An estimated 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies. It is reported that peanut allergy doubled in children from 1997-2002. With this increase in diagnosis and awareness has come an increase in visibility in the media and online.
Websites and blogs are popping up chronicling personal experiences, life stories and some are even offering advice. How do you know if a site is offering valuable or even safe information?
More than likely you don’t, which is why medical advice should always come from a medical professional. That being said, there is a fine line to be drawn here and many of these food allergy sites and blogs are tremendously valuable. Some, however, are not and are even downright dangerous. How do you weed them out?
Sites offering a cure
There is currently no treatment that “cures” food allergies. There are several studies being done and there is hope, but currently no FDA approved cure. We’ve seen a wide range of treatment related sites or sites claiming to cure food allergies using a variety of techniques. Please proceed with caution, consult your allergist first and remember that there can be side affects to any medication be it herbal, natural or otherwise.
Sites claiming allergen free products
A product is only allergen free if it is completely free of the specific allergen protein. No traces allowed. This is done by ensuring initial ingredients are allergen free, by making sure the manufacturing facility is allergen free and by testing foods for allergens. Remember that the current US labeling laws apply to food items only, and only to ingredients within an item. Warning labels such as “May Contains” or “Processed In” are voluntary. Manufacturers are also not required to let you know if an allergen is in their facility. More importantly, there are no FDA laws or definitions of what allergen free, peanut free or gluten free is. Manufacturers can, and have, put these labels on their products even with traces of allergen proteins in them. Buyer beware.
There are many allergy sites and blogs that refer readers to other sites and products claiming to be allergen free. When referred to a site, keep in mind where the referral is coming from. What is that person’s experience, what is their background and what makes them an expert? Take the referral with a grain of salt and do your own homework. Sadly we’ve seen several sites recently posing as allergy specific sites and forwarding readers to businesses that are clearly not allergy related or friendly. This can lead to a dangerous outcome. Large budgets and aggressive PR put these sites in front of you as expert sites. Don’t be fooled.
The increase in food allergy sites and blogs helps to spread awareness and information. However, it can also spread misinformation. Always keep this in the back of your mind when visiting a new site or blog.
We’d like to remind you that Best Allergy Sites only lists and recommends sites and blogs that are thoroughly screened and entered by hand. All listed food manufacturers cater to the food allergy and intolerance community and either have allergen free facilities or a very specific cleaning AND testing protocol. You will not find non allergy friendly sites here. Keep in mind however that manufacturing practices do change and you should always double check with the manufacturer. If you find a company or food listed here that has changed it’s protocol, please do contact us and let us know. We value your safety.
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Food Allergy Businesses: Putting Profits Before People