Monday, October 29, 2012

Allergy-Safe Trick-or-Treating Tips

by Kelley Lindberg

I am sending dry thoughts to all my friends on the East Coast today. May Hurricane Sandy treat you gently.

Those of us out West are having the opposite type of weather – no water at all, and warmer temps than usual. While our continuing drought is bad news in general, it’s good news for the trick-or-treaters who will be able to wear their cute costumes Wednesday night without bundling up in giant parkas and snowboots.
Trick-or-treating can be one of the scariest aspects of Halloween for parents of food-allergic children. But for the kids, it’s one of the most fun parts. So how can a parent make trick-or-treating a safer activity?

First, remember that for kids, while they get excited about all the candy, it’s really the adventure of dressing up and going door-to-door that’s important. So help them focus on that part of the night, and realize that you CAN make trick-or-treating safe.

Here are some tips for safe trick-or-treating:

Tip #1: Before going out, remind everyone that no one eats anything until everyone gets home and the parent reads the label on every piece of candy. That way, no one is eating unidentified foods and having a reaction while you’re out in the dark a block away from home. Make sure the kids agree, understand, and agree again. No one sneaks anything (not even Dad).

Tip #2: If your child is super-sensitive to an ingredient, you might have them wear gloves with their costume, so that any allergenic candy that touches their hand on the way into the bag doesn’t cause a skin reaction. Toss the glove in the wash or in the trash when you get home.

Tip #3: Unlabeled candy is assumed to be unsafe. Period. The only exceptions are brand-name candies that you are already very familiar with and know are safe. (For example, I know Starbursts and Skittles are okay for my son, so I’ll let him keep those.) If there is a type of candy that he’s particularly interested in, I might promise to look for it at the store the next day, and read the ingredients there. But it goes into a separate container until we’ve seen it at the store and verified its safety. See my post from Oct 15, “Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up 2012, Part 2,” for a list of many Halloween candies and their ingredients – it might help you sort through what isn’t safe.

Tip #4: A day or two before Halloween, try setting up a network of “safe houses” – families in your neighborhood who will agree to have some “safe” candy to give to your child. Most neighbors would be more than happy to accommodate your child if they know ahead of time. No one wants to think they’re ruining a child’s big night. You’d be surprised how willing most people are to help.

Tip #5: Before you head out on your adventure (preferably several days before, so that the kids aren’t overly excited and can actually hear you), talk about what you’re going to do with any unsafe candy when the night is over. Here are some ideas:
  • Go trick-or-treating with a friend or sibling, and at the end of the night, dump both kids’ candy together, then make two piles – a “safe” pile for the allergic kid, and the other pile for the non-allergic kid. If they both know about this plan beforehand, they are usually more than willing to do this. (My son used to trick-or-treat with a friend who had braces – there were plenty of candies the friend couldn’t eat because of the braces, and plenty that my son couldn’t eat because of allergies, and it’s amazing how generous they both have been about handing over “safe for you” loot.)
  • Buy a bag of safe candy ahead of time, and at the end of the night, let your child “trade” you for all the unsafe candy he brought home. (Then take the unsafe candy to work the next day to share with co-workers.)
  • “Buy” the unsafe candy from your child – but establish a price ahead of time, such as a nickel a piece, a dollar a pound, or the whole kit and caboodle for a new DVD, a new toy, a trip to the movies, a night out with Dad, a visit to the dollar store, or other such treat.
  • Look for a dentist or other business in your area that buys candy from kids on the day after Halloween. (Search the internet to find one in your area.) The kids get money, and dentists often donate the candy to places like children’s hospitals or soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Let the child “donate” the unsafe candy to Mom or Dad, so they can take it to work and share it with their coworkers.
  • Let the child donate the unsafe candy to a local women’s shelter, food bank, homeless shelter, or family of a soldier – the soldiers always seem to appreciate candy that they can share with friends or give to children in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Got any more trick-or-treating tips? Post a comment and share!

Whatever your family chooses to do for Halloween this year, I hope it’s spooktacular!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis

by Kelley Lindberg

Here is a great new online food-allergy resource for teachers, parents, kids, and other community members, sponsored by the pharmaceutical manufacturer who produces EpiPens. They even have an interactive tour traveling to major cities in the U.S. (unfortunately, none in Utah, however).

