Want to help work on labelling to make it safer?

22 replies [Last post]
By Chris PeanutAllergy Com on Thu, 03-11-99, 23:49

Get involved in your allergy and safety!

If you are interested in working on labeling please post here and/or contact me so you can get in touch with others who are working on this. As you may or may not know, labeling for "may contain peanuts" is not necessarily done the same by every manufacturer. In the U.S. the manufacturers who do label with "may contain peanuts" do so voluntarily and by their own standards. While I commend the ones who are working to label because of this allergy. I would like to see a uniformed labeling standard, without this, one would never know if you could trust a label or not and would still have to go through the "contacting the manufacturers" process. Do you think it should be a "made on the same line as" or "made in the same facility as " or "cross contamination addressed" type standard?

Stay Safe,

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[email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

[This message has been edited by Chris PeanutAllergy Com (edited April 21, 1999).]

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By Noreen on Sun, 03-14-99, 02:00

Sure, I'll volunteer to be on the committee. I always find it useful to ask the person I'm arguing with about better labeling whether or not they have children. If they say yes, then I ask them wouldn't they want accurate labeling on products if it meant the life or death of their child. That usually results in my call being transferred to a higher-up. :-)

Noreen

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By LauraP on Sun, 03-14-99, 11:43

Chris - count me in. This is the single most frustrating aspect of this allergy. I've talked to Anne-Marie at FAN about this. They can't really do anything in terms of lobbying because they are a Non-profit organization. It's up to us collectively to get something done.

I think the Catch-all label of "May Contain Peanuts" could cover things produced in the same factory, or a possibility of cross contamination. I think it would be best to seek one term to be placed on labels rather than a variety of different ones (pursue one goal).

The biggest problem we face is the "Natural Flavor" label. Read the post on it - it's very accurate and thorough. You wouldn't BELIEVE some of the things that companies include in their natural flavor! If natural flavor in a product includes peanut, regardless of how small an amount, the label should be required to specify Peanut, and likewise for the other top seven allergens.

I think what we need to do is find a high-profile politician who would be willing to work with us on this. Keep me posted - when a group is compiled, let's get started.

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By EPIERCE on Sun, 03-14-99, 16:56

I think that the labelling issue should be attacked via two different avenues. The first being a letter/calling/email campaign to all food manufacturers regarding labeling & safe manufacturing process to eliminate cross contamination.
The second would be through the politcal arena. A letter/calling/email campaign on the federal level to push for a labelling law & definition.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to organize these issues & what the best way to attack them would be?

We definitely need to gain intimate knowledge of manufacturing procedures & proper HAACP plans to eliminate contamination & learn the language of labelling & food law. Any ideas.
I'm anxious to get the ball rolling.

I think the focus of all peanut allergy activism should be focused on being better able to keep our children safe through easy labelling & communication with manufacturers NOT a militant stance to eliminate all peanuts from the universe. Although I wouldn't mind if peanuts vanished - people get kind of defensive if you insist on taking away something that doesn't hurt them or anyone they know.

Erica [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By brenda on Sun, 03-14-99, 17:04

I would have to disagree on having on blanket statement that covers everything made in the same plant. That would exclude ALOT of foods and there isn't any real data that proves being made in the same plant is enough to cause a reaction.

I would rather see different labels that indicate either "made on the same line as" and "made in the same facility as " and leave it up to the individual which products they feel safest consuming.

The goal should be for food manufacturers to have consistent and understandable standard labeling. They need to avoid just slapping on the main contain pn label on everything just for liability reasons.

And yes there has to be identification of allergens in the "Natural Flavorings"!!!

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By Patti on Sun, 03-14-99, 18:43

Chris - count me in to help in whatever capacity you need. I am a stay at home mom and can help in letter writing, e-mailing etc. I would like to see uniform labelling among all companies. I am not sure how I feel about products made in the same facility. I don't want the company to decide that they believe their products are safe nor do I want a company to put a may contain label just to cover their liabilities either. I do want to err on the side of caution. My goal is to feel completely confident that when I purchase a product that I don't have to worry about peanuts in the ingredients (natural flavorings, vetable protein etc.) or have any cross contamination concerns. I don't want to have to read barcodes for the rest of my life, or start looking at every brand a company makes to determine if there is cross contamination concerns. I think the quality of life for us dealing with this allergy would be greatly increased if we could walk in a grocery store and by products WITH CONFIDENCE. Do we get the FDA involved with madatory testing for cross contamination? This might prompt companies to start producing products in peanut/nut facilities. And do we separate peanut from nuts. I think we all have to decide on a clear goal and start brainstorming on what we would like to see. I would also like someone to really tell first hand about manufacturing processes. Maybe I can work with my Nabisco connections and find out from a company standpoint what might be feasible for them. If we start making unruly demands they may not respond to us. Also lets look at other product labels. What is needed to determine if something is Kosher and can have that label? I think our biggest problem here is going to be what do we consider a real threat to cross contamination. I think we all agree that same line production is a real risk. What about same facility. I would like to get some other thoughts on that. Is there a safe distance? I know I can't intelligently comment on this issue having never been in a manufacturing facility. I just really want to know that I am buying safe products. I would also like to see some of these guidelines applied to restuarants. I'm not sure how we could handle this either, but maybe some kind of universal symbol on menus, product labels that indicate a threat to a peanut sensitive individual. Or maybe we could just start a peanut awareness campaign. We could target fast food chains initially. Lets get back some of our life so we don;t feel like we are walking through a mine field every time we enter society. Boy did I ramble but I am really excited about making our way of life easier. So count me in.
Patti

