When your child has to avoid nuts or other foods, you double-check everything.
And you double-check everyone. That includes my own husband, my parents and in-laws, my sons, and even the waiter at the fancy hotel who assures me his staff has been extensively trained in food allergies (see #4)
I even double-check myself, because when it comes to avoiding food allergens, I have to be perfect. Good enough is not good enough—and that is a freaking terrifying reality.
Please know that when you tell me your brownies are safe for my son and I say, “Do you still have the box for me to check?” I’m just doing my normal, triple-check thing.
Because mistakes can and do happen, and I know this because my husband and I have made them ourselves.
One time, my husband Dan accidentally bought cookies that had pecans buried in the middle of a long ingredient list, and my babysitter gave one to my son. They both read the label, but the pecans weren’t bolded (some companies choose to bold the top eight allergens, but there is no law requiring they do so).
Another time, I ran to a deli and bought my son an Italian combo hero without asking if it had nuts. I was in a rush, and I completely forgot to ask.
Big mistake. After two bites Gus said, “My mouth feels all itchy.” I ripped the sandwich apart and found Mortadella, an Italian bologna embedded with pistachios. We had to use the EpiPen and get to the ER.
Now we play it safe. When Dan brings home groceries, I scan the cereal boxes and pretzels as I put them away. And if I shop? We do it in reverse. We even read labels on snacks we’ve bought a gazillion times before, because they suddenly change, which can be super dangerous for kids with food allergies. Just recently, before scooping my favorite white tortilla chips into a bowl, I read the label and gasped (OK, maybe I said the F word) because it suddenly had a “made on shared line with tree nuts” warning label. Whaaat? I dumped the chips.