Get Schooled in AnaphylaxisTM Unveils Interactive Digital Resources to Educate School Communities about Potentially Life-Threatening Allergies
“Modern Family” Star Julie Bowen Encourages Americans to Visit and Traveling Augmented Reality Exhibit
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Oct. 17, 2012 – Mylan Specialty L.P. today announced the launch of a comprehensive, community-inspired resource for families, school staff and students designed to raise awareness of and preparedness for life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in the school setting:  The enhanced website, which is part of the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis™ initiative, now includes a personalized, virtual tour to access resources provided by leading patient, professional and advocacy groups.  This fall, the educational tools will be brought directly into communities via an augmented reality exhibit that will travel the country to drive home the importance of raising awareness about anaphylaxis and being prepared when anaphylaxis occurs.
When logging on to, visitors will have the option to enter a virtual experience or find useful resources and materials tailored to their role in the school community and where they live.  The goal is for students, parents, teachers, administrators, school nurses and other community members to be able to access information specific to their needs and to learn how they can contribute to raising anaphylaxis awareness and preparedness in their hometown.
“We each have a role to play in helping those at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions avoid their triggers, recognize the signs of a life-threatening allergic reaction and know what to do when anaphylaxis occurs,” said Emmy award-winning actress and “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen, who learned of her son’s life-threatening allergies only after he experienced an anaphylactic reaction as a toddler.  “I’m asking people to go to to become better informed and prepared than I was when my son experienced anaphylaxis.”
To introduce the resources available at, an interactive exhibit using animated videos and the latest “augmented reality” technology will tour the country.  At the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis: An Interactive Experience exhibit, visitors will activate images on a 120-square-foot mural through use of the provided tablets or their personal smartphones after downloading the free Anaphylaxis101 mobile application.  They also will receive educational materials and giveaways, with a special offer for the first 100 people who visit the exhibit on each stop of the 10-city tour.
“Proper response to anaphylaxis can be a matter of life or death, so knowing what part we can each play in furthering awareness and preparedness, particularly in the school community, is critical,” said Hemant Sharma, M.D., Associate Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  “Having digital tools centralized and tailored to support those in the school-based setting is a tremendous asset that will help educate the public about this significant public health issue.”
The expanded website includes an extensive library of downloadable tools and resources from leading patient, professional and advocacy organizations to support personal and school-based anaphylaxis education.  The site is designed to help meet the information needs of the extended community impacted by potentially life-threatening allergies.
Visitors can access the information through easy-to-use, online toolkits tailored to the specific needs of:
  • Teachers: Posters, lesson plans, brochures, template forms, checklists, guidelines and an “Assembly in a Box” to address school safety in and out of the classroom.
  • School Administrators: Template forms, letters, a poster, and links to resources that can be adapted to improve awareness and preparedness among school staff, parents and students.
  • School Nurses: Family allergy and allergic reaction health history form, checklists and tip sheets to help ensure nurses know which students might be at risk for anaphylaxis.
  • Parents: Medical forms, checklists, guidelines, at-home tools and family tips to help educate themselves, loved ones and school staff about how to be ready to respond if anaphylaxis occurs.
  • Students: Worksheets, backgrounders and presentations designed to promote peer-to-peer education about anaphylaxis.
  • Community Members: General anaphylaxis education materials to drive broad knowledge, including an overview of federal laws that protect students at increased risk for anaphylaxis.
About Get Schooled In Anaphylaxis: An Interactive Experience
The coast-to-coast tour will hit key cities across the nation including:
  • Los Angeles, Calif. – Del Amo Fashion Center – Oct. 19-20
  • Denver, Colo. – Park Meadows Mall – Oct. 22
  • Baltimore, Md. – Arundel Mills Mall – Oct. 25
  • Chicago, Ill. – Orland Square Mall – Oct. 27-28
  • Dallas, Texas – Grapevine Mills Mall – Oct. 31
  • Houston, Texas – The Houston Galleria – Nov. 2-3
  • Orlando, Fla. – The Florida Mall – Nov. 8
  • Atlanta, Ga. – Lenox Square Mall – Nov. 10
  • Charlotte, N.C. – Concord Mills – Nov. 13
  • Philadelphia, Pa. – King of Prussia Mall – Nov. 16-17
For more information on the tour schedule visit
About Get Schooled in AnaphylaxisTM
The Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis™ initiative offers practical information to educate the school community to help those at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions avoid their triggers, recognize anaphylaxis signs and symptoms and understand how to quickly get appropriate treatment and immediate medical care when anaphylaxis occurs.  Visit to explore how anaphylaxis can affect the entire school community and learn more about life-threatening allergic reactions.  You can also download practical tools, learn more about Julie Bowen’s family story and watch a public service announcement (PSA) featuring the actress and sign up to receive news about activities and events.  Follow the Twitter handle @Anaphylaxis101 to get the latest news about the initiative.
Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis brings together information from leading patient, professional and advocacy organizations, each with the common goal of improving anaphylaxis education, and makes them accessible through
About Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur when the body is exposed to an allergen.  Anaphylaxis causes an estimated 1,500 deaths each year.  The prevalence of food allergies among children is on the rise, now affecting one in 13 U.S. children.
Children and adolescents are among those most at-risk for anaphylaxis due to increased exposure to potential allergic triggers.  Symptoms may include trouble breathing, chest pain, skin hives or redness of the skin, tightness in the throat, swelling of the lips and/or tongue, nausea, dizziness, a decrease in blood pressure and/or fainting.
Anaphylaxis symptoms may progress rapidly and become life-threatening, requiring prompt recognition and treatment initiation.  While avoidance of allergic triggers is the critical first step in managing life-threatening allergies, allergens are not always obvious and accidental exposure may still happen.
Food allergy guidelines developed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommend epinephrine as the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis management and that it be available at all times to those at risk for anaphylaxis.  If experiencing anaphylaxis, a person should use an epinephrine auto-injector and seek immediate emergency medical attention.
About Mylan Specialty
Mylan Specialty, a subsidiary of Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL), is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription drug products for the treatment of respiratory diseases, life-threatening allergic reactions and psychiatric disorders.  For more information, please visit
About Mylan
Mylan is a global pharmaceutical company committed to setting new standards in health care.  Working together around the world to provide seven billion people access to high quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service a habit, do what’s right, not what’s easy and impact the future through passionate global leadership.  We offer a growing portfolio of more than 1,100 generic pharmaceuticals and several brand medications.  In addition, we offer a wide range of antiretroviral therapies, upon which approximately one-third of HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries depend.  We also operate one of the largest active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers and currently market products in approximately 150 countries and territories.  Our workforce of more than 18,000 people is dedicated to improving the customer experience and increasing pharmaceutical access to consumers around the world.  But don’t take our word for it.  See for yourself.  See inside.
Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis™ is sponsored by and a trademark of Mylan Specialty L.P. © 2012. All rights reserved. MYS12-8088

