A quick guide I created for friends & family to point them to some safe food allergy brands & grocery store basics. This is organized by types of food, as well as by stores you can often find each in. I update this from time-to-time as I learn about brands changing, so always be sure to read the disclaimer at the top & know this is a starting resource not always guaranteed to be current as ingredients and allergens in facilities can change by brands daily without notice. Be sure to always check, and double check, the ingredients and food labels.
I’d love to get this resource more extensive and updated, but for now, this is what I use to remind myself of hidden places peanut ingredients may be in non-food products such as dish soap, hand lotions, sunscreen, makeup, and more.
This is a sign I used at my workplace, and it can serve as an example of food allergy signage. Feel free to print it or make one similar that is customized for your own needs. These were hung up outside of the entrances and exits of the building, as well as in the breakroom, hallways, and bathrooms. I worked with my internal HR department to get this enforced by them.
The #1 food allergy resource I utilize is the Trader Joe’s phone number to inquire about their products via sku # or barcode #. I’m lucky to have a TJs in my city. Occasionally the phone line undergoes maintenance, but overall, it’s been the most helpful resource to understand the food allergy risk-level of food products. Often if I’m having trouble finding a specific peanut-free facility product, I’ll try looking at Trader Joe’s first and call on items.
I’d love Trader Joe’s to print the information for me directly on the packaging on what allergens are in the facility, and what allergens are on shared equipment. However they don’t always do that, so for now, they have a phone line you can call and talk with a customer service agent about each item before purchasing. It’s open weekdays only, from 9am-9pm EST. In case the link above doesn’t work, the phone number is (626) 599-3817. Here is their Contact Page. In the past if I have to go on the weekend or after hours, or if the phone line doesn’t pick-up immediately, I’ll purchase products and then call on them once home and return anything that has my allergens in the same facility.
The Spokin App is a global food allergy tool that connects you with a social network of other food allergy individuals who can mark places such as bakeries, restaurants, and ice cream shops as safe for certain food allergies. You are able to leave reviews as well of establishments, and mark individual brands and products as safe or not-safe for food allergens. Spokin markets themselves as, “A food allergy app and lifestyle platform on a mission to make managing food allergies and celiac easier.”
The non-profit Food Equality Initiative, also know as FEI, fights for health equity and nutrition access for all. This means, they’re fighting for equal access to affordable nutrition, education, and advocacy access. Individual families can apply for services, and once qualified, gain access to subsidized free-from foods.
Check out their Seven Percent Fund, created to raise awareness than black individuals are 7% more likely to have food allergies than white individuals. Additionally, FEI raises awareness that, “of the 60,000 food pantries nationwide, only four are fully stocked with items reserved for people in need of allergy- and celiac-safe food.” You can read about the founding of FEI in this EatingWell article.
Nut Free Wok was the first food allergy blog I found that was really helpful to my own allergy needs here in the US. I’ve linked their “Bakeries & Restaurants” list above, even if it’s not always the most current, it’s great when traveling in the US to use and get an idea of leads for allergen-safe businesses. It’s one of the top online food allergy resources I rely on.
This is not an exhaustive or necessarily current resource, but it helps to understand brands to look out for, avoid, and the types of products to triple check on when it comes to medication containing food allergens. This really opened my eyes to the scary reality of many food allergens being present in medicines.
I can’t say enough positive comments about this inclusive mental health app & podcast. They offer a small amount of free meditations, as well as subscriptions. If you can’t pay for it, refer to this coronavirus FAQ article of theirs to learn more. I believe they also offer a free trial.
My second favorite mental health app is Calm, I specifically love to use it to help fall asleep. Calm also offers a free trial & has an excellent blog with science-based mindfulness and meditation articles such as, “6 Health Benefits Of Meditation“.
This specific peanut/tree nut (pn/tn) Facebook (FB) group can be really helpful to pose a question to a large audience with a food allergy question. I’ve also learned about safe food products, travel and vacation suggestions, airline experiences, and more from this group.
8 Food Allergy Resources To Share with Friends, Family, Schools, Employers & Others
Created by Anaphylaxis.Ca raising awareness about trace amounts of an allergen being deadly, and able to be spread by a kiss. I believe they re-branded and became Food Allergy Canada, which is an incredible treasure trove of valuable food allergy resources for all ages. Specifically they have a lot of unique food allergy content for teens with food allergies, and professionals in healthcare, food service, and education looking for information about accommodating food allergies.
As this commercial points out, every 6 minutes life-threatening allergies sends someone to the hospital. I really appreciated this commercial because so often the media, such as television and movies, portray food allergy reactions wrong, don’t take them seriously, and often even make them a laughing matter. This is a realistic representation of a food allergy reaction.
Out of these options, which do you think peanuts might be in? Axel grease, cat litter, or bean bag chair stuffing? The truth is, all of these could contain peanuts, and this VeryWellHealth article, “23 Non-Food Places You May Find Hidden Peanuts” explains each in full to help you fine-tune your mindset around where food allergens could be hiding.