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By Mary Catherine on Sun, 03-14-99, 19:38

They have to get rid of that natural flavoring label. It serves no purpose. What I would appreciate is for companies to follow suit with General Mills and list the allergens in BOLD print after all the ingredients are listed. They also need to identify the vegetable oil used. Not all do.
And if it is made on the same line or located in the same area in a facility that cross-contamination is a possibility, it must say so.

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By Noreen on Sun, 03-14-99, 20:36

After a period of community response, I suggest we take this discussion to a private email list, brainstorm a proposal and plan of action, and then resubmit it to the general community for review.

If we're to present ourselves as a lobbying entity then we need a name. We also need "friends" and advisors outside the peanut allergic community, e.g., physicians, medical researchers, lawyers, media, and FDA bureacrats.

I hope more and more people join this effort. Accidental ingestions due to improper labeling is one of the biggest concerns we have as parents of peanut allergic children.

Noreen

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By LauraP on Tue, 03-16-99, 11:53

I'm curious. Is anyone aware of any existing efforts underway with respect to the labeling issue? If something is already started, perhaps we should join in as the "peanut allergic component". If not, we must do something about this.

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By vbsister1 on Fri, 03-19-99, 01:52

I think that the current product labels are too vague. it was brought to my attention that there is confusing language as to the hydrolozized vegetable oil. The only way to be completely safe is to have better labelling laws. i will help in any way I can.

Jill

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By vbsister1 on Fri, 03-19-99, 01:52

I think that the current product labels are too vague. it was brought to my attention that there is confusing language as to the hydrolozized vegetable oil. The only way to be completely safe is to have better labelling laws. i will help in any way I can.

Jill

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By Coco on Sat, 03-20-99, 01:31

You make a good point Mary Catherine about the bold print and location. I have purchased a couple of products that have carried a warning one that was located directly in the seam of the packaging. (I'm sure it was very visible until the pkg. was sealed.) The other carried a warning in a different location from the ingredient list and in a different color that blended easily into the pkg. pictures. If you'd like any help from Canada I'm available.

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By LauraP on Sat, 03-27-99, 17:11

Hi everybody!

I found something interesting at:

[url="http://www.angelfire.com/mi/FAST/food.html"]www.angelfire.com/mi/FAST/food.html[/url]

Apparently, in 1997 FAST attempted to launch a food labeling campaign for change. They have an existing petition to the FDA posted (requesting specification of all food ingredients, including trace amounts which may currently be lumped under spices, and natural and artificial flavors). They also have posted a petition to representatives in Washington, as well as a sample letter to manufacturers for clearer labels.

I would think that there would be a greater impact if we sent something signed by numerous individuals, rather than individually. What do you all think?

[Note: This message has been edited by Chris]

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By Chris PeanutAllergy Com on Mon, 09-27-99, 19:36

Hi everyone,

We are ready to address the labeling problems!

I want to let you know what is going on in regards to better labeling in the U.S.. We have been working on this and as many of you know it is a task which is very complex. We have to proceed in a manner which has the best outcome. From what we have learned many people have tried to petition the FDA over the years. Most have not had good outcomes.
There are people such as Laura mentioned, with her link above, which have been working on this for years as well. We have been in contact with many of these individuals and groups.

We want you to understand that this is a complex task. Besides all the research to find out what is needed (which we are happy to inform you has been researched extensively) there are other things that must be addressed. One of these is how much we can correct (fix the laws) at one time. A law that addresses every known allergen would probably not get passed. Therefore the writers have come to the conclusion to address the top food allergies. We also will have great opposition from manufacturers organizations etc.( we can get into the details about this on this thread) This is why we must be well funded and organized. If you want to help get better labeling. Get involved now, this is an immediate issue. The petition is almost in its final draft.
We need everyone (no matter what country you are in) to organize together with us. If we can get this better labeling petition passed as law, it will be a great example to push other countries as well!
Join us in our fight for better labeling. We need the funds to be able to fight the well funded opposition organizations. This will be our best chance at better labeling that we have had come around in a long time, and it will take a great amount of work to do it again if we are not ready and do not get this through on this attempt. Contact everyone you know who has a food allergy and let them know that we are pursuing this and we need their help and support now!