Monday, October 15, 2012

Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up 2012, Part 2 (Local Stores) and Great Candy Corn Hunt!

by Kelley Lindberg

*Please remember to vote for my blog every day until Oct 17, in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Blogs contest. Click the icon to the right to vote – it’s easy, and I really appreciate you helping me reach more food-allergy readers!*

Last week, I told you about some places online to order your allergen-free Halloween candy. This week, I’ll tell you about the candy I found in stores locally. Believe it or not, there are plenty of choices besides Skittles and Starbursts! (Although I’m not dissing S & S – we love them, and they are our favorite go-to brands!)

But first… “The Great Candy Corn Hunt 2012” is on!
  • Nut-free candy corn: Your best bet is Sunrise candy corn, available at the Dollar Tree or online from Peanut Free Planet. Sunrise candy corn contains egg and soy.
  • Egg-free and peanut-free candy corn: Jelly Belly candy corn. It contains soy protein, and it’s manufactured on shared equipment with milk, wheat, tree nuts, and coconut, but they say their manufacturing and cleaning processes are very stringent. You can order Jelly Belly candy corn from Jelly Belly’s website, or from Amazon. You may also find them in stores that sell Jelly Belly candy, like Smith’s.
Now, on to the Halloween candy I found in local stores. This year, I hit Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree.


