The Covid-19 outbreak has forced all of us to change certain aspects of our lives. Many have begun working from home, socializing is no longer a prominent part of our lives, and supermarkets are running low on many essentials. People with food allergies not having access to the brands they are familiar with can cause great stress. Many families with food allergies have come to rely on brands and foods that they recognize and are now having to get creative to keep their families safe.
If you have been dealing with food allergies for a long period of time, then reading labels should be like second nature. Even when buying foods that you recognize, it is important to read labels and make sure that there haven’t been any ingredient changes. One important thing to remember is that the supermarket industry isn’t the only one suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Several companies have been forced to make recipe changes to make up for the lack of supplies. That said, when moving over to a new brand as a result of a shortage caused by COVID-19, reading labels becomes even more important. It is important to remember that a person living with food allergies should never eat anything without – at the very least – reading the label and allergy information first.
It is always better to err on the side of caution – especially when it comes to potentially life-threatening food allergies. Before trying a new food or brand, it may be a good idea to reach out to the manufacturer. This can be as easy as sending an email with a list of your most important questions. Make it clear to the company that your allergies are life-threatening and ask them to clarify anything ranging from ingredients, additives shared lines and even facilities. Remember that any allergy not listed among the top 8 doesn’t legally need to be declared on the packaging and may fall under “natural flavorings.”
Shopping online provides you with two things; the possibility of finding the brands you already trust and a community of people who left reviews on the brands you’re looking to try. Websites such as Amazon and eBay may surprise you with the amount of stock they have piled up, and supermarkets may also have food that is exclusively available through their websites. If you do manage to find a brand that you know you can trust, make sure to stock up on as much as you can get – after all, there is no telling how long this outbreak will continue to control our lives. However, if you are forced to try new options, then use the review section to your advantage. Not only is this a place where you can leave any question you may have and receive feedback from people who have already used the product, but you may find that other people with your allergies have already asked the questions that you are looking to get answered.
For many of us, chain supermarkets are the easiest and most convenient place to shop. Not only are they the biggest, but they also tend to be the cheapest. That said, desperate times call for desperate measures, and it may be time to venture out into the smaller health food stores. Health stores tend to have a wider variety of allergy-free food as they cater specifically to smaller communities. Many health food stores are also likely to sell those rarer ingredients staples in an allergy-safe home (xanthan gum, egg replacer, gluten-free flours, etc.).
The same thing can go for specialty supermarkets – especially ones that may cater specifically to people with food allergies. These supermarkets are generally less busy than the larger chains and are less likely to be completely sold out. Plus, in a supermarket that gears specifically towards food allergies, you are more likely to find new brands that you will be able to try and trust.
Online communities are all the rage these days. There are Facebook groups for practically every group and sub-group that is in existence. For people with food allergies, this means a community of people who have experience going through the same things as they do daily. Given this, turning to the people in these groups can be a really great way of gaining information on a new product you may want to try. You may find someone who has already spoken to the manufacturer about the product or who has just tried that new ingredient you’re looking to integrate into your diet.
For many people with food allergies, trying new foods is scary. However, when nothing is certain, it may be vital that you find new options – especially when most supermarket shelves are being emptied faster than anyone can keep up. That said, the most important thing to do is be careful and double-check every ingredient before putting anything into your mouth.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA
My family ordered a week's worth of food from Food Allergy Concierge during the most recent lockdown. Having the food on hand, and knowing that it was safe for everyone in the family to eat, helped turn the lockdown into a stay-cation! We were still able to take a break from cooking and worrying, and we look forward to using FAC's services again in the future.
We are so lucky we found this company to help us while our son was traveling. They provided allergy-safe baked goods and delivered them to his hotel so he could have bread and pastries on his month-long Israel trip. It was very easy ordering and communicating his needs. I would definitely use the food allergy concierge again the next time he travels to Israel.