Monday, May 20, 2013

Video: Help Prevent Food Allergy Bullying

by Kelley Lindberg

Bullying. It’s bad enough when it’s just mean-spirited and emotionally painful. It’s even worse when it’s also life-threatening.

According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), studies show that about a third of all kids with food allergies say they’ve been bullied because of their food allergies – that means they’ve been threatened with or intentionally harmed by the allergenic food. Food allergy bullies have threatened to touch the allergic child with the food, have smeared it on allergic kids, or even tricked kids into eating something that the bullies have contaminated with the dangerous food. All for a laugh.

How sick is that?

Being allergic to food means having to worry about the food you eat, the food others eat around you, and the non-edible items in your environment (like lotions, crafts, birdseed, or dog food) that might be harboring your allergen. That’s a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, anxiety-inducing way of life. You shouldn’t have to add an additional worry that someone is going to come after you with the food with intent to harm you.

A bully with a peanut-butter cracker is every bit as lethal as a bully with a gun.

With all the emphasis these days on bullying, we need to make sure everyone realizes that food-allergy bullying is a significant problem, too.

That’s why FARE has launched a public awareness campaign about food allergy bullying, and they’ve released a short video, called “It’s Not a Joke,” designed to teach kids and parents who DON’T have food allergies how serious the disease really is, and to encourage them to prevent food allergy bullying. The video is narrated by FARE Celebrity Ambassador Kenton Duty, formerly of Disney's "Shake it Up," who volunteered his talents for the PSA.

Share the video. Prevent food allergy bullying. And let’s start a new wave of compassion and acceptance for everyone.

Here is a link to “It’s Not a Joke” on YouTube, or you can watch “It’s Not a Joke” on FARE’s website (, where you can also find lots of resources and information about food allergies.

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