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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Don't Pass The Mustard

I read a piece this morning on mustard allergy. Even after the countless hours of research I have done, I was surprised to learn that a 2003 study found mustard allergy to be the fourth most prevalent allergy in children behind egg, peanut, and milk.

The article also presented an example of how overwhelming food allergy can be for parents. Here is a quote from the mother of a young girl who has anaphylaxis to peanuts and mustard:

[Emily would typically start preschool in the fall, but she will be held back a year. "I'm really considering looking into possibly home schooling unless there's something that I can really be assured she can be safe -- maybe a special place where the school is free of peanuts," Evans said. "Free of mustard is a stretch, a little bit.]

I remember having the same initial reaction. Over time you realize that despite your best efforts it is just not possible to completely avoid an allergen. It is important to practice avoidance but it is also important to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Home schooling is a matter of personal preference. Though our peanut allergic daughter will go through the school system, I do have to admit that I am already very nervous for her first day of preschool this fall. I also hold out hope that BC passes anaphylaxis legislation prior to her first day of kindergarten in 2010.

19 comments:

Gabs said...

I had no idea about the mustard allergy! I'll have to add that to my awareness list when I have kids over for playdates. Who knew???

Anonymous said...

I wish that manufacturers would put warning labels on products about mustard. My husband is also allergic to mustard. I try to remember to read all the labels before I feed him something. However, tonight I gave him some Cheeze Wiz and he had an allergic reaction to it because it had mustard flour in it. I never thought to look at the label because it was "cheese". Just goes to show you can never be too careful. I know what you moms are going thru and had to share that it's scarey for adults too!

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old has mustard allergy and it is very difficult - there is little information about and no one knows how extensive mustard as an ingredients is!

I can relate to wanting to home school - Everyone is so aware of Peanuts - which is awesome , but mustard is so hidden - and food companies would rather have you not buy their product than give you their ingredient list - and most will tell you if it says spice it might have mustard - oru silver lining is well we don't have to worry about falling into a fast food rut -

Anonymous said...

My 4 yo son has a mustard allergy. We discovered it on St. Patrick's day last year after he reacted to the spices in the corned beef dinner I prepared. Of all the common allergens, this is the one that I dread, because it can be in just about anything. Picnics are quite frustrating because mustard powder is a very common ingredient in homemade salads. And today I just learned it's often used in processed meats. It worries me more than his brother's nut allergies (peanuts & hazelnuts, primarily) because while his brother's reactions are relatively limited at this time (just hives so far), my older son's respiration is immediately affected by mustard. I would love to find resources on what foods to watch out for because right now, there's not much info out there.

Anonymous said...

My daughter, who has an egg and sesame allergy, was just skin tested today for mustard and it was positive. Needless to say, I feel that any label that says "spices" is off limits to her now as well. That includes hot dogs (which was the instigator for the spice/mustard test) as well as Italian and French dressings (which don't have egg!) My daughter does go to preschool, and at almost 3 already knows to ask if there is egg in it! Parents of kids with no food allergies really don't know how lucky they are not to have to worry about these things.

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was about 18 months old my husband and I gave her some bits of hotdog with honey mustard. She had great fun with it and it was all over her face and hair so I took pictures! When she was done I took her straight to the tub. When the mustard came off she had what looked like burns in the exact shape of the mustard splotches. She's kid #3 so I knew about allergies and gave her a dose of benedryl. She has not been officially tested but we check everything. She has had the same reaction with other things and eventually we narrowed it down to mustard. It has happened with things like syrop so it's not completly the mustards fault. If mustard is in the ingredients list we don't buy it. Some times if it's very far down the list we'll give it a try. She's 6 now and is able to tell me if she is having a reaction. Besides the burns/hives she'll have an upset stomach. She is very verbal about not having mustard because it will make her sick. Her school knows and they don't give her any. If she has a reaction they call. It's not a severe allergy but any allergy makes shopping and dining out an experiance! Diligence is the key.

Carol said...