Large companies use multiple factories. That means the same candy may be produced in different places, with different allergens present. So CHECK LABELS on every single piece of candy. Wonka is one of the worst companies for producing the same candy in different packages containing different allergen warnings, but they are one of the best at individually labeling their candies so you can verify its safety before every bite. Another example: Ring Pops in Halloween flavors from Target and Walmart appear free from the Top 8. But the Ring Pops from Sam’s Club have a milk warning. So they were probably made in different factories. And a few candies have changed their ingredients and moved to other places in my list -- a good reminder to even check old favorites.

I’ve done my best to give you a representative list of what I found, to help make your candy shopping trip a little easier. But please double-check every label before you purchase, and if in doubt, call the manufacturer for clarification (most list a phone number right on their package).

I may have missed something or made mistakes as I scribbled my notes while standing in the aisles. (That goes for prices, too – sometimes it’s hard to tell the prices for different sizes of packages, so forgive me if I get something wrong!) If you find a mistake, let me know. Also, if you find a great source for safe candy, let me know that, too.

First I’ll list candies that don’t list corn as an ingredient (because there aren’t very many of them). Then I’ll list the candies and treats that do contain corn, but are free from some or all of the Top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish).

By the way, EVERYTHING on this entire list is NUT-FREE and PEANUT-FREE. That's where I started, then I broke them down by the other allergens. I hope it helps simplify your Halloween season!

CORN-FREE as well as free from Top 8
(These candies don’t list corn syrup in their ingredients, so they may be safe for corn-allergic kids – please double-check ingredients. Some list dextrose, and that can come from corn, so contact the manufacturer directly if you are allergic to corn):
  • Smarties (Target - 67 pcs for $2.66 or 210 pcs for $7.99; Walmart – 165 pcs for $4.48.
  • Pixie Stix (Target, 120 for $2.69)
  • Giant Pixy Stix (Sam’s Club, 50 giant stix for $11.78)
  • Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candies (red & white peppermints) (Sam’s Club, 290 for $6.98)
  • Test Tube Powder Candy (doesn’t list corn, but does list “glucose syrup”) (Dollar Tree, 8 tubes for $1)
  • Candy Jewelry (doesn’t list corn, but does list “glucose syrup”), (Dollar Tree, 15 pcs for $1)
  • Spongebob Gummy Krabby Patties (doesn’t list corn, but has “glucose syrup” and beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree, 10 for $1)
  • Skulls & Bones Hard Candy (contains dextrose) (Dollar Tree, 11 for $1)
  • Too Tarts Spray Candy (contains sucralose) (Sam’s Club, 12 for $9.02)
CORN-FREE, but contains Soy warning:
  • Bakers & Chefs Starlight Mints (contains “glucose syrup” and traces of soy); (Sam’s Club has 620 for $7.48)
Everything from here on down contains corn ingredients

