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Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentines day with food allergies

(shutterstock image)

So, Valentines Day is tomorrow, and it can be a little tricky to find something safe to eat if you have food allergies.

Chocolate is always delicious! BUT - I just saw this urgent notice on ABC news that some of the boxes of See's Candies were mislabeled. The 8 oz. boxes of Classic Red Hearts with Assorted chocolates were mislabeled. The warning said that if you have an allergy to coconuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts, avoid the chocolates!

So, I thought I would order some sugar cookies from our local bakery. 

As I was completing the order, I remembered that many bakeries add almond flavoring to their sugar cookies. I asked if this bakery added almond extract, and they had to track down the baker to ask. Yes, they do. what? I had already order three large sugar cookies for my kids that each were decorated with the same saying...."You're my favorite!" As I told the employee what message I wanted on the cookies, he said, "ummmmm okay." I told him don't worry - we have  wacky sense of humor and my kids will laugh their heads off when there are three identical cookies that each say "you're my favorite!"

But, once I found out that they used almond extract in their sugar cookies, I ordered a large chocolate chip cookie instead. I asked if they could also write the same saying on that, which they could. 

I wondered if almond extract could be just as bad as eating an almond in a cookies, so I found some information on American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website. Dr. Phil Lieberman said:
"Most almond extract doesn't come from almonds. Most commercial "pure almond extracts" are actually made from the kernels of peach or apricot pits. These kernels have the same flavor compounds as almond oil but they are less expensive to obtain and process. The compounds released from peach and apricot pits are bioidentical to those in almonds, and there is little or no information about whether extracts derived from stone fruit pits are safe for a nut-free diet. You could always use the widely available artificial nut extract, which IS considered a safe choice. Another, safe choice would substituting the almond extract with vanilla extract. Source: Cleveland Clinic. "Nut Allergy" Internet Resource. 10 February 2009"

He also shared an article from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The result of their study was:

"Conclusion: Tree nut and peanut oils may pose a threat to patients with allergy, depending on the method of manufacture and processing. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997; 99:502-6). "
 So, to be on the safe side, Son #2 (who is allergic to tree nuts) is getting a chocolate chip cookie for Valentine's Day tomorrow instead of a sugar cookie with almond extract. 

Son #1 experienced anaphylaxis once after allergy shots, and it's something I never want to see again for as long as live!

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