Category Archives: Food Industry

Dedicated or Shared? Cross contamination is a VERY real thing.

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If you must know, my children LOVE Oreo cookies.

I mean, I have read the studies that refer to them as #addictive as cocaine (by the way, unsubstantiated).  And I have even blocked a “former” Facebook friend when I posted the first picture of my youngest, Josephine, enjoying with great delight her first Oreo at about a year old.  This said “friend” went on to share my post of my daughter, attached with said articles mentioned above, and then wrote how HORRIBLE I was to feed my daughter these delights.

Needless to say, I wrote this lady a letter that shared my opinion of her exploitation of my daughter and immediately blocked her.

Some people!

But, regardless of this lady’s opinion on my parenting, I love Oreos, my husband loves them, and my children love them.

Best of all, they are “supposedly” allergy-friendly for our Max.

That’s a miracle.  To find a cookie that does not include any sort of nut or milk product?  It’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

When we go to birthday parties?  I always make sure Max has his Oreos to eat while the other kids gorge on cake.  Because of the creamy goodness, Max has never yet complained!  And, thankfully, that has allowed me to not make my kid his own cake for every birthday party he attends.

I mean, I am not a baker, folks!

But there is a big thing about processing, and Oreo just recently had to answer to the calls of it.  It is called “Dedicated” or “Shared” processing lines.

Basically, it means that there are processing lines dedicated to be free of any allergen product to touch it.  Or there are shared lines that mean that allergens touch the processing line.

This may sound like a lot, but, believe me, I have the child that IS the one to respond to cross-contamination from “Shared” lines.

Just the other day, I returned from Torun.  Torun is my favorite city in Poland, and it is where the Polish people claim to be the “home” of gingerbread.  Many parts of Europe claim this.

But it is DEFINITELY the home of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer that discovered that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric theory).

In any case, it’s a wonderland of science, beauty, history, and GINGERBREAD!

Most gingerbread, my son has been able to eat.

Therefore, when I checked and double checked the ingredients of the cookie I was going to bring him from Torun, I bought it confident of the fact that it contained no allergens.

Max was so excited.

He had his cookie!  It was a bear!  He couldn’t wait!

And then he took his first bite.

“My tongue is burning, Momma!”

An then welting began on his forehead.

Needless to say,  my heart sank.

It was IMPOSSIBLE to give my son ANYTHING!  My heart broke, tears filled my eyes, and I began our allergy routine to care for my son.

I told Max how sorry I was that he had owies, and I was so sorry that I couldn’t buy him a special souvenir.

As is with most allergy kids, my son, used to his fate and greatly disliking pain that comes with eating something “owie”, said in utter graciousness, “That’s okay, Momma.  Next time just bring me some gum or Oreos.”

Most likely, the gingerbread I brought Max was baked on a cookie tray that apparently must have been shared with something that makes Max hurt.

Dedicated or Shared?

This wasn’t the first time Max has reacted to something that was made with allergy-free ingredients.  But it was the most recent time.  And it just reiterates for me the fact that ingredients are NOT enough.

Dedicated or Shared?

Either word carries with it joy or pain.

My son is proof of that.

***

Here is a recent article sharing the “safety” of the plain varieties of Oreo Cookies for those of us living in the allergen-world:

Regarding the Manufacture of Oreos with Respect to Peanuts and Tree Nuts

I would have never listened in the past

You know the saying, “Ignorance is bliss?”  That’s me when it comes to food, the food industry, and the effects.

I was ignorant.  It was bliss.

I mean, I LOVE soda.  Really. Remember how as a child you would say, “I love Pepsi,” and your friends would say, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”  Jokes on them!  I would TOTALLY marry Pepsi, if I wasn’t already married 😉

In all seriousness, however, the talk from Robyn O’Brien, formerly from a career on Wall Street, speaking at a TED convention is brilliant and thought provoking and extremely informative about the changes in the American food industry since the 1990s.

I really hope, especially if you have an allergy child, that you take the 20 minutes it takes to watch this video.  I set it up in my kitchen while I was cooking and mostly listened and worked at the same time (kind-of like whistle while you work).  But it was so fascinating that my husband came in from the other room and finished the video with me.

To be fair to ALL of our kids out there NOT born in the United States (like my Max—born and mostly homegrown in Poland)…I understand that even the most brilliant minds actually don’t understand allergies, but that does not diminish the facts that she shares and the history of the change of food and farming that has taken place in the last couple decades.

So, Allergy Mom and Allergy Dad, I hope that you take a moment and watch.  She, too, is an Allergy Mom, so she does understand you and is fighting hard for all future parents out there to help the best she knows how—by speaking out!

Sit enthralled.  I know you will.

God bless,

Brooke