Keeping up with active children is often a challenge. You have to always ensure your child has fresh, whole, allergen free foods and it can be hard to make meals and snacks from scratch all the time. It can be equally difficult to find convenient nutritious pre-made snacks for kids, and even harder for kids with allergies, especially those suffering from multiple allergies. Most processed foods, reached for by busy parents as a quick convenient snack for their kids, contain some combination of nuts, dairy, soy and gluten, allergens that could be deadly to some kids if ingested. Most processed foods are also often high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other items that can aggravate certain biological issues in children. So where can parents who are committed to their child’s health and active lifestyle look for varied, convenient and healthy allergen free snacks? The Snack Safely Food Guide may help.
What Is the Snack Safely Food Guide?
The Snack Safely Food Guide was developed as a response to what many felt were the shortcomings of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). Prior to the enactment of FALCPA, manufacturers did not design labels to provide information about allergens contained in prepackaged foods. Many consumers purchased these foods with no idea whether the item contained allergens, or had come into contact with allergens during processing or packaging. FALCPA was created to correct misinformation in food labeling. Despite the move forward, FALCPA has limitations, which may allow food allergy mishaps to continue. Issues like the voluntary “may contain” statement are problematic. Currently, FALCPA does not require “May Contain” or “Shared Facility” advisories to appear on food labels. Discretion to provide that information to consumers is left to the manufacturer, which can be adequate with a conscientious manufacturer, less so with a manufacturer that is not.
As a result, SnackSafely.com has partnered with manufacturers to create a platform to share information regarding production methods, ingredients list and allergen prevention protocols. The platform allows SnackSafely.com to engage directly with manufacturers in order to create an updateable list of snacks that are allergy free. The intent is to foster even more transparency in food production and safety.
How It Works
SnackSafely.com works closely with manufacturers to evaluate products submitted for inclusion and to determine whether the manufacturer is known, has a good reputation for labeling for possible cross contamination and has a readily available, responsive and knowledgeable customer service department to answer questions about allergens and other information. Manufacturers submit information regarding their processed food products and how they are produced for inclusion in the guide.
Food products that meet all the requirements are then included in the SnackSafely Food Guide, grouped by categories including:
- Cheese Snacks
- Potato Chips
- Rice Snacks
- Corn Chips
- Peanut Butter Alternatives
- Granola/Trail Mixes
- Nutrition/ Cereal Bars
- Frozen Deserts
Food items included in the guide may also be accompanied by a symbol to let you know whether it is peanut, tree nut and egg free or if it’s peanut and tree nut free but contains egg or is processed in a facility that also processes egg.
Currently, the guide provides information regarding peanut, tree nut and egg allergens ad it’s being updated over the next several months to include 11 allergens, including the FALCPA 8 (peanut, tree nut, egg, soy, shellfish, milk, fish, and wheat) as well as gluten, mustard and sesame.
How Accurate Is the Guide?
Because the information is self disclosed by manufacturers, both in the SnackSafely Guide and FALCPA, it is impossible to guarantee accuracy. Nonetheless, participating manufacturers wish to provide a safe product to consumers and avoid violating FALCPA regulations. Additionally, SnackSafely.com invests a great deal of time in investigating and researching food products to ensure the information is accurate and up to date.
And because manufacturers often change their production methods and ingredient lists in packaged foods, the SnackSafely Guide is regularly updated. Each copy of the guide is stamped with three dates:
- The date the content was last updated
- The date the copy was downloaded from the SnackSafely website
- The date the copy expires, meaning the latest version should be downloaded
You may also subscribe to the website for updates and product advisories, which generally occur two to three times a month.
Even though the SnackSafely Food Guide may contain valuable information regarding allergen free snacks, it is still important to continue reading labels yourself as manufacturers may change ingredients or processes at any time.