It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week!


It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week again, and guess what?  Food allergies and the food-allergic are still here… and we’re still allergic.  We’re still informing you about cross-contamination and safety.

A song from Kyle Dine:

Some #FAAW tweets from my #FoodAllergy tweeps:

https://twitter.com/#!/nut_freemom/status/202064341778964481

https://twitter.com/#!/chupieandjsmama/status/202036109222477827

https://twitter.com/#!/susanweissman/status/202084480452788224

https://twitter.com/#!/allergicgirl/status/202010024929800192

https://twitter.com/#!/iknowtiffany/status/202001615715176448

https://twitter.com/#!/FoodAllergyBuzz/status/201990572003704832

https://twitter.com/#!/wegohealth/status/202073874177851393

https://twitter.com/#!/AllergicVegan/status/202112986045874176

A lot of people push for government recognition or regulation.  I look for a consumer push, and recognition from the general populace.  We can all agree that we need to convey the seriousness of cross-contamination with foods… at schools, in restaurants, at home… and everywhere.

Learn more about what you can do here:  Raising Awareness, Making an Impact

Check out my Food Allergy related posts here:  Allergies

Photo of skin test about 15 minutes after the ...

Photo of skin test about 15 minutes after the application of allergens and the scratching. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope to do the Food Allergy Walk in Pittsburgh again this year.  Perhaps I can pull together a team or get even more sponsors than last year?  Your donations were incredible last year.

Also… don’t forget, Adults can have food allergies too.  We don’t “grow out” of them.  We can’t “just pick it off” or “have just a little”.  It’s a very serious thing.

So, how are you celebrating Food Allergy Awareness Week?

Still taking donations for the Food Allergy Walk


90% towards my goal of $500!

90% towards my goal of $500!

That’s right, Bethany & I are still taking donations for the Food Allergy Walk in  Pittsburgh.  It’s happening this Sunday, Sept. 18th at 11:00 am.  You can make a secure online tax-deductible donation for either of us, to help us meet our prospective goals, or you can hook us up with a check made out to FAAN.

Support me!
Support me!

Just click the blue “Support Me” button under each of our photos on our respective profiles to donate!

You can read my older posts about the walk for more info:

If you’re following the “Celebrity Endorsement” thing, Andrew Stockey did eventually contact me & agree to help get the word out on WTAE.com.  I still haven’t’ seen anything there yet.

Interestingly, Qdoba & Chick-fil-A also said they’d donate something, yet they haven’t online yet anyway.  I’m going to have to remind them.

You can also read all of my Food Allergy related posts if interested in learning more about food allergies form an outspoken crazy blogger.

More from the Food Allergy Walk Facebook Page

The Walk in Pittsburgh will feature lots activities, such as: face painting, balloon artist, trackless train, mad science and inflatables. We will have a musical performance by Kyle Dine and be joined by Pittsburgh Panthers mascot ROC.

We look forward to once again welcoming Sally Wiggin and Stephen Cropper. Following the Walk, will be Q&A session with allergists from AGH and UPMC who have volunteered their time. Rep. Matt Smith will join us to share information about the new EpiPen laws in PA.

You can get one of these limited edition T-shirts for donating $50 or more, thanks to Erin “Ernie” Payne:

King Krab Orange Ernie and the Berts T-Shirt
Special Edition King Krab Orange Ernie and the Berts T-Shirt

OK, sponsor me or Bethany for the 2011 Food Allergy Walk in Pittsburgh!


Sorry if I seem like that guy next to a dumpster outside of a funeral home trying to sell you dead flowers so I can raise “bus fair” lately.

That said, this is a cause that’s obviously near & dear to me… so I’d really like to make a big impact.  I’m already a great deal of the way closer to reaching my “goal” of $300, but I’d prefer to exceed that goal for my first Food Allergy Walk if at all possible.  I just left the default goal of $300 as I was setting up the page at FoodAllergyWalk.org, and thought it would be a good start.  I had no idea that donations would come in so quickly!  I think I can do a lot more than $300, with the help of my friends & family.

As of this posting:

  • The national goal is $3,000,000.00, and the amount raised so far is $822,567.86 with 4 of 43 walks completed overall.
  • The goal for the Pittsburgh walk is $50,000.00 and they’re currently at $29,150.45.

Keep ’em coming, and pass along the link if so inclined!  That’s:

Donate to Eric for the 2011 FAAN Walk!

Donate to Eric for the 2011 FAAN Walk!

If you’d like to donate to my lovely wife instead of me, you can do that too:

Donate to Bethany for the 2011 FAAN Walk!

Donate to Bethany for the 2011 FAAN Walk!

She has to deal with this food allergy crap as much as I do, and she has to put up with my insane ramblings about food allergies & food service in real life, then hear “Yeah, didn’t you read my blog post about that?” from me repeatedly.  She reads labels, asks questions, makes phone calls and even taste-tests for me.  Perhaps she deserves your donations more than I do!

You can follow the links to either of our names do donate right through a secure connection through the Food Allergy Walk website.  I have found out that since my last post about this, the minimum donation online is $10.  I’ll take any amount in person.  $5 or $1 is still a donation.  I’ll have an envelope for cash & checks (made payable to FAAN).

