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Food Allergy Concierge Blog

Mishloach Manot & Food Allergies?

Purim is a stressful time for parents who have children with food allergies, particularly regarding mishloach manot. While Purim is a joyful holiday for the Jewish community, the exchange of gift baskets, called mishloach manot, can be very challenging for people with food allergies.

People make all kinds of delicious baked goods and treats for their family and friends, often with eggs, nuts, sesame, and other allergens. People who have food allergies, however, feel left out, and they are worried about an allergic reaction.

All parents want their kids to be happy and participate in cultural (or religious) events, like normal children. Unfortunately, holidays and traditions involving food creates chronic stress and concern about their children not feeling a part of the holiday, others not giving their kids gift baskets because of their allergies, or even their kids getting an allergic reaction from the gift baskets.

People who have minor food allergies (meaning they can take a Benadryl or antihistamine and not go to the hospital every time they have a reaction) don't need to worry as much. They need to make sure that whoever made the gift basket is aware of their allergies and was careful when making the food. However, children who have severe food allergies can have a reaction to any cross-contamination and airborne allergens.

Cross-contamination

A few years ago, someone made allergy-free cookies for their friend who was allergic to fish. She had made her cookies previously, and they were fine. But suddenly, on Purim, she had an anaphylactic reaction to the cookies and had to go to the hospital. At first, the friend didn't understand why she had an allergic reaction – she checked all of the ingredients, she cleaned the kitchen and all of the tools, so what went wrong? After a few days, she realized that she had used the oven for salmon less than 24 hours before baking the cookies. The allergic reaction was related to an airborne fish allergy. This story shows that even when people are careful and go the extra mile to try to make something special for their friend who is allergic, mistakes can happen, and these can be dangerous.

Cross-contamination is hard to overcome unless you have experience dealing with it. A few years ago, we had another case - someone who was allergic to sesame hugged someone who had eaten Sushi that has sesame (and there was some sesame oil on her hands). This girl had an anaphylactic reaction to the oil and had to go to the hospital.

In Israel, much grocery store food isn't safe for those who have severe allergies because of the limited awareness of allergies and cross-contamination locally and the lack of allergy labeling requirements. Bakeries are especially dangerous because Israeli baked goods are covered in sesame and nuts, and everything is baked in the same oven.

If you want to make an allergy-free gift basket (misloach manot) for a friend who has food allergies, here are some basic guidelines:

  • Include sealed and packaged food – you can't just include any packages of food – you need to read the ingredients and the allergy warning and make sure that it doesn't contain any of the allergens dangerous for the person receiving the gift basket. Most parents and even the children who have allergies know which snacks are safe for them and which aren't. So, giving them pre-packaged food is a safe way to include them in the holiday.
  • Baked goods (only for those with a mild allergy) – you can bake them some pastries or cookies but only after assuring a safe environment. Make sure to clean everything very carefully, wash ALL of the tools that are used to make the food (measuring cups, measuring spins, bowls, etc.), check all of the ingredients, and make sure that the allergens are nowhere near your work surface.
  • Buy an allergy-free gift basket. For the first time, Food Allergy Concierge is making allergy-free mishloach manot! All the baked goods will be made in a sterilized environment. They will be free of many of the main allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, fish, dairy, and there will be an option for egg-free. These baskets will include baked goods from our specially trained chefs and will include safe snacks. Order here!
Allergy Guilt & Tips
An Allergy-Free Trip in Israel - Tips
 

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What Our Clients Say

Meticulous in their preparations

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

Comfortable, calm, and at ease

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!!!! 

CO, Canada
April 2016

Very Helpful

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.

Yasher Koach!
L.R., NY, NY

Delicious and Safe

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

Thank You

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

The Allergy Card was Extremely Helpful

"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

Allergy Free baked goods for the lockdown

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.

Very easy to order and communicate your needs

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.

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