Food labeling 101
Use Halloween as a fun way to teach your children how to read a food label. Get them to help you sort “safe” and “unsafe” products. (Have them wash their hands before and after this activity.) Be mindful of the following:
• “May contain” warnings may get overlooked if they are under the flap of a package or printed away from the ingredient list. Some brands that are allergy-safe in a regular-size format may have a “may contain” warning on snack-size candies that are made on a different production line.
• It’s impossible to know what is in home-made goodies, loose candies, and unlabeled packages. When in doubt, throw them out!
• Food labeling regulations differ from country to country so stick to products made by North American companies that you trust.
Set a good example
While there are more choices these days for consumers with peanut and nut allergies, the same cannot be said for individuals with other food allergies. Before shelling out at our home, we ask: “Does anyone have a food allergy?”
Inevitably we get a handful of kids with milk allergy, so we keep chips, hard candies and dollar-store items on hand so that they are not disappointed. Teach your children the joy of giving. Get them to donate some of their treats to a shelter or seniors’ home.
With a little preparation, not to mention a cool costume, your child can enjoy a safe and fun Halloween.
Laurie Harada is Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada, www.foodallergycanada.ca.