I’ll hit you with some FAAN Facts

  • As many as 15 million Americans have food allergies, including approximately 6 million children.
  • The CDC reported that food allergies result in over 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children.
  • Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.
  • There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.
  • Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.
  • Most people who’ve had an allergic reaction to something they ate thought that it was safe.

I’m all about raising awareness of the seriousness of food allergies.  It’s hard to impress the severity upon some people, especially those in the food service industry.  Money raised will go to research and education.  In fact, here’s how your donations will be used:

How FAAN Uses Your Contributions
FAAN uses contributions to fund its education, advocacy, research, and awareness efforts. Eighty-one cents of every dollar is spent on innovative research and programs that help give families struggling with food allergies a fighting chance. Since 2004, FAAN has funded more than $4.6 million in research. Education remains the single most important component of staying safe while living with food allergies. Since 2006, FAAN has funded nearly $175,000 in Community Outreach Grants to local support groups throughout the country.

Again, I thank you for your tolerance.  I’d like to develop one to shellfish, but I don’t see it happening without your help!

Oh yeah, Ernie of Ernie and the Berts is willing to give a free special-run king krab orange T-shirt to anyone who donates over $50 & wants one.  Click here for how to claim yours!

7 MILLION People Allergic to Shellfish?


So, check this out…  It’s shellfish/seafood allergy information from the Food Allergy Daily:

Shellfish Allergy Information

An estimated 2.3% of Americans – that’s nearly 7 million people – are allergic to seafood, including fish and shellfish. Shrimp, crab, and lobster cause most shellfish allergies.

Allergy to shellfish is considered lifelong; once a person develops the allergy, it is unlikely that they will lose it.

Approximately 60% of those with shellfish allergy first experienced an allergic reaction as an adult. To avoid a reaction, strict avoidance of seafood and seafood products is essential. Always read ingredient labels to identify shellfish ingredients. In addition, avoid touching shellfish, going to the fish market, and being in an area where shellfish are being cooked (the protein in the steam may present a risk).

Keep In Mind!

  • If you have seafood allergy, avoid seafood restaurants. Even if you order a non-seafood item off of the menu, it is safer to always assume that cross-contact is possible.
  • Asian restaurants often serve dishes that use fish sauce as a flavoring base. Exercise caution or avoid eating there altogether.
  • Shellfish protein can become airborne in the steam released during cooking and may be a risk. Stay away from cooking areas.
  • Many people who are allergic to shellfish are allergic to more than one kind. Talk to your doctor so that you know for sure what foods to avoid.

Frequently asked questions

Should carrageenan be avoided by a shellfish-allergic individual?

Carrageenan is not fish. Carrageenan, or “Irish moss,” is a red marine algae. This food product is used in a wide variety of foods, particularly dairy foods, as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener. It appears safe for most individuals with food allergies. Carrageenan is not related to shellfish and does not need to be avoided by those with food allergies.

Should iodine be avoided by a shellfish-allergic individual?

Allergy to iodine, allergy to radiocontrast material (used in some radiographic procedures), and allergy to fish or shellfish are not related. If you have an allergy to shellfish, you do not need to worry about cross reactions with radiocontrast material or iodine

Yeah, there’s a lot there, but I can’t get past “An estimated 2.3% of Americans – that’s nearly 7 million people – are allergic to seafood, including fish and shellfish”.

DEAD from LOBSTER

DEAD from LOBSTER (AllergyMonkey.com)

<rant> Where the hell are you people?  Not to sound like a whiner… but all the Food Allergy “press” seems to go to peanuts, dairy, & wheat… and “Gluten Free” menu/options crap seems almost like the new Atkins.  All of a sudden, Celiac is Chic.  We have peanut-free baseball games and airplane flights, where are my shellfish-free beaches and cruises, or where’s my “no contact with shellfish” menu, or separate no-shellfish fryer?  Why is Lent my own personal hell every year when a favorite restaurant adds shrimp or crab-legs or a lobster sub to their menu?  It’s even more of a pain when it becomes permanent.  (I’m taking to you; Texas Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, & Quiznos.)

Celiac disease isn’t even an allergy in the traditional sense, but it’s gobbling up all the press.  It’s an autoimmune disorder, and from my understanding… makes you poop a lot if you eat wheat.  Terrible, yes.  But, I don’t get diarrhea when I eat shellfish.  I get anaphylaxis.  Diarrhea may come along with the choking & swelling though.

I wish Shellfish Free had another user or 2 out of the apparent SEVEN MILLION of us out here.

That being said, awareness needs to be raised for ALL food allergies, whether in the top 8 or not.  So, Celiac people… throw us a gluten-free bone here, will you?  When a restaurant offers a gluten-free menu, how about a “That’s cool… but you know, there are so many allergies out there like peanut, milk, egg, shellfish, corn, peppers, and all kinds of crazy stuff.  Maybe you ought to look at your cross-contamination practices in all areas & cooking surfaces with all ingredients.”  (See this:  http://www.foodallergy.org/page/restaurants-guests-with-food-allergies</rant>

"No shellfish for me!"

"No shellfish for me!"

At any rate, where are my shellfish-allergic peeps?  This is your time & place to bitch about finding a good death-free and anxiety-free meal.  Stand up and be counted!  This is a roll call & we need a list 7-million freaking people long.  Please, leave your comments below with your story, your frustrations, or even with a positive experience related to your shellfish allergy… as well as links to any support groups or allergy resources that you hold dear.