Monday, January 16, 2012

Yay Peanut Butter Cheerios (NOT)!

It's probably not news to many of you by now that Cheerios has a new Peanut Butter flavor. There are many out there that are angry, worried, and downright frightened. I don't blame anyone for feeling this way. Cheerios have become a staple in the US for first finger foods for our youngsters. Go to a toddler/preschooler play date and there will be at least one child with a cup or bag of Cheerios. A food that many find safe for the peanut and tree nut allergy stricken. Now it's just one more food for parents to look out for.

Rationally I can't be mad that they made this product. They make Honey Nut Cheerios and Banana Nut Cheerios. No one seems to be upset about those which contain almond. So why the outrage? I think the most upsetting part is that General Mills will not disclose how they are guaranteeing the safety of their other Cheerios products. There is no explanation how the Peanut Butter Cheerios and other products are not cross contaminated. I've always found General Mills at the top of my list of companies when it comes to responsible food labeling. But their refusal to disclose their manufacturing processes is disturbing. You would think they would be happy to let us know how and why their product is safe. Their are millions of children in this county that are estimated to have a peanut allergy. Why not tell the parents why they are safe and end this.

What I and so many others also find worrisome, is the packaging and look of the "O's" themselves. I mentioned to my hubby about the new flavor, and to be careful if he were to buy Cheerios for our son. Now we usually get the store brand because between my 3 year old and husband, we go through so much cereal we need to buy bulk and cheap. If there is a good sale, then sometimes we get the real deal. Well he stopped by the supermarket (the good dad that he is), and checked it out. He was a bit upset that the packaging was so similar to the Multigrain flavor as rumored. The Multigrain box is very different from the regular Cheerios. Why not make the Peanut Butter ones stand apart from the others as well? Even the Honey Nut box is distinct!

So, mad about the new Peanut Butter Cheerios, I am not. I am frustrated, aggravated, and concerned for the new challenge this presents for our family when it comes to food outside the home, especially school. They are free to make what they want. It's just another food we need to talk to his teacher about. We won't be buying any Cheerios Products anytime soon. Not just for the cross contamination factor, but also for their (General Mills), lack of disclosure. Let our wallets do the talking if they won't put on their listening ears (as I tell my 3 year old), and hear our concerns, make sure to let them know how you feel. They may be safe, or they may not be, but until they tell why they are, I say pass the Raisin Bran please!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How many have to die?

Saddened and angered by yet another avoidable food allergic death of Amaria Johnson, a 7 year old girl at school, I've been thinking how am I going to keep my child safe at school. As soon as I start to get more comfortable with the idea, another child suffers and a family is devastated because our schools aren't keeping our children safe. Do I have a solution? Not for every child, but it's time for schools and all parents to start taking food allergies seriously.

I don't understand why epi pes aren't available in all schools. They have defibrillators in some schools for emergencies why not epi pens? The chances of an allergic reaction happening are rising. For a $100.00 a year so many lives could be saved. Most people don't know they have a food allergy until they have a reaction. To me it's common sense that the school has them.

So right now there are two links I want to share:

1. FANN also has a sample letter to send to your senators to encourage them to pass the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. This is federal legislation encouraging states to adopt laws requiring schools to have epi pens to use for any student.

2. A petition from asking that epi pens be available in all schools. It takes two seconds to sign.

Do your part. Send that letter and sign the petition. Fight for your children's right to be safe.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goodbye 2011 & Hello 2012!

Trying to find 10 minutes or more to sit down and write theses days is next to impossible. I don't know how the other mom bloggers do it. My hats off to you ladies! I myself am not that organized. I have piles of laundry waiting to be put away, a sink full of dishes, bottles and pump parts. My dining room is stacked with picture frames waiting to find a photo and a home. I'm not even going to describe what our "play" room looks like. At least my desk at work is nice and neat.

With that said, I look at the mess and think we had one heck of a year. Most important is that Cormac became a big brother. We are lucky he is such a good baby, and Mac is a great brother. Now add my hubby's new horrible schedule, to the new baby, Mac starting preschool, going back to work, and me trying to start a photography business, and needless to say, life has gotten challenging. There are days I say to myself, somethings got to give. Maybe his food allergies will disappear. That would make things easier. But that's not realistic. A girl can dream.

We went for our yearly allergist visit to see if we would get our Christmas miracle. Turns out his peanut numbers went up. A lot! It makes no sense to me after the huge drop last year. But what can you do? I can't say that it didn't upset me when we got the call. I was really hoping we were getting closer the possibility of him growing out of it. I guess I will always hope that it will change.

The good news is we may be able to rule out all tree nuts soon. We got the go ahead for hazelnuts. He's even had nutella, and is doing fine with it. The Dr said she wants to do a food challenge for cashews. If he passes, we can say he's not allergic to tree nuts! It's the last one showing up in the tests.

At the moment I'm excited about the idea of the food challenge, and the hope that we can take away the tree nut fear. But there is a waiting list for the challenge, so by the time it happens I'll be a mess. For now though, I'll think of it as a good thing.

We are also debating on whether or not to test the baby. Our allergist recommends having him tested for peanuts around 9 months to a year. We probably will, but I have concerns regarding false positives. We will look more into it and then decide. If anyone else tested because of an older sibling can you please share your experience with me?

Our holidays from Halloween to New Years were uneventful in a good way. Thanks to a snow storm the week of Halloween, trick or treating wasn't an issue this year. Family made all the holiday meals safe. I couldn't be happier. There are tons of other things that happened in 2011, but to write it all out would take all of 2012. One one my resolutions is to be better about blogging. Now if the kids would only cooperate.

I hope 2012 is a wonder reaction free year for you all!