Fairly new/questions about labels

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I'm trying to finish all my "homework" that Chris gave me several weeks ago and I'm stuck where it comes to calling manufacturers. How on Earth do you go about organizing yourself for this and what do you say? I started going through the cabinets and listing everything we use and the manufacturers #'s and I'm overwhelmed...Do most of you call, email? What exactly do I ask? And do you call for every food/drink/condiment/etc? Sorry if this has been covered before...I have a newly diagnosed peanut and egg allergic 18 mo old and I guess everything is piling up on me. Also, I got new cards from FAN w/ ingredients to look for and they are different than the ones I copied off the internet. Now, it says to look for "lecithin" (egg allergy) and "natural and artificial flavors". Everything has this! Is this where I would contact the manufacturers and ask specifically, is it egg lecithin and is peanut or egg used in the flavors? We are cooking almost exclusively from scratch now, but even things like ketchup, mustard, etc have "flavors" on the label. Thanks so much, sorry for rambling, just very confused and overwhelmed. Melissa in VA

On Jul 27, 2004

Hi Melissa,

I feel your agnst - it is overwhelming at first. My DS was diagnosed at 16 months and it has taken me almost a year to feel like it is all okay and VERY manageable.

Anyway, I phone manufacturers. The good ones will have a labeling policy for all of their products (and their subsidiary companies) so it opens up a lot of food choices.

I particularly like Kraft (this is controversial because they wash down their lines) and General Mills.

As for flavoring, to tell you the truth unless it's a very small/local manufacturer we don't worry about it. I know others have a stricter comfort zone about this.

Best wishes,

Jen

BTW - My understanding is there will be strict new labeling laws in the U.S. by 2006 which should make your life a lot easier.

On Jul 27, 2004

Melissa- It is overwhelming. I call- I usually get the same "we lable for the big 8 allergens" speech. I then ask about shared lines and cross contamination. I never get much of an answer. I feel comfortable with General Mills, not so comfortable with Kraft.

You'll develop a comfort zone.

paula

On Jul 29, 2004

Thanks for the replies...I guess specifically I want to know: 1. Do you call every company for every product you have in your house and ask about their labelling policy, then go from there when deciding which products to call specifically about and get more info? 2. Do you call for everything that says"natural and artificial flavors" and verify that that does not mean peanut? Thanks,,,planning on trying to call tomorrow. Melissa

On Jul 29, 2004

melissa - the truth? I hardly ever call any company. Occasionally I have. But, for the most part I just go by the labeling. My pa and tna dd is 9 1/2 and she has, thus far, never reacted to anything due a labeling problem.

HTH, Miriam

On Aug 2, 2004

Well, I'm almost exactly one year into this allergy and in the beginning I phoned everyone. Now, I only phone small local manufacturers. I also phone distributors of food processed outside of North America (eg. couscous).

Jen

On Aug 2, 2004

Quote:

Originally posted by melissa: [b]Thanks for the replies...I guess specifically I want to know: 1. Do you call every company for every product you have in your house and ask about their labelling policy, then go from there when deciding which products to call specifically about and get more info?[/b]

Some products I have called about. For example, I called the Best Foods Mayonnaise folks recently and was told that their mayonnaises are safe.

Others I have read about here as being products that most consider safe. (For example, I don't really trust Kraft/Nabisco labeling. However, I do feed my PA/TNA son certain Kraft items ... macaroni and cheese, cheese singles, Ritz crackers, and Teddy Grahams come to mind. Others here have used them with no problems, so I figure they're probably okay.)

Others I have decided not to use based on some info I've read here. (For example, I don't use Kellogg's cereals except for Rice Krispies.)

[b]

Quote:

2. Do you call for everything that says"natural and artificial flavors" and verify that that does not mean peanut? [/b]

To tell you the truth, I have NEVER received a good answer from a company when I have asked about natural flavorings, except for the time I called McCormick (the spice company). Most of the others say they really don't know, or say it's proprietary information.

On Aug 3, 2004

Melissa, I call everyone who doesn't use allergy labeling. (that FAN produced directory was a big help in the beginning!) The two questions I ask are: 1. Does this product contain any nut ingredients/products like oils, etc.? If the answer is "no" then I ask 2. Is this product manufactured on equipment that is shared with any nut containing products? I know it's really hard and overwhelming for the first year or so, but it really does get better, easier and 'just part of the routine.'

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