Free from Top 8 (Wheat, Peanut, Tree Nut, Milk, Egg, Soy, Fish, Shellfish):
  • Betty Crocker Halloween Fruit Snacks; (Sam’s Club - 48 pouches for $7.48; Walmart - 28 pouches for $4.96)
  • Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-ups, Halloween designs with tattoos (Target – 36 for ???; Walmart – 36 for $4.96)
  • Kellogg’s Fruity Snacks (contains coconut oil) (Sam’s Club - 24 per box, $6.98
  • Market Pantry Halloween Fruit-Flavored Snacks (Target – 54 for $7.99)
  • Great Value Fruit Smiles (Walmart - 42 pouches for $5.28)
  • 24 Halloween Jelly LolliPops (Sam’s Club - 24 for $7.98)
  • Skittles Funsize pouches (Walmart - 20 for $2.28; Target - 21 for $2.66 or 80 for $7.99; Sam’s Club - vending size pouches, 36 for $19.88)
  • Starbursts Funsize pouches (Walmart - 32 for $2.28; Target - 32 for $2.66; Sam’s Club – vending size pouches, 36 for $19.88)
  • Starburst Gummiburst (contains coconut oil) (Walmart – 12 for $2.28)
  • Skittles and Starbursts Assortment (Sam’s Club – 172 for $10.98 or 30 vending size pouches for $14.58; Walmart - 55 for $4.48; Target – 105 for $9.99 or 55 for $4.99)
  • Skittles, Starbursts, and LifeSaver Gummies assortment (Target – 315 for $13.99; Walmart – 180 for $13.88)
  • Skittles Twist ‘n Pour (candies in a plastic pumpkin or ghost dispenser) (Target - $1 each, or 12 for $13.99)
  • Dum-Dums (Sam’s Club - 360 for $8.52; or Target has 320 for 9.99; Dollar Tree - 25 for $1; Walmart 160 for $4.48 or 70 for $2.28)
  • Dum-Dum & Smarties Assortment (Target – 200 for $7.99)
  • Ring Pops, Halloween flavors (Walmart – 22 for $4.48; Target – 2 for $1) [NOTE: Ring Pops from Sam’s Club have a milk warning, so read all labels!]
  • Market Pantry Sour Gummy Worms (Target - single hang-bag for $1)
  • Trolli Gummy Candy Mix (Target – 50 for $7.99)
  • Comix Mix Candy Stix (contains beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree – 22 for $1)
  • Marvel Heroes Candy Sticks (contains beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree - 22 for $1)
  • Jolly Rancher (Sam’s Club - 5 lb bag of 378 pcs for $10.48; Target – 3 lb bag of 285 pcs for $8.49)
  • Push Pops (Sam’s Club – 24 for $10.62)
  • Hot Tamales (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $14.17)
  • Mike & Ike (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $14.17; Target – 63 for $7.99)
  • Sour Patch Zombie Kids (Target – 80 for $7.99)
  • Sour Patch Kids (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $13.32)
  • Swedish Fish (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $13.32)
  • Dots (Dollar Tree - 6 mini-boxes for $1)
  • Life Savers Big Ring Gummies (Walmart – 32 for $2.28)
  • Bubble Babies Bubble Gum (Dollar Tree - 88 for $1)
  • Bubble Babies Sour Gum Balls (contains coconut), (Dollar Tree - 77 for $1)
  • Spooky Lollipop Rings (Dollar Tree – 5 for $1)
  • Mini Sour Dudes Straws (Dollar Tree - 10 for $1)
  • Zombie Fingers (Dollar Tree – 4 for $1)
  • Bloody Bites (plastic fangs with blood bags of blood-colored liquid candy) (Dollar Tree – 8 for $1)
  • Gummy Body Parts (Dollar Tree – coffins and bags of 12 for $1) [Note: Walmart sells Frankford Candy Body Parts that contain peanuts, nuts, milk, soy, beef, and corn, so read company name and ingredients carefully]
  • Monster Pops Lollipops (Dollar Tree – 6 for $1)
  • Grave Gummies (contains coconut) (Dollar Tree - 12 for $1)
  • Life Savers Spooky Shapes Gummies (Target – single box for $1)
  • Box of Boogers (Target – $1 each)
  • Spooky Lip Pop (Target – $1 each)
  • Snoopy Gummies (Target - $1 each)
