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Don’t always trust what you read July 13, 2010

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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It must be Tuesday again because I am here with something to say and have the time to say it.

I was told at the weekend that D is old enough now to read the food labels and be responsible for checking all of his food.  My personal feeling about that (and the feelings of most of the people that know about the allergy is EH, NO!)  I still check everything.  Things that I bought last week get rechecked because I quite simply don’t know when the manufacturer will change the ingredients and not announce it on the front of the pack.  I still don’t trust many people to feed him and usually look over their shoulder to check for milk content.  I make bread and cakes and biscuits so that we don’t have to risk cross contamination.  I don’t give him jam/nut butter in other peoples houses because of the risk of double dipping the butter knife.  The list of dos and don’ts just goes on and on.

When we visit with my PIL’s we regularly bring an apple tart that we buy in SuperValu because it is the only one that lists the ingredients of the margarine (did you know that there is milk in soft margarine but not in hard?).  Last week I found a coffee cake made by the same people, I checked the ingredients and decided to make an educated guess that the margarine in the cake was the same as in the apple tart.  Other than that there were no milk ingredients listed.  It was lovely.  I ate too much but within an hour I knew ALL ABOUT the fact that I had eaten it and decided, a little late, to check with the manufacturer about the ingredients in the margarine.  I left a message and left it at that.  In the interim I resolved to make my own coffee cake in future (afterall it is not that hard and I have a lovely Kitchen Aid that will do all of the work for me).

Back to my point.  I was driving to work today and I got a call from a number I didn’t recognise, which at the moment I get a lot of, so I answered the phone and was informed that the caller was Anna Harvey of Anna Harvey Foods, the people who make the apple tart.  We spoke about the apple tart and how great it is that the ingredients are listed etc and I asked about the margarine in the coffee cake.  She told me, with a slightly perturbed tone of voice, that there is a buttercream icing on the coffee cake!  Eh, HELLO?  I told her that there was no butter listed on the ingredients because if there was I simply wouldn’t have bought it!  She assured me that she would review the label both to check for the inclusion of butter and to include the ingredients in the margarine.  I thanked her for that and for returning my call.  She then told me that they could make any of their cakes with margarine instead of butter so if I ever want a cake for the weekend I can ring them on a Monday or Tuesday and they will make one specifically for me, label it for me and send it up with the regular order that drops stuff off on Thursdays.  Now I am perfectly capable (and looking forward to the act) of making a coffee cake myself but that was incredibly generous of her as she could simply have told me to enjoy the apple tart and hung up the phone.

So a big up to Anna Harvey Foods for their willingness to review their labels, for returning my call and for their generous offer to modify their recipes to cater for our needs.  But all of this has made me realise that I can’t even trust the labels now.  What else has been left off the ingredients?

Our local Presbyterian church runs a free Summer camp every year and last year it was D’s introduction to the concept of staying somewhere without me.  It was a tough few days then but I am glad we did it as he went on to attend music, swimming & tennis classes throughout the year.  This morning he went to this years camp (he missed yesterday because we were in Dublin for the day) with his drink & his bag with a pot of Cheerios and a fruit leather for snack time.  As I ran through the emergency procedure I wondered what it would be like if anything actually did happen to him?  My telephone number is on the inside of the emergency bag and as I am in work the number was pretty useless in the event of an emergency so I, with a biro, wrote M’s number up D’s arm (it was the safest place for it J ).  He decided himself what would be a good thing for a snack this morning and packed his own bag.  He danced around the hall for 15 minutes asking when we were going to be leaving.  He stopped every now and then to ask J if he (D) was going to camp, to which J would reply yes.  J would then be asked if he was excited that D was going to camp, to which J would make the excited face and D would reply, “I know, it’s very exciting” and the dance would continue.  I can’t get over the change in him in a year.

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