Because of the opposition we are expecting we are not releasing all the information about what has been put together at this time (or who is helping us). We do not want our efforts to be squashed before we have a chance. Their are a lot of powerful political groups that we will be facing and we want this to pass, so we are proceeding with a strategy to make this happen.

One of the things we now need besides needing money:

We need your stories about how labels have caused reactions. This is not just stories from the peanut allergic but from any person allergic to anything which food labels
concern.

We are especially looking for cases with hard facts such as hospital documentation, the actual label which shows there was a need for better labeling, etc. Tell us about your horror stories in regards to labels. We want to have this to show the need for better labeling to help prove there is a problem. Send your opinions and thoughts etc. Send them to PeanutAllergy.Com and try to put something like "labeling story" in the subject line to help us organize all the e mails. Let us know that it is okay for others to contact you if they want more information or to talk to you etc. We are expecting Congress people etc. will want to hear first hand of the problems.

It is very important that you get involved now! If you feel this is important let us know, SEND FINANCIAL HELP and get involved! We need to have local support groups ready to work on this locally in their states as well.

Don't just let the opposition do a good job! We need to do a better job!

Here is some contact info so you can send this info to everyone you know.

You can mail checks made out to PeanutAllergy or PeanutAllergy.Com (call to use credit cards or other transfers)

MAILING ADDRESS:

PeanutAllergy.Com
123 Grant Ave.
Medford, MA 02155

USA

PHONE NUMBER 1-781-395-9530

FAX NUMBER 1-603-388-5483

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Stay Safe

[email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

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By Chris PeanutAllergy Com on Thu, 12-02-99, 18:25

We have been working hard on the petition to the U.S. FDA (with other groups, many volunteers, and a government agency that is helping) and are happy to report that we think it should be ready for release around the first of the year!!!

THEN THE PROMOTING AND FIGHTING BEGINS!!!
We really need to band together NOW to make this happen! If we don't it will probably take years before we are in this position again with a government agency helping to push for better labeling with us!

Email me NOW to see what you can do!
Time is not on our side and we need to be prepared quickly!
[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

It is not to late (but it is close) to get your letters to us for consideration to go with the petition (to show the personal side of why we need better labeling to the FDA and lawmakers etc.). This is an important part of the process. We have received many emails, letters, phone calls etc. and have contacted the people who wrote the ones we picked so far to let them know that theirs might be included with the petition (to let them know the lawmakers might be contacting them etc.) , but we would like to have more to choose from! Yours may be the one that makes the difference! Write today!

Please make the effort TODAY to put your experiences and opinions in writing! Please email them and then send a SIGNED hard copy as well!

I also must remind you again to help support this effort! We need your financial support if we are to continue to work full time here! We, as a community, need people working full time on peanut allergy and the issues we face!!!

Above (in the last post) is the contact information to send your letters, checks etc.
Just print this out now to remind you and have the information in print.

I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE HAVE THE FUNDS TO WORK ON THIS ISSUE!

MANY PEOPLE HAVE TOLD US RECENTLY THAT THEY THINK THAT THEY ALONE CANNOT DO ANYTHING,

WE UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WOULD FEEL THIS WAY! THIS IS WHY WE CREATED THIS WEBSITE AND COMMUNICATIONS CENTER, BECAUSE TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT!

WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO TELL EVERYONE WHAT A DIFFERENCE WE HAVE MADE BY WORKING TOGETHER AND ORGANIZING BECAUSE OF THIS WEBSITE. WE ARE EXTREMELY BUSY WORKING ON SO MANY ISSUES (9 AM IN THE MORNING TILL 2 OR 3 AM THE NEXT MORNING IS NORMAL MOST DAYS! YES SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ALSO, AND WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS NOW! WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT, AND NOW HOPEFULLY YOU UNDERSTAND BETTER WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE HAVE PEANUTALLERGY.COM SERVING ALL OF US!

WE ARE ALSO WORKING TO RAISE MONEY TO PUT OUT THE NEWSLETTER (THE INSURANCE IS OVER $2500 OF THIS ALONE!) SINCE WE BEGAN, THERE IS SO MUCH THAT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED. WE NEED TO HAVE A WEEKLY NEWSLETTER TO INFORM EVERYONE AND KEEP EVERYONE UP TO DATE. THE ONLY RESTRICTION IS MONEY. SO WE ARE NOW ASKING EVERYONE TO JOIN IN, BECOME A MEMBER, AND SEND A PLEDGE TO MAKE THIS WORK AND REACH IT'S FULL POTENTIAL!