Contains Soy or Soy Warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Wrigley’s Gum (Doublemint, Winterfresh, Big Red, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint) (Sam’s Club - 40 5-stick packs for $7.14)
  • Laffy Taffy Ropes (Sam’s Club – 48 ropes, $9.52)
  • Laffy Taffy (Sam’s Club’s – in tub of 145 for $6.22, or in Wonka Mixups bag, which contains candy with egg, 270 for $9.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews (Sam’s Club – 12 boxes for $6.72, or in Jolly Rancher & Twizzler Assortment, which has candy with wheat, 225 for $10.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Lollipops (Sam’s Club – in Jolly Rancher & Twizzler Assortment, which has candy with wheat, 225 for $10.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Assortment (Target – 120 for $7.99)
  • Jolly Rancher Watermelon Stix and Apple Stix (Walmart – in Jolly Rancher & Twizzler Assortment, which has candy with wheat, 100 for $4.48)
  • Double Bubble Bubble Gum (Target – 38.5 ounce bag for $7.99; Walmart – 160 for $4.48)
  • Lollipop Skulls (Dollar Tree – 16 for $1)
Contains Wheat or Wheat warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Twizzlers Cherry Pull N Peel (comes in assortments with Twizzlers containing wheat) (Target – assortment of 120 for $7.99; Walmart – assortment of 100 for $4.48)
  • Disney Candy Mix (Target – 120 for $7.99)
  • Marvel Candy Mix (Target – 120 for $7.99)
  • Twizzler Strawberry Twists and Twizzler Filled Twists, in Twizzler & Jolly Rancher assortment (Walmart – 100 for $4.48; Sam’s Club – 225 for $10.98; Target – 120 for $7.99)
Contains Milk or Milk warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Ring Pops (Sam’s Club - 40 for $9.98)
  • Exploding Candy (Dollar Tree - 25 pouches for $1)
Contains Egg or Egg warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Nerds, SweeTarts, Bottlecaps, and Laffy Taffy (which contains soy) in Wonka Mixups bag (Sam’s Club – 270 for $9.98)
  • Spooky Nerds, SweeTart Skull & Bones, and Howlin’ Laffy Taffy (which contains soy) in Wonka Monster Treats bag (Walmart – 1.81 lbs for $4.48)
Contains Soy and Wheat or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Twizzlers (Sam’s Club - tub of 180 individually wrapped for $7.24)
  • Twizzler Snack Size Twists (Target - 60 for $2.66)
  • Airheads (Sam’s Club: 90 for $8.98; Target – 60 for $7.99)
  • Airhead Mini Bars (Target – 105 for $7.99; Walmart – 30 for $2.28)
Contains Milk and Soy or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Charms Blow Pops (Sam’s Club - 100 for $8.86; Walmart - 50 for $4.48)
  • Double Bubble gum (Walmart – 72 for $2.28) [Note: the Double Bubble Gum from Dollar Tree and from Target doesn’t have a milk warning, so they may use multiple factories. Check labels carefully before eating]
  • Kraft Caramels (Walmart - 50 for $1.98)
  • Sixlets (tiny cellophane tubes of 6 round candy-coated chocolate flavored balls): (Dollar Tree - 18 for $1; Target – 150 for $7.99)
  • Tootsie Rolls Midges (Dollar Tree and Target carry, but I forgot to check prices; Sam’s Club – 760 for $7.48; Walmart – 360 for $4.48)
  • Tootsie Roll large rolls, in jar (Sam’s Club – 96 for $8.34)
  • Child’s Playtime Mix with Tootsie Fruit Rolls (corn, soy, milk), Dots (corn), Tootsie Pops (corn, soy, milk), Tootsie Rolls (corn, soy, milk). (Sam’s Club – 5.3 lbs for $9.78)
  • Sugar Daddies (Dollar Tree – 10 for $1)
  • Tootsie Pops (Dollar Tree – 11 for $1; Sam’s Club – 100 for $9.18; Walmart – 50 for $4.48)
