Posted by: Amy | January 7, 2008

Unbelievable! (I cannot think of a more appropriate title)

Just the other day, Meredith Broussard, a writer for the magazine Harper’s wrote a story titled, “Everyone’s Gone Nuts About Food Allergies.” She was also given a fifteen minute spotlight on the radio station, NPR(you can listen and read the comments here), while being interviewed about the article.

Broussard’s article, and the mere fifteen minutes she spent trivializing food allergy could potentially cost the lives of children across the globe. You may think this statement sounds exaggerated, but it is the truth. All of us familiar with food allergy/anaphylaxis know first hand how serious and real it really is. We have put a ton of effort into teaching and advocating for our children so they can live a safe life outside of their homes. Unfortunately, there are people out there who read her article or listened to the NPR broadcast, and now have misconstrued information regarding the subject. When a child is having an allergic/anaphylactic reaction, there is NO ROOM FOR ERROR! She has made it sound like parents of food allergic children are exaggerating, when in fact we are not.

As an example of the fact that there are people out there who will feed into her claimed “expertise,” you can read some unbelievable posts on the blog site of allergymoms.com. The topic is peanut bans in schools. What I found unbelievable was not the fact that there is controversy on the subject, but what some of these people actually had to say! One such quote is, “. . .Be responsible for your own child and keep him/her home and make friends w/ other peanut allergy children so that can be sure to be completely peanut free together.”

Keep in mind, both of these examples happened within the past few months. Talk about being overprotective; I am afraid to put the lives of my dear children in the hands of these kind of callous people.

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Responses

  1. Thank you so much for blogging to correct this mess that Meredith Broussard made. Please go to her website and post a messages on Meredith Broussard’s blog. The lastest one by “kpat” makes me want to scream. How can people take her seriously! Dr. Sampson will be speaking on NPR Jan. 31st, but to me, not soon enough. I’d like Meredith to know since she started all this. I already posted. Thanks!

    http://www.failedrelationships.com/blog/2005/2007_12_01_archive.html

  2. Apparently Meredith has turned off the comments feature on her blog about failed relationships. We can still e-mail her at mer@failedrealtionship.com (if that works!) Nice that she writes a damaging article then disappears and can’t be contacted.

  3. Calico, thanks for your comments and the link to her blog. I didn’t know it existed. You are right, the comment feature has been turned off. I really have no interest in communicating to her, though.

    Amy

  4. Here is the latest article from the New York Times out today 1/9/07. It’s an interesting piece about food allergies and some comments on FAAN and their allergists. The article comes at a time that the retirement announcement from FAAN coincidently happens in the same week. I don’t think it has to do with Meredith Broussard’s article, as much as this piece. FAAN still has saved lives….don’t know what else to say about that.

    Meredith Broussard has no merit in my book, but this woman has some interesting points. She also quotes the CDC’s statistics from 2004, but states they may be underestimated for all we know, not overestimated like Broussard does. In the wonderful world of food allergies, who knows what to believe anymore! Can we ask that she also be on the NPR radio show on Jan. 31st? Her and Dr. Sampson may have slightly different takes?

    Here’s the article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/dining/09alle.html?scp=1&sq=food+allergies

    It would be nice to get some factual answers….
    Carol Depke

  5. i’ve no idea any more how i got to this blog, but i had a question regarding the food residue issue. no one in my family has ever suffered from any actual food allergies – and i don’t personally know anyone (whom we see more than once a decade) that suffers from severe allergies. we eat tons of peanut butter – and i’m sure lots of other foods that contain nuts. i’ve always been concerned about residue on my children when we go out – especially to church or a play area. if they eat, say, a pb&j before going out, i make them wash their hands til they feel “dry” and sometimes change their clothes before we. if after that, my child plays with your child in sunday school – will your child be safe? i just can’t imagine what you’re going through! every time i order my food without onions and they put onions on it (too many onions give me migrains) i wonder about people like you. sometimes i get real angry too. not so much for myself (i actually like onions and picking them off takes time and makes my fingers smell, but reduces my intake enough) but for those to whom it would REALLY matter. whenever i can, i contact the manager and point out the error. usually they don’t seem to care much – “oh i’m sorry you’re picky and you don’t like it”. so i say “oh no big for me – but perhaps you should review this sort of thing with your staff before someone has a SEVERE reaction to something and sues you”. the magic “s – word” tends to sober them a bit.

    (sheesh! i was just reading this over – i didn’t realize quite how many words i’ve begun to “txt spell” in my regular writing! sorry if i didn’t catch them all!)

    blessings and grace!
    shel

  6. Sheli, thank you! Thank you for thinking of others and not just yourself. You have no idea how much that means to a mom like me, who has a child with such a severe allergy. I believe you are handling the peanut butter situation very well. The handwashing is extremely important, and the changing of clothes is icing on the cake. I don’t know the ages of your children, but younger ones especially can be very messy eaters. Peanut butter is very hard to clean off of clothing, so by changing their clothes before interaction with others you are making a very wise decision. After these two steps, I would find it hard to believe that my child would have an allergy reaction to the peanut butter. I think your kid’s actual hand might have to enter my sons mouth at best!

    Living with the food allergies is something that my family has come to feel is almost normal. Everything we do requires a first thought of how it might put my son in contact with his allergens since they can be almost anywhere. Ultimately it is up to us as his parents to make his environment safe for him, but when others like yourself take action, it is extremely helpful. Not to mention heart warming! Thank you. :-)


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