Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Proof That Some People Just Don't Get It....Again.

Today, I managed to get a small taste of what a milk allergic mom goes through.

I just dropped B off at school and saw something baffling.

They have alphabet snacks, meaning each week someone brings in a food with a different letter - we had "V" so I brought in vegetables with dip. In theory, it's a cute idea, but what a pain in the butt when you have food allergies to worry about!

So today is "Z" day and the mom brought in Za'atar rolls, which in and of itself is a pretty awesome idea for a Z snack! But here's where the insanity came in to play.

B has a classmate (let's call her X) with a milk allergy.

So while I'm getting B settled (coat off, homework in cubbies, etc.) this creative mom brought the snack in and told the teacher it was safe for everyone. Of course I chimed in (uh, grilled more like it, but I was nice - really!) and asked about the ingredients to determine whether or not it was safe for B.

But then she says "It's safe for X, too. There's no milk in it, but I just used cheese in the dough."

I looked at her and said "What exactly do you think cheese is made from?"

Blank stare in return from both her and B's teacher. X would be having a different snack today.

But what if I wasn't there to point that out?? I don't think X is ana to milk, but still. We should still be educated and vigilant about keeping our allergic kids safe.

It never ends, I guess.

When we get around to educating parents in B's class next year, I think I'll pull together a handout detailing the top 8 allergens and examples of each food.

Have any of you guys experienced something like this? I've had the 'she can't eat peanuts but she can have other nuts, right?' line, but that one's sort of understandable - they are two different things.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts - should I have just butted out??

p.s. just found this neat handout for foods to avoid with a milk allergy - this will come in handy!

ppss. and here's one for peanut allergy!


Anonymous said...

MY DS is allergic to milk, and ana to egg, PN & TN. Another child in preschool is also PN & TN allergic. This other child's mom recently sent a snack for entire class that had traces of PN & TN in it. Thankfully, the teacher read the label and was able to give the other child AND mine one of my DS safe snacks instead. I am not surprised by non FA parents misunderstanding. But I AM shocked when a FA parent doesn't get it.

Nicole said...

I guess I'm not shocked when non food allergic parents don't get it. But I fail to understand how people can think cheese doesn't have milk in it. It's like someone who told me that there was any peanut butter at their particular function but apparently forgot about the peanut M&M's at every table. Related to this, a pet peeve of mine is when people say my son has a "peanut butter" allergy.

allergy mama said...

As another allergy mama, Thank You. I have found that non allergy parents just don't get it, even when they really do try. And that is totally understandable. It's hard to really understand the scope of a problem that you don't live with, and their effort is touching. I coach when I can. I know another mom in my daughter's classroom stepped in for my daughter once, when the teacher was trying to serve a snack that she thought was safe. I was so appreciative I almost hugged her! It is never wrong to act to keep a child safe, you did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites, and I actually hear this from time to time, is that there aren't any peanuts being served - but then I see that there is peanut butter. Yes, obviously it is a "streatch" for some people to associate peanuts with peanut butter! Love your blog! and I love anyone who tries to get it with FAs!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

You did the right thing. That is why my rule is "He eats nothing unless I approve it first". I'm sure that she meant well. But not knowing that cheese has milk it baffles me. REALLY!
I don't expect anyone without food allergies, or anyone without MY SONS allergies to totally get it.

Around Christmas they didn't follow my rule and gave J icecream because someone brought in a birthday treat (Surprise! Thanks for the advance notice) and they didn't want him to feel left out (he has a safe snack box there for that very reason. Hello? Anyone home?). The school nurse called me and ratted out the teacher because she said "Even though he read the label, I'm still concerned and I told him he shouldn't have done that". I had to go and check J to make sure all was OK and then re-explain that J has food allergies outside of the top 8 and they don't have to label for those. You won't know for sure if the allergens are in there and hiding under "natural flavors" or some other BS term. I also explained about cross contamination and manufacturing practices. It's more than just label reading sometimes and that's where things can get really dicey.
(Sorry I think I went off on a ranting tangent...)

Anonymous said...

wow--thank God you were there! we, food allergy moms have to stick together!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How great that you were there to educate them. I find the hardest thing to explain is cross contamination, when people say well there's no nuts in it, so it's okay. But if it's a baked item processed in a bakery with nut products, that's not good. I also hate that there are family members who still don't get it. One request we have made for gatherings is don't give anything to our daughter or eat nuts when we are present. There are some that are very acommodating, but there's a few that whoa, I've always got to be alert!.

As far as school goes the teacher knows that my daughter can't have any outside snacks unless I approve it and daughter knows it too. There's a bag of safe snacks, so she always has something. So even though, this parent said the food was safe, doesn't the teacher have any kind of instruction from the parents on outside treats. I would hope the teacher would get the okay from the parents rather than take this mom's word.

I've been very lucky with school so far. It's already nut free and when parent's are bringing something in, some have asked if there is something they can bring for my daughter.

This post is another reminder that we need constant reminders, because unless you have food allergies in your life you can't understand the seriousness.


Anonymous said...

My daughter is in Daisies and they have agreed to no nut products for snack time. There's another girl with a peanut allergy and her nanny mentioned that it's very "severe" (I didn't realize there were different types????). Anyway, recently her mom brought the snack and it was cupcakes from a local supermarket bakery, which I don't get beacause this place told me they can't guarantee no cross contamination. So, they asked me if my daughter was only allergic to nuts or also the products that are made in a facility with nuts, because this girl isn't allergic to products with labels reading, processed on same equipment as nuts. HUH???? This is the same girl with the "severe" allergy. Interesting. I guess her parents have a different comfort level. However, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Great post.


Following HIM said...

Honestly, I am not shocked since I have heard of people not realizing that cheese is milk. But this annoys the heck out of me that people don't know this. Seriously?!

Reguarding PN and TN. I have a friend who is ANA to PN but not TN. She gets her tree nuts from a dedicated factory though.

It still amazes me that some people don't realize that cross contamination can cause reactions too.

I think a handout with a few examples of foods would help. It may also help to name what/where the allergen can be found.

Anonymous said...

I reckon X's mum will be pleased you didn't butt out. I find it amazing that people might not realise cheese is made from milk!!

Good for you!

Stacy said...

My sis in law said she would make us some enchiladas (my son is allergic to milk) and just leave off the cheese. I asked her what all she uses in the ingredients and she said cream of chicken and cream of mushroom. I was thinking in my head "hello what do you think cream is?" but I was nice about it 'cus it's not as super obvious as CHEESE is but it's still frustrating to have to ask everything about every ingredient because people just aren't as educated as we are about what contains what. I sure wasn't before I became a FA mom.