  • Hershey’s Chocolate bars, the 1.55 ounce size ONLY (most other sizes contain nut warnings) (Sam’s Club – 36 for $19.15)
Contains Wheat and Egg or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Wonka Nerds Ropes (Sam’s Club - 24 for $13.18)
  • Wonka Shockers (Sam’s Club – 24 for $13.18)
  • Wonka Nerds (Sam’s Club – 24 boxes for $13.18, Target - 27 for $2.66)
Non-Candy Ideas:
  • Angie’s Kettle Corn Classic Flavor, free from Top 8 (Target, 24 pouches for $7.99)
  • Lay’s Potato Chips, free from Top 8 (Sam’s Club, 50 pouches for $11.98)
  • Corn Nuts Ranch Flavor, contains soy but free from other 7 (Sam’s Club – 18 for $8.12)
  • Funyuns Onion Flavored Rings, contains milk and soy (Sam’s Club – 50 pouches for $11.98)
  • Oreos Minis, in Funsize packages, contains soy and wheat (Target – 18 for ???)
  • Oreos, regular size, 30 packs of 6 cookies each, contains soy and wheat (Sam’s Club – $9.56)
  • Keebler Crème-Filled Sugar Wafer Cookies, 24 packs of 10 cookies each, contains soy and wheat (Sam’s Club - $8.48)
  • Slim Jim Meat Sticks, contains beef, chicken, soy, and wheat (Sam’s Club – 100 individually wrapped for $16.64)
  • Drinks, like Kool-Aid Jammers or Capri Suns, or sodas in mini-cans (available everywhere) – check ingredients
Non-Food Ideas:
Don’t forget, you don’t have to hand out candy to your trick-or-treaters. Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, and party stores like Zurchers, as well as Oriental Trading Company’s website have plenty of Halloween-themed novelties you can hand out, such as:
  • Halloween Hot Wheels 5-pack (Target)
  • Bat or spider rings
  • Plastic bugs and creepy crawlies
  • Halloween bouncy balls
  • Vampire teeth
  • Halloween-colored bracelets
  • Halloween pencils or erasers
  • Glow sticks or bracelets
  • Drinking straws with Halloween figures on them
Watch Out for These:
The following candies may land in your child’s trick-or-treat bags, and they may not have ingredients labels, so watch out for them:
  • Columbina candies – all have a factory warning for Peanuts, Egg, Tree Nuts, Soy, Milk, and Wheat
  • Tiger Pops – packaging lists all allergens
  • Lemonheads contain only corn, but are usually found in assortment bags that include warnings for all the allergens on the overall packaging
  • Jawbreakers contain only sucrose (doesn’t list corn), but packaged in an assortment that lists all the allergens in a factory warning
  • Warheads – various packaging lists some or all Top 8 allergens in factory warnings
  • Bazooka Gum-Filled Pops – lists only corn, but comes in an assortment listing all allergens in a factory warning
  • Cry Baby Sour Gumballs – contains corn
  • All mini and fun-sized Hershey’s chocolates contain nut warnings and should be avoided. Plain milk-chocolate and dark-chocolate Hershey’s kisses are nut-free, but contain milk. Most flavored kisses (caramel, cherry-filled, etc.) list nut contamination. The only nut-free size of Hershey bars is the 1.55 ounce size (the type commonly sold alongside graham crackers and marshmallows for S’Mores.)
  • I have not found any taffy that is nut-free, so assume all taffy contains nut contamination.
Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes or Party Food:
  • Market Pantry Sour Gummy Worms (Target – single hang-bag for $1)
  • Life Savers Spooky Shapes Gummies (Target – single box for $1)
  • Dollar Tree has lots of spooky, creepy gummies and candies that would look great on cupcakes, Jell-O cups, or Rice Krispy Treats.
  • Haribo Gummy Bears (contains corn and coconut, but free from Top 8), available at Target and other stores