WE NEED THIS COMMUNICATION CENTER, IT IS PROVIDING A VALUABLE SERVICE AND IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE PEANUT ALLERGY COMMUNITY.

WITH IT, WE CAN ACCOMPLISH WHAT WE COULD NOT BEFORE.

WE ARE FINDING OUT INFORMATION THAT OTHERWISE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN KNOWN! WE THEN WORK ON THE ISSUE.

SUCH AS RECENTLY FINDING OUT ABOUT BIO ENGINEERED PEANUT PLANTS THAT A COMPANY IS PROMOTING AND MIGHT END UP ON YOUR NEIGHBORS LAWN SOON!!!

AFTER SPEAKING WITH THE CREATORS OF THIS PLANT, WE ARE NOW HAVING THE PLANTS TESTED TO SEE IF THEY WOULD POSE A RISK TO THE PEANUT ALLERGY COMMUNITY!

SO YOU CAN SEE THIS IS AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

PLEASE HELP, WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT!

HERE IS A LINK TO LET US KNOW WHAT YOU CAN PLEDGE AND DO, PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY!

[url="http://www.peanutallergy.com/concept2.htm"]http://www.peanutallergy.com/concept2.htm[/url]

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Stay Safe,

[email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

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By mkruby on Mon, 05-01-00, 12:50

I will help where I can too!! I have two sons with the life threatening allergies and remember like it was yesterday going groccery shopping after finding out. I spent 3 hours shopping, looking for foods to feed my boys...I ended up leaving spending like $50. I ended up making everything from scratch. I have gotten to the point, that with the allerigies we have in this house, we just now stay away from the ones that will kill us. It is extremely frustrating. You go to buy cheese crackers and they contain peanuts. Let me know what I can do as I have no idea how to go about it, except for my own personal battles I have had to endure.

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I am a mom of two anaphalactic allergy PA boys and my daughter and myself also have allergies. You may e-mail me at: [email]mkruby@pcspower.net[/email]

__________________

I am a mom of two anaphalactic PA boys and my daughter and myself also have allergies.

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By Yankee on Mon, 05-01-00, 16:19

Count me in, too!

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By on Tue, 05-02-00, 01:51

I, too, would like to help with this. Please let me know what I can do (email, sending letters, etc..)

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By rebecca or Jeramie Dewain on Fri, 05-05-00, 15:13

Chris I am very willing to help. People always wonder why I am so scared to feed my son if I read labels. Unproper labeling is why. Please feel free to contact me.

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By Texas on Sun, 06-18-00, 20:07

Chris, I want to help. Please fill me in on what you are planning, and count on me to help. Please let me know specific things I can do to support the cause.

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By Rach on Wed, 05-02-01, 16:23

Chris-

I would love to help. I live in the UK so I don't know whether it is possible. Can you fill me in?

Practically every british product carries a warning, so this makes it dangerous as sometimes you have to make an intelligent guess as to whether you take the warning seriously or not.

Thanks, Rachel

__________________

RACHEL

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By sillyfeline on Sun, 05-06-01, 01:56

I cannot afford to contribute $$ right now, but I do wish to be involved. I recently reacted to an ice cream with no nut/pn ingredients or warning (Haagen Dazs chocolate chocolate chip). The corp's position is that legally they do not have to, so I'm out of line to question the policy. A few calls revealed that all sub-companies of Pilsbury lack dedicated lines and do not label "made in the same" anything. I was laughed at for even implying that printing a single sentence might save lives & told they'd be sending me coupons! EEK! I'd like to hope I could do more than just boycott, & quite frankly as a pa & tna individual, I fear what other companies fail to label for cross-contamination. 3mil pa individuals in the U.S. Labelling saves lives!

__________________

Adult onset.
Anaphylactic to soybean and peanut.
Allergic tree nuts, eggyolks, certain fruits and veggies, and lots of medications.

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By Cayley's Mom on Thu, 06-07-01, 16:03

Chris will be speaking to an FDA representative tomorrow (Fri. June 8) about the labeling problems and reactions some members have had with ConAgra products.

As well, a lot of members have sent letters to ConAgra during our e-mail campaign, organized under the Take Action Forum. I was so pleased to read the many responses in this thread from people interested in safer labeling. It is a huge issue, so it's going to take time, but with our efforts, things will start to fall into place soon.

Thanks everyone! If anyone has stories about reactions to products they would like to share with Chris, please send them to:

[email]"safetycampaign@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

Chris can often spot "trends" - if 50 people all reacted to the same product, over a period of a year, he knows where to best direct a new labeling task force.

[This message has been edited by Cayley's Mom (edited June 07, 2001).]

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