I am Carol , mother of Emily . I am
really happy that I stumbled onto
this website tonight. My daughter
like many of your children in the posts has the mustard allergy, and the peanut allergy. Sixteen months ago we had the life altering experience of seeing what happens when an allergen like mustard could have taken our daughter's life. I have two older sons both w/o food allergies so my experience with food allergic children was limited. I was trained many years ago in Early Childhood Education before but food allergies were not as well discussed. My daughter was saved by the epi , the wonderful paramedics said that I saved her life. It made me feel good but it also made me realize how fragile life can be for all especially for those with food allergies. We have been very careful these past 16 months and have not had a mustard reaction. But it is pretty difficult for so many reasons : first this country doesn't publicize the problem as well as they should, the manufacturers don't have to list the mustard as an ingredient on food labels ( though in all of Europe England Ire u.k. France Italy etc it is #4 on the list of top 12 allergens just behind peanut), and mustard is so saturated into the food industry in foods of so many kinds like the posts said . I was told on one occasion by someone in Washington D.C. that perhaps a warning label should be on it but after he called the agency in charge he never would take my call again. So it seems that if you have the mustard allergy and millions do you have to fend for your child moreso than some of the other allergens. In the summer when I wanted to go down to our local lake for a band concert they were giving out hot dogs free to approx. 300 people !! I had to pass because the mustard would be all over the area etc. We only recently went to eat out in arest. in town after discussing Emily's allergy first. Fortunately it worked out well and felt like such a treat to be waited on after so long . Emily's playdates are usually outside at the playground
or places where food is not served
like the library , gym childs museum etc. But I wish people would be educated more to be more tolerant and understanding of the seriousness of food allergies . I wonder sometimes if those who have children with serious food allergies were making the laws in this country there would be more done to help.(though most parents are too busy caring and overseeing their child for avoidance of a reaction they do not have the time to be fighting the upward battle. Hopefully the food allergy awareness will be more open minded to mustard soon to avoid accidental serious reactions as my 4 yr. old daughter Emily had ( 3 at the time) In Europe testing includes mustard very early on. Hopefully we will catch up to our friends across the Atlantic to save lives . Best of luck and health Carol Emily's mom

Anonymous said...

I have a mustard allergy and it's a difficult one to have because it's in so many things you would never think of. Take for instance I recently purchase olive oil Mayo and after getting home started reading the label. You guessed it, it has mustard. So do some pickles, bbq sauces, some seafood boils like Old Bay...they just sneak it in everywhere. Sometimes, I don' t like eating out because you have to trust your server finds out if there is mustard in something. You also have to stress the allergy includes all mustard from your traditional yellow to mustard seed, powder and flour. Otherwise, they assume it's just the yellow table mustard. I hate it.

NoPeanuts said...

Thanks Carol. I appreciate your comments. I had no idea that mustard was so high on the list of allergens in the UK, though I was familiar with this allergy as my father-in-law has anaphylaxis to mustard. He actually discovered his allergy while behind the wheel, having a reaction to a burger he ate while driving on the highway. Scary.

We are the Guerra's! said...

I have a mustard allergy and have only met one other person who has the same thing. The symptoms I have is extreme nausea and vomiting after consuming mustard. I have been to the ER so many times for things I thought were food poisoning only to find out it was a reaction to mustard. I'm thankful it's not anaphylaxis, but I still have to be careful. I don't eat caesar dressing, potato salad, bbq sauce, any mayonnaise or products containing mayo, or anything that lists the mysterious "spices." If I'm at a party, I usually eat something beforehand just in case the food ingredients are questionable. If a restaurant staff member cannot tell me what it is in the ingredients for the food, I don't eat it. I get teased a lot by my husband's family, but part of keeping myself safe is letting everybody know. As an FYI, if you are planning to eat somewhere and have a moment ahead of time, call the place and ask to speak with the chef or check the restuarant's website. A lot of chains will put their menu on the web saving you time and the dreaded fish eye stare of the inexperienced waitperson or cashier. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is allergic to both peanuts and mustard. Does anyone know how to begin the process of requesting mustard be listed on food labels?

Anonymous said...

