Monday, February 10, 2014

Food Allergies - Who Ya' Gonna Call? SnackSafely.com!

As a food allergy mother, consultant, blogger and author, I have been a follower of SnackSafely.com for a long time. I am so grateful to have their Safe Snack Guide as an extra resource to keep my family that much safer in this time of labeling conflicts. As we all know too well, labeling laws do not currently require manufacturers to disclose the potential sources of cross-contamination of allergens during their manufacturing process. This is a terrifying thought since the very thing that nourishes our families could very easily turn into a horrible, life-changing event. So you can imagine my excitement and hope when Dave Bloom, CEO of SnackSafely.com contacted me and asked to spread the news about their new Manufacturer Partnership Program. I could continue but I think this awesome news is best given by the company itself - I invite all of you to read the official press release:

Manufacturers Join SnackSafely.com in Drive for Greater Transparency in Food Allergen Disclosures

Tootsie Roll Industries, Enjoy Life Foods among 20 manufacturers to join program’s launch

The publisher of the Safe Snack Guide, a snack list used by thousands of schools, camps, youth sports leagues, and scouting groups nationwide to help implement nut-free policies, is now working directly with food manufacturers to provide greater transparency regarding the potential for allergens in their products.

Manufacturers participating in the SnackSafely.com program access a proprietary portal to submit information about their products, including processing information for 11 allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish (the “top 8”) as well as sesame, mustard, and gluten.

Products that qualify earn a listing in the Safe Snack Guide, and their manufacturers are authorized to display
the SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Badge on their websites. The data collected will also be made available to consumers via SnackSafely.com’s forthcoming apps and publications.

For an estimated 13 million Americans with food allergies, today's detailed labeling helps them avoid common allergens included as ingredients in food products. However, labeling laws do not require manufacturers to disclose the potential sources of cross-contamination with these allergens during the manufacturing process.

Warnings such as “manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts” are entirely voluntary, and there are
no standards for when they should be used or how they should be worded. This gap in labeling and disclosure often leaves allergy-conscious consumers confused and exposed to potentially dangerous traces of allergens.

“A growing number of schools are implementing nut-free classroom policies, placing the onus on parents to
find suitable snacks,” said SnackSafely.com Founder, Debra Bloom. “The Guide eliminates the guesswork for consumers while extending positive exposure for participating manufacturers’ products.”


“Our brands have been trusted by consumers since 1896 and we always seek opportunities to build that trust”, remarked Ellen R. Gordon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tootsie Roll Industries. “We participate in the SnackSafely.com program because all of our products are free of peanuts and tree nuts. The program provides an effective way to engage the allergic community.”

Joel Warady, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of Enjoy Life Foods said, “Our mission to create great tasting, allergy-friendly snacks is complemented by SnackSafely.com’s mission to provide greater disclosure to our potential customers. Our listings in the Safe Snack Guide help introduce Enjoy Life’s products and our strict allergen-controls to an ever growing audience of consumers that take their allergy concerns seriously.”

“We’re pleased leading manufacturers of the food industry are joining us in our efforts to promote greater
transparency for consumers with severe food allergies,” said Dave Bloom, CEO of SnackSafely.com.
“Partnering with trusted and recognized leaders in the Free From sector like Enjoy Life Foods is crucial to the success of this effort, as is the participation of traditional manufacturers of iconic brands such as Tootsie Roll Industries. Together, we’re working to arm consumers with the information they need to make better decisions for the safety of their families.”

Participation in the program is absolutely free, and all manufacturers that place an emphasis on responsible
practices are encouraged to inquire at mfg@snacksafely.com. A listing of the program's participating
manufacturers can be found at: snacksafely.com/mfg.


About SnackSafely.com
SnackSafely.com provides straightforward, actionable information to improve the lives of the 5.9 million
children in the US suffering with food allergies. Their primary publication, the Safe Snack Guide, is
downloaded over 30,000 times each month and is relied on by tens of thousands of parents, teachers, and school nurses nationwide to help keep peanuts, tree nuts and eggs out of the classroom and the home.

About Enjoy Life Foods
Enjoy Life Foods is the leading brand in the Free From category. All products are gluten-free and free from the top 8 allergens (NO: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish) making them safe for the millions of individuals who live with food intolerances.

About Tootsie Roll Industries
Tootsie Roll Industries manufactures and sells some of the world's most popular confectionery brands. The
Chicago-based firm is one of the country's largest candy companies, with operations throughout North America and distribution channels in more than 75 countries.

I would personally like to extend not only a heartfelt thank you but also a virtual hug and kiss to SnackSafely as well as the companies that are a part of this program. It is companies like you that allow food allergic parents to sleep better at night, to know that they have products that are safe and reliable and give us reassurance that there is power in joining together. Food allergies touch our lives in so many different ways but this is like a ray of sunshine beaming through our door.

Thank you, all of you ~
Tracy

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