Food Allergy Resources

4 Free Invisibly Allergic Food Allergy Resources

  • 1. Free PDF: Food Products Guide for Friends and Family
    • A quick guide I created for friends & family to teach grocery store basics & point others to some (likely) safe food allergy brands. This food allergy guide is organized by types of food, and additionally, by the store you can often find each brand 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. This is a starting resource not always guaranteed to be current, as ingredients and allergens in facilities can change by brands daily without notice to the public. Be sure to always check, and double-check, the ingredients and individual food labels.
  • 2. Free PDF: Non-Food Peanut Containing Products
    • I’d love to get this resource more extensive and updated, but for now, this is what I use to remind myself and teach others around me of hidden places peanut ingredients may be in non-food products such as dish soap, hand lotions, sunscreen, makeup, and more.
  • 3. Food Allergy Cross-Contact 101 [Free Audio/PDF]
    • My PowerPoint presentation and audio recording are from a workplace presentation I gave raising food allergy awareness & cross-contact awareness. It covers:
      • What Is A Food Allergy?
      • What Are The Most Common Food Allergies?
      • What Is Cross-Contact?
      • How To Prevent Cross-Contact
      • Cleaning Tips To Remove Allergens
      • Surprising Places You May Find Allergens
      • Lack Of Food Labeling Laws In The US
      • Tips To Keep Food-Allergic Individuals Safe, And More!
    • Feel free to share both the PowerPoint PDF and the food allergy presentation audio recording.
  • 4. Free Printable “Peanut Free Zone” Sign
    • 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.

7 Food Allergy Resources I Use Regularly

  1. Trader Joe’s Product Phone Line
    • 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 the consumer directly on the packaging, stating clearly what allergens are in the facility, and what allergens are on shared equipment. However they don’t 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 or ingesting. 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. If due to scheduling I have to go to Trader Joe’s on the weekend, or if the phone line doesn’t pick-up immediately, I’ll occasionally purchase products and then call on them once home and return anything that has my allergens in the same facility. It depends on how badly I need a product.
    • If you aren’t aware of the lack of required food labeling laws in the United States, here’s an article explaining misleading food labels and labeling requirements, and a separate food allergy resource on food allergy recalls.
  2. Spokin
    • The free 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. Within the app, you and other users are able to leave reviews and mark individual brands and products as safe or not-safe for food allergens. Spokin markets itself as, “A food allergy app and lifestyle platform on a mission to make managing food allergies and celiac easier.
  3. Food Equality Initiative (FEI)
    • The non-profit Food Equality Initiative, also known 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 that 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. I’ve learned so many important food allergy facts from FEI!

“…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.”

Food Equality Initiative (FEI)

4. Nut-Free Bakeries & Restaurants List

  • The food allergy blog, Nut Free Wok, was the first 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.
  • As of 10/5/2022 the link may not be working, I sure hope it wasn’t removed, I’m going to reach out to them about it.

5. – Over-the-Counter Medications that contain PN or TN

  • 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 and now I ask many more questions to doctors and pharmacists about this before taking a new medication.

6. Shine App for Anxiety and Meditation

  • I can’t say enough positive things about this inclusive mental health app & podcast. They offer a small number 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 me 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“.

7. ‘Peanut/Tree Nut Safe Food Finds’ Facebook Group

  • This food allergy support group is specific to peanut/tree nut (pn/tn). Facebook (FB) food allergy groups can be really helpful to pose a food allergy question to a large audience. Through food allergy support groups like this one, I’ve learned about safe food products, travel and vacation suggestions, airline experiences, and more! Not to mention it’s reassuring seeing others living the same way as me in regard to my life-threatening food allergy.

8 Food Allergy Resources To Share with Friends, Family, Schools, Employers & Others

  1. “Peanut Free Zone” Free Printable Sign
    • An example of food allergy signage I’ve used in my workplace. Print it or make one similar that is customized for your own needs.
  2. End Allergies Together – “Could you EAT?”
    • A helpful video for non-food allergic individuals to understand what life is like eating with a life-threatening food allergy. This video was created by EAT (End Allergies Together).
  3. Canada Peanut Butter Kiss Commercial
    • 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.
  4. Face Your Risk | Commercial Life-Threatening Allergic Reaction
    • As this commercial points out, every 6 minutes life-threatening allergies send someone to the hospital. This commercial isn’t new, so I can only assume this statistic is even more frequent now. 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 will even make them a laughing matter. This is a realistic representation of a life-threatening food allergy reaction. Share this on social media, or with friends and family, to help spread accurate food allergy awareness and anaphylaxis awareness.
  5. 23 Non-Food Items Possibly Containing Peanuts
    • Example: 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” does a great job spreading food allergy awareness, and explains each in full to help you fine-tune your mindset around where food allergens could be hiding.
  6. “Hidden” & Alternative Names for Allergens
    • This is a helpful food allergy resource I’ve referenced time and time again because I don’t have the alternative and Latin names of allergens memorized, and don’t want to risk misremembering.
  7. Nut-Free Symbol? Not Necessarily True
    • This is one of the first articles I found validating my experience of confusing & misleading food labeling practices. I really like SnackSafely’s resources & their food allergy awareness content!
  8. Trader Joe’s Product Phone Line (TJ Product Phone # 626-599-3817, M-F 9am-9pm EST)
    • Again, if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, this is great to give to friends and family and explain what you ask the product line before buying a product there. For example, I don’t eat anything made in the same facility as peanuts from Trader Joe’s, because I avoid cross-contact with peanuts.

Food Allergy Awareness Month & Other Food Allergy Dates To Know In The U.S.

  • Food Allergy Awareness Month & Week
    • May is Food Allergy Awareness Month
    • May 8-14, 2022 was Food Allergy Awareness Week in the U.S., check with Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) each year to find the exact dates of Food Allergy Awareness Week
  • Peanut Allergy Awareness Month
    • This is the same as Food Allergy Awareness Month– Peanut Allergy Awareness Month is in May each year
  • FAQ: Is there an Allergy Awareness Month?
    • Yes, May is also National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

“…there’s no requirement in the United States that requires if a non-food product contains an allergen or allergen derivative that it has to be fully disclosed to the consumer. Unless the item is meant for human consumption, the ingredients list can be much more relaxed and there’s no requirement for them to release the full ingredients list to the public.”

Zoe Slaughter | Invisibly Allergic Blog Founder

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