everyone who’s eating lunch with you at the same place where you’re choosing to dine?

Yes, it sounds gross, but those potential germs that you’re no doubt currently horrified of are the same as the very real allergens that will most certainly throw me into instant death.

If that didn’t do it for you, imagine I put a giant dried dog turd on the sandwich board, cut it in half, wrapped it, wiped off the knife [with a re-used dishrag type cloth], and then cut your sandwich.  By Subway’s current logic, that knife is clean and contamination free.  This is most certainly not a pretty picture to you, my friend.  Is it?

Does any of this ring a bell?

Also, I have received conflicting reports on how such issues are currently handled or have been handled in the past.  One reply states…

The Company policy directs our independent restaurant owners / operators to take all necessary precautions to prevent the possibility of cross contamination. This includes the policy of washing all utensils and containers after each use. Each restaurant is independently owned and operated and is the responsibility of the franchise owner to implement and enforce the policy.

Which seems to conflict with yet another reply…

I have gone ahead and copied our Training Department so that further lessons can be addressed with owners and their employees on proper handling.

And, the latest information according to the QSRWeb.com article is that “Sandwich Artists in those two markets will be trained on how to cut the roll with a pre-wrapped knife for one use only.”  So, have they been trained in allergies in cross-contamination already, or not?  Color me confused, my friends.

I’d feel safer if the seafood concoction wasn’t anywhere near the meat & cheese where it currently sits.  I’d also feel safer if the same knife wasn’t used to cut all of the sandwiches, and the same dishrag-type towel wasn’t used to wipe off the knife in random intervals between sandwich slicing.  I’d feel safer if all the sandwich artists, managers, and owners were trained on allergens, cross-contamination, and the seriousness of anaphylactic shock.  I’d feel safer if all stores contained a first aid kit complete with an epi pen and clear instructions for its use.

Why should the Celiac-afflicted feel safer, but the rest of us with deadly food allergies should not?  I look forward to your response, your insights, and how you plan to move forward regarding all potentially deadly allergens and how they are to be handled in your stores.  Thank you once again for your time, I hope to hear from you soon.

Inquisitively,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

P.S. – I was wondering, when you work in an office for Subway, do you have an in-office Subway in which the employees receive (or make) their own lunch?  Or, is there a Subway nearby where you get free or discounted food?  Or, are you all too sick of Subway to eat there?

And I got this back…

From: Searfus, Rob <R.Searfus@sfaft.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM
Subject: RE: Gluten-Free Menu Options in Texas?
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello Eric,

My apologies for not replying earlier, I was traveling and in meetings most of the week, (as well as attending to some family business).  But enough of the excuses.

Forgive me for not having more product answers, but I’m simply a field marketing representative out here on the west coast.  I have inquired with our R&D department to try and get the answers to your questions.  No replies yet, but this week has been tough for me to get a hold of anyone on the east coast due to the severe winter storms that they have been having (offices closed for at least a couple of days.)

I’ll follow up by e-mail when I get any answers for you.

Thanks, and BTW, what part of the US to you hail from?

Rob Searfus
Field Marketing Manager
Subway® Franchise World Headquarters
16337 SW Leeding Ln
Tigard, OR 97223
Cell: 503-954-5479
Toll Free: 1-800-888-4848 x 4089
Fax 503-579-6715
e-mail: searfus_r@subway.com

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION CHANGE:  PLEASE NOTE MY EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED TO searfus_r@subway.com.  Please update your address book to reflect this change.  We are undergoing a technology transition.  During this transition, you may still receive emails from the “sfaft.org” address.  This is not an error, but please enter my new subway.com email address when sending emails.

So I wrote this…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: Gluten-Free Menu Options in Texas?
To: “Searfus, Rob” <R.Searfus@sfaft.org>

Thank you Rob,

I had actually wondered if anyone would reply.  I had an email chain going before with a Ms. Paula Gomez & Ms. Ana Seely… but they have been short replies and my main questions have gone unsanswered.

I’m in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  Thanks for your time, I hope to hear from your colleagues soon!

-Eric

But in the mean time, I made some pretty pictures.  I can’t decide which one I like the most.

Which one do you like best?

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!

-Eric

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 Top8Free.com):

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.

 

Dunkin’ Donuts on Allergy Signage… [Case# 7577485]


Did you see my allergen warning sign photos from Dunkin’ Donuts and Giant Eagle?  I wrote to both of them to thank them for displaying the signs.  Giant Eagle was the first to reply, and now I’ve heard from Dunkin’ Donuts.  I submitted the following via webform:

Hello,

I was in the Dunkin’ Donuts in Dormont this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this allergen warning sign:  http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/Signs/p_00527.jpg

As someone who has a severe allergy, I found this to be a responsible and proactive decision on the part of Dunkin’ Donuts, and I just wanted you to know that it’s an appreciated gesture.

Thankfully, my allergy isn’t to peanuts, or I’d most likely go nowhere near your fine establishments, much like I currently avoid Red Lobster and Long John Silver’s due to my shellfish allergy.

I did, as the sign suggested, go to https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/nutrition/ in order to see allergen information for some of my favorite menu items.

I also see that you have a blanket *.pdf available showing nutrition information for all of your products.  Do you have something like this for allergens in all of your products?

It’s a red flag for me that you have “Crustaceans” on the list, and even expand upon it under the data table with “Crustaceans include, crab, crayfish, lobster, and shrimp.”

Do any of these creepy little sea-bugs show up in any of your products?  My curiosity is piqued, my friends!

Thank you for your time, and for responsibly posting allergen warnings.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Not dead yet,
-Eric

Ant they wrote back…

From:customerservicereply@dunkinbrands.com” <customerservicereply@dunkinbrands.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Tue, October 12, 2010
Subject: Case# 7577485 – Dunkin’ Donuts

Hi Eric,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Dunkin’ Donuts.
To answer your questions regarding allergens, the stores should have a printed document available behind the counter that will tell you if any of the allergens required to be listed by the FDA are in our products.
If you call our Consumer Care line, they can tell you as well.
As far as the shell fish listing on our forms, that form is required by the FDA. We have to show it on the form but you won’t see it checked off for any of our products.
I hope this answered your questions.
You can reach us at 800-859-5339 M-F 8:30AM to 5:00PM EST.
At Dunkin’ Donuts we value our customers and are committed to making your visits to our stores a pleasant experience.

Thank you and have a great day.

Louise
Customer Relations Associate

Reference # 7577485

It’s interesting how people intemperate the laws… I certainly don’t see standardized allergen information on all food-related websites. I’m glad that companies like this are at least trying to be active in their warning, and hope it’s not just a “CYA” measure.

It’s also interesting to note that I received a the same  exact reply to this message at least 13 times, all with the same case/reference number.  Weird.

https://aixelsyd13.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/allergy-sign-d-donuts-p_00527.jpg