The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

200 Gourmet and Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

allergy cookbook

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dear Blog Readers:

It has come to my attention this weekend that a couple of the products I recommend in my book are now being labled differently, and are produced in the same facility with tree nuts and/or peanuts which poses the potential risk of cross-contamination for people with severe peanut or tree-nut allergies. Since I wrote my cookbookbook, the legislation for labeling has changed. As of January 2006, in fact. My publisher and I truly didn't know at the time I wrote the book and are only finding out ourselves now.

One of these products is Ener-G Egg Replacer. I didn't realize it was produced on the same line as tree nuts. This is a problem with the Spectrum Oils as well, which now list that they are produced in the same facility with nut oils. And apparently some types of Mochi are produced in facilities with nuts, though I don't think this is true across the board.

While the vast majority of the products I recommend in my book are still totally safe, I would like to suggest that in light of this change in labeling that people continue to read labels carefully. While none of the recipes in the book use any of the top 8 food allergens, it is always possible that this change in labeling will reveal a product to be produced in the same facility as an allergen.

I am tracking down safe substitutes for the products I have been alerted to for those who are concerned about peanut and tree-nut cross-contamination. Though I know that companies like Spectrum practice strict hygiene in cleaning between batches (which is why we chose to recommend them, in fact, due to lower incidence of any kind of cross-contamination), and cross-contamination is extremely unlikely, I understand why many are hyper-vigilant about avoiding any possible exposure.

Today I emailed Orgran about their Egg Replacer "No Egg". This is an Australian product and is available at many health food stores in the US. You can subsitute it for Ener-G Egg Replacer in equal quantity. At the bottom of this post is their response that this is a safe substitute, and not processed in a facility with peanuts or tree nuts.

Though the Spectrum Oils are processed in a facility with nuts, I have been told by Spectrum that their Organic Shortening is NOT. I am verifying this once again, and will post about it asap. But I believe it is totally safe!!!

Re: Spectrum Oils, I emailed the Allergy Grocer to find an alternate brand of Safflower Oil or Canola Oil that was processed in a nut-free peanut-free facility, and she didn't know of any. For those concerned about using these oils, please feel free to use a mild flavored olive oil instead. And if anyone knows about a safflower oil, or canola oil, or sunflower oil that is processed in a nut-free peanut-free facility, please let me know.

I would also like to reassure readers, in response to a comment on Amazon that my book should have been reviewed for medical accuracy, that my book was reviewed by many reliable medical sources. It was reviewed by Lynda Schneider, M.D., directer of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Children's Hospital in Boston, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, as well as her staff of nutritionists at Children's Hospital, and by the Review Staff (which includes physicians) at FAAN, by Christine Fusillo, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Allergy at Westchester Medical Center, and by Eric Chivian, M.D., director of the Center for Health and the Globel Environment at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, I have never claimed that my book is a medical guide. It is a cookbook, that I wrote to help other people in their struggles to cook allergen-free meals.

If anyone wants to write a review on Amazon, please do so. It would be great to hear your feedback, and for others to hear it also. I've received a couple of "alarmist" reviews, due to these three products (the Ener-G Egg Replacer, Spectrum Oils, and Mochi) but it would be such a shame for them to discount the hundreds of other ingredients, and most of all, the recipes.

Thank you all for reading this, and please tell others who you think would like to know.

Be well,

Cybele




Dear Cybele,

Thank you for your enquiry and interest in ORGRAN products. We would like to inform that ORGRAN products are what free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, non-GMO, suitable for vegan and natural.

Orgran No Egg processing is in nut free environment, where we do not stock peanut or tree nuts.

