The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook

200 Gourmet and Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

allergy cookbook

Monday, May 22, 2006

Okay, more on labeling craziness. I'm doing my best to help out those who fear the risk of cross-contamination, but this is a can of worms, people!!!

Again, let me stress, my book is FREE OF ALL TOP EIGHT FOOD ALLERGENS!!! It is each individual's responsibility to call manufacturers if you are concerned. I'll try to help you when I can, and if you contact me for help I'll certainly assist, but I can't call every product manufacturer on the market.

Re: the change in food allergy labeling, as of January 2006, according to the Kids With Food Allergies Website:

"The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act that went into effect in 2006 does not require manufacturers to list common allergenic ingredients resulting from shared equipment and cross contamination issues. Therefore, it still remains the responsibility of consumers to read labels carefully and call manufacturers to be sure that each food is safe for their unique allergy issues."

I am trying to help people who have concerns, but ultimately, as always, it's up to you what you choose to feed yourself and your family.

Today I discovered that Ener-G Egg Replacer has changed their label... AGAIN. First, I received an email from a concerned parent of a child with egg and nut allergies, who said the product was processed in a facility with nuts. I looked at the box, and lo and behold, the label had a disclaimer. But today at the grocery store, I looked at the box again, and there's NO MENTION OF NUTS OR PEANUTS!!!!! So I called Ener-G. They've changed the label, so now it doesn't mention tree-nuts or peanuts, because they are so sure that there's no risk of cross-contamination. Same processing, new label. Go figure. If you're really concerned about cross-contamination with this product, I would suggest you buy the ORGRAN "NO EGG". As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is processed in a peanut-free, tree nut-free facility.

I got an anonymous tip on comments today that suggested California Rice Bran Oil as a brand of cooking oil, safe from nut and peanut cross-contamination. I called them. They produce their rice oil in a nut-free, peanut-free facility. The processing facility only has rice oils. However, they bottle in a facility with other oils. They have very strict hygeine practices and flush the lines out with the incoming oils. Thus the lines are purged by the incoming oil, and they feel there is no risk of cross-contamination. I believe them, and trust their product. If you would like to contact them with further questions, call toll free (866) RICEOIL (742-3645)or email They were very nice and helpful.

And to those who have concerns over Spectrum products, I found the following on the Spectrum Website at FAQ's page:

Are there any nuts in Spectrum Oils? Do any Spectrum products come into contact with nuts?

Spectrum bottles several different nut oils, such as our Peanut, Walnut, Almond, Toasted Hazelnut and Toasted Walnut Oils. These oils come to us already pressed, ready to be bottled–meaning that the actual nut or fiber from the nut is not present in our manufacturing plant.

However, the nut oils, as well as other oils we bottle in our manufacturing plant, do share an immediate finishing filling line and filler with our flaxseed oil. To prevent any cross contamination, Spectrum thoroughly flushes the filling lines and filler between the bottling of our different types of oils. In addition, we also flush many pounds of the new oil to be bottled through the lines and filler before actually bottling the new oil.

Spectrum has never had an allergy problem arise from the use of its oils. However, some of our oils do share equipment with that which has been used to process nut oils.

I'm testing some gluten-free flours today, so check back in the next couple of days, and I should have a substitute for those seeking gluten-free baked goods.

Have a great day!



  • At 3:33 PM, Anonymous ellen said…

    Hi-Thanks for suggesting California Rice Oil-we get many orders from people with many different food allergies-rice bran oil is GMO free and hypoallergenic. We also get positive feedback from prople who suffer from IBS,celiac, heartburn, incontinence & high cholesterol. It has been shown that the gamma-oryzanol(which is found in rice oil) helps in many ways.

  • At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cybele, thank you for your cookbook, this blog and your continued advocacy for people with food allergies!

    We found out a few months ago that our baby has all of the major food allergies (after her toddler sister "shared" a single honey-nut cheerio).

    Finding your cookbook was what saved me from complete despair about ever being able to cook again for my foodie husband and me, my picky toddler and this littlest one. I am starting to learn about how to live WELL with this challenge. This blog is terrific too and I especially appreciate the extra work and effort you put into it.

    It's a great reminder for everyone that the internet makes products much more available now. We also live in Southern California (Irvine, Orange County) so we enjoy having Trader Joe's, Mother's Market and Whole Foods close by. But even they cannot be comprehensive in their offerings. Thank goodness for the small world that this has become!

    Welcome to LA and here's looking forward to more info, Mexican-inspired recipes, etc.


  • At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cybele: We appreciate your efforts and hard work at keeping us up-to-date on your book. Perhaps your next book could be titled, "Don't cry over spilled milk, even if it is organic."
    Keep caring and be well :)

  • At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Me again. Thought I would reinforce your reminder that we are ultimately responsible for verifying the safety of the food we offer to our loved ones. Not only are some allergens not listed, but manufacturing and ingredients can change!

    In searching for an alternative to cheerios for my baby, I discovered that: Arrowhead Mills facility processes peanuts and treenuts. Barbara's Bakery cereals are processed in a dairy, soy, treenut facility. Erewhon facility processes treenuts. Other than Barbara's Bakery, none of these potential cross-contaminants was (yet) listed on the products' labels. I only found out after I called the very accomodating manufacturers.

    And recommendations are not infallible. I've had friends whose children have food intolerances suggest products that would cause anaphylaxis in my baby. So recommendations from anyone, no matter the source (friends, family, cookbooks) should always be checked out.

    Here's to cooking (mostly) from scratch!


  • At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it's great when I come across something on Rice Oil because since I discoverd it three years ago it has replaced my veg oil. I use rice oil in my baking: homemade banana bread and store bought brownie mix. I also use it to make salad dressings when I want something light and neutral (unlike olive oil). Anyone have a homemade brownie recipe they want to share?

  • At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Jane said…

    I'm copying this question from the preceding post in case it got lost in the shuffle.

    I have a quick question - in such recipes as The Lady from Naples sauce or Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs, should the oregano be dried or fresh, or can it be either one?


  • At 9:39 AM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    Thanks everyone for the feedback!!

    Dear Jane:

    Dried Oregano!!! Yes, your question got lost. So sorry! I will go back and make sure I'm not missing any others. I don't really check old entries.

    all the best,


  • At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Jane said…

    Thanks for the reply - I'm trying out those recipes tomorrow.

  • At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi - quick question. I want to make the breaded chicken cutlets, but cannot find any cornflakes. All the boxes I look at state that the corn flakes may contain traces of soy. What cereal did you use for this recipe? Thanks.

  • At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just wanted to say I think it's really awesome you're testing recipes and sending them out for people with food allergies. I don't have any but I have friends that can barely eat anything because of their allergeis. Your good looks amazing. I'll have to check it out because I bet it would be great in promoting a healthier lifestyle.

  • At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, I went to my local healthfood store to purchase flaxseed, after reading about its omega 3 properties. I called the company (Arrowhead Mills)to ask about cross contamination (daughter is ana to eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts and hasn't been introduced to sesame, fish, or seafood yet) and the lady told me that they process all of the top 8 allergens plus sesame in the same factory! So, my question is: any safe companies that make allergy-safe flaxseed that I can cook with?

  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger Cybele Pascal said…

    dear anonymous:

    unfortunately, i have not been able to find a "clean" source of flax seeds either, and thus have stopped baking with flax-eggs. Can your daughter eat canola oil? This is a good source of omega 3s as well. Not as good as flax, but good nonetheless. Again, call the manufacturer, if you have concerns about processing.

    kind regards,



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