It has recently come to the attention of many people with food allergies that Kellogg’s is changing the recipe of its Keebler and Austin crackers to include peanut flour. There is also a petition circulating trying to stop said changes. The petition cites the fact that no one would expect peanuts to be in crackers and that peanuts are the leading cause of anaphylaxis. It should be known that these products have always contained milk (the actual most common allergy among children), wheat, and soy.
A few things about this bothers me. As far as Kellogg’s is concerned I think they need to do a hefty awareness campaign prior to the change just to get the word out. There absolutely are people that have been eating these products for years and should be (MUST BE) made aware of the change. However Kellogg’s has many peanut products and always have. They have always maintained good product labeling procedures regarding shared equipment. Truthfully anyone with an allergy other than peanuts has probably not consumed very many Kellogg’s products.
Anyone who is allergic to wheat or soy will tell you – “I would never think this had…in it” yet there is no petition against oatmeal and salad dressing companies. I guess we are just used to it. Anyone with multiple (or any) food allergies must read labels, and we do. All labels … even if I think it’s fine, I still read the label. Think about Pringles – potato chips right? Wrong, they have flour in them. If you ask anyone about food allergies, peanuts is the first thing they think of. It has the most social awareness, and is the only allergy to be banned from anything. So why is it that a majority of anaphylaxis deaths are peanuts. Contrary to popular belief it is not because it causes a more severe reaction. If you follow the news at all you will see a pattern of eating things that should not have been eaten. Literally people die from anaphylaxis because they ate peanuts, not from cross contamination, not from mis-labeling – from not reading the label.
There is a very real problem and lesson in all of this and I don’t think it has anything to do with Kellogg’s. I think it goes back to allergy management, if we expect everyone to do it for us it will never get done. You control your life, you choose the outcome. READ THE LABEL … it’s really that simple.