When Fjord was diagnosed as being allergic to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts I was distraught. Until you have an allergic child you simply don’t understand the minefield which your child will walk in every day. It’s like them being able to pick up a loaded gun at any time. From age 3 he knew to ask the ingredients in everything to check for safety. We can never eat at an Asian restaurant because nut contamination risks are too high. His egg allergy was picked up before I even tried feeding him egg, I was baking a cheesecake and touched him with a bit of egg on my fingers, his skin broke into awful raised red welts.
I really, really wish that companies and brands would become more allergy aware, food allergies are on the rise and need to be taken into consideration. The parent of an allergic child knows all the regular brands and which contain allergens. We scan ingredients and know by heart which are safe. When I buy chicken nuggets I no longer need to read the labels, I know which brands contain egg. I know which pasta brands contain egg. I’ve learned that the word ‘praline’ means that a chocolate is potentially fatal. Did you know that Kit Kat chocolates contain hazelnut and Bar One contains egg. I didn’t until I learned to read the labels of every single chocolate. In short I have read the ingredients of all foods and I know by heart which are safe.
When it comes to Easter, Cadbury Creme Eggs contain egg, all with praline filling are dangerous and Beacon marshmallow eggs contain egg. Normally I try to buy the caramel centred eggs but being horribly sick with flu, Easter shopping was delayed and they all sold out. I bought a few hollow eggs for the Easter Bunny hunt and a big box of Pick ‘n Pay marshmallow eggs. I’ve bought these over a few years after checking the first time that they were egg free. Fjord absolutely loves them and there was much joy finding them hidden in the garden.
As soon as he ate the first marshmallow egg a rash formed around his mouth. I went running to read the box and discovered with horror that the Pick ‘n Pay marshmallow eggs which were previously egg free now contain egg. My little boy’s joy evaporated and he sat on the floor crying, his Easter totally ruined. Oh why can’t brands be more switched on to allergies! I went onto Twitter to express my disappointment and despite being upset I was very impressed that Pick ‘n Pay responded immediately (on Easter Sunday), that sort of prompt feedback is excellent. I was asked to provide my details, which I did. Sadly the customer service ended there. I was not looking for a freebee or just being difficult. I wanted to create awareness and just be made to feel that this will be addressed, perhaps that they will revert to an egg free product in future.
My son has had to turn down every cup cake brought to school for a birthday, he can only enjoy half the treats at a party. The only place where he can eat a Waffle other than those that I make at home is The Waffle House in Ramsgate (who cater for allergies). Please restaurants and brands, be allergy aware and try to cater for allergic children. Ideally the new boxes of Pick ‘n Pay marshmallows should have had clear printing on the box, along the lines ‘Now contain egg’.