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Food Allergy Awareness – The Real Teal

Oct 30, 2014

By Dean George

Halloween is Friday night, and along with the usual trick or treating witches, ghosts, ghouls and front porch pumpkins, there’s a new tradition in town: teal pumpkins.

What’s the zeal for teal? Teal is color code for food allergy awareness. Begun just a year ago by the Food Allergy Committee of East Tennessee, the national nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education organization (FARE) has adopted the Halloween food allergy banner and taken it national for Halloween 2014.

Food Allergy Awareness – The Real Teal

By placing a teal pumpkin on their front porch, people are letting children with food allergies and their parents know that they have worry-free treats available. This makes trick or treating safer for children with food allergies and is one less thing for parents to worry about.

FARE says one in 13 kids suffers from a food allergy and there has been a 50% rise in the number of children with food allergies since 1997.

Until now children with food allergies would go trick or treating like their friends but would have to give much of their candy away. The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect for those with allergies.

“I was that Mom who used to think the peanut moms were crazy, and now I’m that crazy peanut mom,” said Michigan mother Julia Lupo. Lupo’s little girl is allergic to nuts and fish and when she was 2 ½ she had to be taken to an emergency room when she bit into a Snickers bar.

While awareness of the project is growing, there’s no way to gauge the participation level, FARE says. “What I can tell you is that our first two Facebook posts about the campaign have reached 5.2 million people and were shared 52,000 times,” said Veronica LeFemina, a spokeswoman for FARE.

There are a few ways households can make Halloween fun and safe for children suffering from allergies:

  • Offer non-food items like glow sticks, bracelets or necklaces, stickers, crayons, stencils, tattoos, mini-note pads and bookmarks to those with food allergies.
  • Ask trick or treaters if they have any food allergies and give them a choice of candy or a non-food item.
  • Keep the food treats and non-food treats in separate handout bowls.

When considering items other than candy to handout, remember some non-food items may also contain allergens. For example, some toys may be made of latex so kids with latex allergies could be affected. Likewise those with wheat allergies should not be given Play-Doh samplers.

Non-food treats to handout at Halloween are widely available at party supply stores, dollar stores and online. This week’s Agent Straight-Talk blog offered some alternatives to traditional Halloween candy like Xylitol gum, organic lollipops and string cheese snacks.

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, go to foodallergy.org

Sources: foodallergy.org, freep.com
Photo source: goodnessgraciousliving.com


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