I Attended My First Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group Meeting, May 27 2014

One of the best things I learned at Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference was the Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group (TAEG).

Last night,  May 27, 2014, I attended my very first Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group Meeting…why did it take me so long?

Anyone living with anaphylaxis in the Toronto area should really check them out…great support network!

A few of the people there I recognized from Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference. Click here for my post on attending the event.

The meeting I attended, What’s in the food? Labeling/Dining Out, was very informative.

Marilyn Allen, Foodservice Consultant for Anaphylaxis Canada, gave a thorough overview of food labeling in Canada and introduced the now available employee training program available through Anaphylaxis Canada in collaboration with TrainCan Inc….Allergen Training For the Foodservice and Food Retail Industry.

Anaphylaxis Canada states, “The program covers the basics of food allergy and anaphylaxis (what it is, signs and symptoms, and emergency plan) and teaches managers the principles necessary to develop allergen risk management procedures that are specific to their own company’s environment.  These include ways to identify and manage risk and how to avoid cross-contamination through proper storage, handling, cooking, and serving practices.”

I will definitely be contacting the Foodservices Department at the University that Michael chooses to make them aware of this fantastic allergen training opportunity.

What else did I learn?

ALWAYS READ THE INGREDIENT LIST of pre-packaged food for food allergens before you purchase, before you open and before you consume.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) labelling requirements states, “All labelling information that is provided on food labels or in advertisements, as required by legislation, must be accurate, truthful and not misleading.” Click here for more information.
Voluntary statements on pre-packaged foods such as ‘may contain’ and ‘made in a faculty…’ are just that…voluntary. ALWAYS READ THE INGREDIENT LIST.
-If a restaurant is unable to tell you the ingredients in a meal…do not eat there.
-If you suspect that you have had an allergic reaction to a product…contact the company, contact the CFIA and keep the product for scientific analysis.

Also in attendance…Sherry Mahon, President of Lily Safe Foods.  Sherry is the grandmother of Lily who has food allergies.  Sherry is in the process of conducting an anonymous survey on her website for input on her new business venture…Lily Safe Foods. 

Sherry states on her website, “Lily Safe Foods is a start up business that will provide people who suffer from the top 10 food allergens (dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, mustard, sesame, tree nuts or peanuts) the option of purchasing single serving meals in a pouch that are delicious, safe, convenient and since they go through a “canning” process will last in your cupboard for up to one year.” 

Perhaps a great option for my university bound son with multiple food allergies.

The Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group’s list of meeting dates will be available in the summer.

Hope to see you at the next meeting!

 

 

 

Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference, May 10, 2014

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month…what better way to spend it than at a day dedicated to food allergies.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014,  that is just where you would have found me…attending Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

What a day! I hardly know where the time went…so fast, I even forgot to run out and grab my lunch from the car!

At the morning parent session…I think I may have been one of the oldest mom’s in the group with a son with multiple food allergies ready to graduate from high school.

My table of 6 parents, including myself, consisted of a couple of mom’s with a child with food allergies entering JK, a mom of a girl in Grade 3 and parents of another child who I think was also in Grade 3.

The morning was all about “Partnering And Planning With Your School”.

The registering of one’s child with anaphylaxis in the school system was a big topic. Understanding the law and responsibilities of the school, providing resources on your child with anaphylaxis’ allergy management, creating an Action Plan and effective communication tools for parents were all covered.

Complete with a very ‘Oscar worthy’ role-play example performance!

All the information regarding the morning session can be found at The Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group (TAEG).  Click here.

I really liked the ‘electronic binder information’ they have all ready for one to download…  I wish I had that resource way back when!

The afternoon session, “Managing food allergies:  Working together for a safer future” also flew by.

Great speakers from Anaphylaxis CanadaKyle Dine and three members of the Youth Advisory Panel from Why Risk It? discussed and answered questions on bullying and Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada moderated a great discussion on food labelling.

Dr. Adelle Atkinson’s , MD, FRCPC talk on “A Buffet of truths and myths about food allergy” easily kept the attention of all with her wit and humour.

Many exhibitors waited in the hallway for us all to descend upon them during our morning and afternoon breaks and lunch.

Exhibitors…such as Allerject (I picked up some posters and an Allerject trainer for my boys’ high school), EpiPen (I picked up some posters and an EpiPen trainer for my boys’ high school), Allergic Living Magazine (I happily subscribed for another 2 years), Medic Alert, and SunButter (my favourite being the Organic SunButter I asked if they could please make a crunchy version!)...just to name a few.

So what did I learn at this event?

1)  I was inspired to pick up as much information as I could from the exhibitors to bring back to my boys’ high school to present at the School Council Meeting on May 14, 2014.

2)  It made me realize, my boys’ high school website needs to contain information about registering a student with anaphylaxis.  Adding such information would be a welcoming sight for parents registering a student with anaphylaxis…the Principal agreed.

My experience at the high school level has taught me that not all parents feel the need to inform their child’s high school of their anaphylaxis.  Shocking I know!

By including anaphylaxis information on my boys’ high school website, I hope to bring awareness and encourage all parents of high school children with anaphylaxis to notify the Principal of their child’s anaphylaxis.  Set up a meeting with the Principal, review and fill out an Action Plan and provide the high school with an auto-injector for the office.

Continuing to be advocates at the high school level sets a good example for our children with anaphylaxis…for in only 4 years, you will be passing the torch!