I hope this information is helpful. Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,


C. Alice Rujiravongs
Quality Assurance Officer
Roma Foods
Email: info@orgran.com
Website: www.orgran.com

Ph: 03 9776 9044
Fax: 03 9776 9055

Int Ph: + 61 3 9776 9044
Int Fax: + 61 3 9776 9055

47-53 Aster Avenue
Carrum Downs
Victoria 3201
AUSTRALIA

Our company is dedicated to providing a high level of product quality and customer service. If you feel there is a way in which we can improve any aspect of our products and/or services, we kindly ask that you provide us with any feedback, comments and/or suggestions. Thank-you for your time.

17 Comments:

  • At 1:55 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    My best friend is an author and received two really mean-spirited reviews from two readers (and many really wonderful reviews as well) on Amazon. It hurt her feelings a lot because she had poured so much into her book. She IS human afterall...

    Hang in there. I have your book on order from Barnes and Noble (B. Dalton sold out their two copies last weekend, they said) and I look forward to trying out some recipes on my kids. I will write an Amazon review and I will share my book and your warnings with a friend whose son has peanut and dairy allergies (she has shared her Food Allergy Network materials with me!). I Know she has used EnerG with no ill effects. That's Got to be the toughest allergy to deal with in the world!

    Nancy

     
  • At 12:46 PM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    Hi Nancy:

    Thanks for your comments. I know a lot of people are comfortable using products that are processed in facilities with nuts/peanuts, while others are not. It's a very personal matter. Due to changes in labling legislation, I think people are going to be discovering more and more products are processed in facilities with nuts (And I'm not talking about products in my book). So for those trying to avoid any cross-contamination across the board, yes, it's a big problem. For example, it seems that every vegetable oil out there other than olive oil is processed in a facility with nuts. Which means avoiding all products cooked in or with oil. That's a lot or foods.


    Anyway, thanks for the support. Email me if you have questions about any of the recipes.

    all the best,

    Cybele

     
  • At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sorry to hear about this problem. It must be very frustrating for you.

    A while ago I ordered a knitting book, which included an insert to correct one set of instructions. Maybe your publisher could do something similar with unsold copies.

     
  • At 7:22 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Dear Cybele,

    Thank you for responding and I have a question...

    I just talked to my Dad (who used to be a farmer and who could be on Jeopardy for all the little bits of knowledge he has picked up). He told me that farmers often cross-pollinate their vegetables (especially corn) with peanuts. I guess peanuts are a really hearty crop--disease and/or insect resistant? Have you ever heard of this? Pardon me if you've addressed this already as I've not yet received your book nor have I had a chance to read all of the comment sections here...I hesitate to share this with my friend because it does seem to be such an alarmist claim...

    Thanks, Nancy

     
  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    Dear Anonymous:

    Thanks for the tip about the inserts. I think we're going to try writing some sort of statement on amazon, giving people a few options for "safe" egg replacer and oils. And I will suggest inserts to my publisher. Thanks!

    Dear Nancy:

    I have never heard this about the cross-pollination. Wow. Can you ask your father if this means the corn has peanut proteins? And what other vegetables get hybridized with peanuts. I'm very interested in this. I really try to stay from all foods that are GMO products. I wonder if soy is cross-pollinated with peanuts. Something like 90% of our soy crops are GMO, so that might explain the high incidence of soy allergies.

    all the best,

    Cybele

     
  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Hi, Cybele,

    Since my Father has turned into somewhat of a conspiracy theorist as he has aged, I think I might have a discussion with my neighbor, Dr. Norman Deno, first. He is quite a character, a retired chemist, and is an authority on seed germination. Maybe his knowledge extends to genetic engineering of plants as well...I'll find out. If he can't help me, I'll ask my Father to cite some sources and email them to you.

     
  • At 9:15 AM, Blogger Charlene said…

    Dear Cybele:

    It is unfortunate when great reviews are accompanied by one or two mean-spirited reviews. Your book is helpful to those of us who need assistance in fighting the "food allergy" fight.

    There are author's whose books have gone to press only to find that regulations or information have changed. Your publisher might ask the printer to "tip in" any errata you may wish to include in uncirculated books and also adhere teaser information in bright colors onto the front of the book.

     
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