Monday, October 8, 2012

Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up 2012, Part 1 (Online Sources)

by Kelley Lindberg

Halloween is creeping in on little black kitten paws…

And that means it’s time for my annual Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up!

Nothing stresses parents of food-allergic kids like holidays. And Halloween, with its focus on candy, is one of the scariest! But believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to satisfy almost every sweet tooth, no matter what allergies your little ones have.

I’ve been shopping locally for candy to see what types of allergen-free candy we can find in stores and online. But since most candies I’ve been finding locally contain corn syrup and food colorings, if those are your issues, your best bet may be to order your candy online. If that’s the case, you’ll want to order candy this week so that it arrives in plenty of time for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. Online sources are also great for finding allergy-free chocolate, as well as unusual treats, like allergy-free brain-shaped lollipops! That’s why this week I’ll write about some online sources that offer great allergy-free Halloween candy.

  • Indie Candy:  This site is the place to go for all-natural candy with no dyes or any of the Big 8 allergens at all! Most of their candy also appears to be corn-free, too. They have a large selection of confections including gorgeous crystal lollipops, chocolate, and gummis, and you can search by your specific allergy needs.
  • Yummy Earth.  Yummy Earth candies (lollipops, drops, gummy bears, and gummy worms) are corn-free, as well as being free from the big 8, and they use natural colorings and flavorings. You can buy them online at and on Amazon.
  • Peanut Free Planet: This allergy-friendly grocery site sells a ton of different candy from lots of different manufacturers, including Vermont Nut Free, Enjoy Life Foods, and Amanda’s Own. You’ll find chocolate, jelly beans, and all sorts of allergen-friendly groceries. They also sell KitKats, Mars bars, and Nestle Aero Milk chocolate bars that are made in a Canadian factory, and therefore nut-free (unlike their American factories). They also carry nut-free candy corn from A and J Bakery (but it contains egg whites and soy), as well as Surf Sweets jelly beans and gummies. Surf Sweets is a brand I’ve just learned about; they are organic, natural, gluten-free, and free from the Top 8 allergens. 
  • Amanda’s Own Confections:  They offer chocolate in some fun Halloween shapes, as well as jelly beans and other candies, all dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and gluten-free!
  • Divvies:  Nut-free, dairy-free, and egg-free chocolate ghosts, jelly beans, gummy stars, and chocolate chips! Oh my! (Chocolate contains soya lecithin.)
  • Natural Candy Store:  Looking for those lollipops shaped like brains? Found it! This site focuses on natural ingredients, but they also let you search for candy that’s free from all Top 8 allergens. Even better, you can search for candy free from single allergens, like milk or soy. They carry hard candy, Glee gum, Enjoy Life chocolate, organic chocolate syrup, breath mints, and licorice, among others! Click here for their Allergen-Free Candy page.
  • Vermont Nut Free:   Their chocolates are peanut-free and nut-free, but they do have milk and egg warnings on them. Their huge selection of nut-free chocolates includes caramel and chocolate pumpkins, chocolate-covered marshmallows on a stick, Halloween chocolate pretzels, and foil-wrapped chocolate shapes (like bats, witches, and ghosts). They also sell skippers, which are similar to M&Ms, but nut-free, of course.
  • Chocolate Emporium:  Read the ingredients carefully on this website, but they do offer a lot of allergen-friendly goodies. All Halloween items are dairy-free, certified parve by the Star-K. Call before you order to ensure you get what you need.
  • Mad Alex Products: I haven’t ordered from this store before, but they advertise Candy Tree Twists in different flavors (similar-looking to Twizzlers). Here is their ingredient info for the strawberry flavor: “Allergen Considerations: Chemical Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Fish Free, Gluten Free, No MSG, Organic, Peanut Free, Potato Free, Sesame Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Wheat Free, Yeast Free. Ingredients: Organic corn syrup, organic rice flour, organic rice starch, organic concentrated fruit juice: strawberry (3%), apple, elderberry, organic flavor: strawberry. Made in a Facility that Processes: Gluten and Dairy. Made on Equipment that Processes: Gluten.”
  • Oriental Trading Co.:  Remember, trick-or-treats bags don’t have to be filled with candy. Oriental Trading Company offers a bazillion (I counted them) super-cheap novelty toys, many that you can buy in quantities of 50, 144, or more.
Remember, next week I’ll post a list of what I found in local stores and where I found it, so check back next Monday.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting Rid of Expired EpiPens

by Kelley Lindberg

Have you checked your EpiPens lately to see if they’ve expired? It’s important to replace EpiPens promptly when they expire, so that the potency of the medicine isn’t compromised.

But now that you’ve replaced your EpiPens with new ones, what should you do with the expired ones? Those sharp needles and medication can be dangerous if they fall into unsuspecting hands, so it’s important to get rid of them safely.

The best way to dispose of expired or used EpiPens varies, depending on where you live. In general, there are a few options. You will probably need to call around to see what works best in your area. If one of the options you try charges a fee, try another option first. And in many cases, even if the place you call won’t take them, they can probably refer you to someplace that does, so ask.

Here are some places to try:
  • The pharmacy where you got the EpiPen.
  • Your allergist’s or doctor’s office.
  • The local hospital or urgent care facility.
  • A local medical lab.
  • The police or fire department. In Layton, Utah, the police department has a large white box near the north doors where you can deposit medications to be disposed of safely. Medication disposal is becoming a big enough problem these days that many police departments are starting to take a proactive role in helping dispose of medications safely.
  • Grocery stores or pharmacies sometimes host “Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet” drives where they collect old meds. Call your local stores to see if they are planning this kind of drive anytime soon.
In all cases, try to put the EpiPen back in its original plastic case to prevent the needle from sticking you or anyone else.

If you’re out of options and can’t find someplace to dispose of the medication safely, you can put it in household garbage. But experts recommend that you drop the EpiPen in a plastic bottle (like a juice or soda bottle), tape the lid securely on, and label the bottle with a permanent marker saying “Sharps.” Then dispose of the EpiPen out of reach of children.

Here’s another helpful idea I got from a friend: before she throws away her expired EpiPens, she gets an orange and “practices” injecting the EpiPen into the orange. Of course, if you do this, be incredibly careful so that no one gets stuck, and throw the orange away immediately so that no one accidentally eats it!

If you know of someplace in your area that takes expired or used EpiPens, use the Comments to let us know about it!