Gone are the days when you made
quick runs into the grocery store to just pick up a few things. When shopping
for someone with food allergies, ingredient labels must be read each and every
time [link to food labeling]. It is not uncommon for food manufactures to
change ingredients or manufacturing processes. Therefore, even trusted brands
and products must be double checked each and every time.
When shopping, plan to go when you
have time so that you are not rushed or under stress. Become familiar with your
favorite store and where everything is located. In some stores you will find
many of the allergy-safe food in a separate “organic” section of the store.
Talk to the managers at your local
grocery store. If there is a trusted product that you use regularly, they may
be able to special order these products for you or may even begin stocking them
if there is a large enough demand for a particular item. This can save you from
ultimately going to two or three different stores in a given week to get the
specific brands that you need.
Nothing in the store is, by its
nature, “safe” and should always be checked for ingredients.Fresh fruits and vegetables may even have
manufacturing processes that can make them unsafe. Be sure to check for
potential cross contamination by being aware of surrounding grocery items that
may pose a risk.
Whether or not non-allergy-safe
food is kept in your house is a personal decision and each family handles this
situation differently. If non-allergy-safefood is kept in the house along with allergy-safe food, one suggestion
is to label foods as safe or not-safe using red or green dots. Red dots next to
the ingredient list can indicate food that is not safe while green dots can
indicate safe foods. Using this method can provide a double check when you get
home when you put the dots on and it can provide an educational opportunity for
children and other caregivers. Even though children may not be able to read yet,
they can learn where to look to see if a food is safe or not.This is a great opportunity to model
label-reading to your child. Remember that a food label cannot
tell you if a food is safe, it only reveals that it is unsafe.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow up with a physician.