Dear Concerned Mothers of Children with Severe Food Allergies-

I am almost 26 years old and I have unfortunately grown up with severe allergies. Before I started 2nd grade I tested positive severely to all nuts, all shellfish, egg and dairy allergy along with numerous pollens, molds, animals, etc. I can understand a parent's concern when they have a young child with life threatening allergies, but I do not agree with keeping the child from living a normal life (i.e. going to school with other children, birthday parties, etc.) I was allowed to do everything any other kids were growing up, but my parents strictly taught me that I had severe allergies that could kill me. I met with the allergist a lot and it was drilled into my head how to use my inhaler (I also have asthma!) and my epi-pen. It was also drilled into me on how to ALWAYS ASK before eating something and to ALWAYS read ingredients.

All kids are smart enough to understand what an allergy is. And believe me having to bring my lunch instead of eating school hot lunch and never getting to eat a birthday cake totally sucked, but it was life. Every other aspect of my life is completely normal, I went to college, I have a job, I've ran 2 10k races-with asthma. There's nothing having severe allergies has stopped me from doing besides eating certain foods.

I recently just went to the allergist to find out that all my allergies are the same, but now I am severely allergic to mustard (crazy!) and I have a slight barely allergy-which comes out when I drink beer, so I have to avoid that now. Luckily my dairy allergy has vanished, but I was left being severely lactose intolerant and since I grew up eating soy, no dairy still is not a big deal.

WHAT TO EAT WHEN YOU HAVE ALLERGIES??----------------------

I live in Chicago and there is this AMAZING place called Karyn's Cooked where they carry Vegan cakes and let me tell you, they are AMAZING-no wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, totally allergen free! I know a lot of health food places carry vegan cakes as well, so your child can have a real birthday cake-because it is a big deal to have one when you're a kid!! :)

You can also make pancakes with no eggs and use soy milk. I love vanilla Silk. It is so good!! Just make sure there is no powered dairy or eggs in the mix.

Remember ALL M&Ms contain nuts, so if your child is severely allergic, DO NOT let them eat M&Ms. Also, any candy labeled "chewy" as in chewy runts, chewy gobstobers and shock tarts ALL contain egg albumen. Keep them away from these candies if they have an egg allergy.

Pillsbury pie crusts, crescent rolls, etc are delicious and dairy free!

Super dark premium choclate like 70% ghirelldellis has no dairy it it. Coca is not dairy! I love dark chocolate and it never bothers me.

My heart goes out to all parents with children who have allergies. My mother was so scared, but she taught me to be the responsible adult I am today. So remember your child will be just as responsible someday as long as they are taught from day one.

Sincerely,

Sarah

Carol said...

I have not looked on this website for quite some time. But I want to agree with Anonymous (of Nov 2008) that said that children must be taught about their food allergies and to have mothers(and fathers) teach them to go forward in life with activities etc. However I would as a parent say that being a parent is challenging enough with allergies that have allergens that are well known (like the "Major Allergens" in that they are printed on labels etc..etc.. but when you are dealing with for eg the mustard seed allergen and it is not printed nor even communicated in the way that it should be MUSTARD IS THE #4 MAJOR ALLERGEN IN ALL CIVILIZED COUNTRIES EG> U.K. >IRELAND GERMANY FRANCE ITALY SWEDEN........ and the rest it is a bit disheartening that we have to explain this to everyone . (especially in light of it's severity as allergen . So many people are unaware of the fact that close to 50% of those with peanut allergies have a mustard allergy as well. It sounds like anonymous perhaps you were as well . You mentioned in your post that you are now at 26 finding out about the mustard allergen that you have . I am sorry that you have this as my daughter (5) has this but knowledge is power and you will be probably having less reactions as you are now aware of this. For the time prior to my daughter having the severe mustard allergic reaction which was halted by me with the epi jr. we thought any reaction was from peanut as that wqas the only one that came out positive at her allergy blood test. Mustard was not screened though I am a firm believer that this mustard seed allergen should and eventually willbe no doubt routinely screened for in allergy Ige Cap Rast testing. I hope all those that have nut and especially peanut allergic children (or adults) get the info so to be able to rule mustard in or out. Hopefully legislation will come to the forefront to include mustard on the list as it is in all the other countries . We are all the same . It is a shame that no one is helping people to ask that this be done . I tried when my daughter's was discovered when she almost succombed to this tough allergen .I wrot4e and called agencies. But the answer was that it had not been defined as an allergen! Heck it does't even earn the right to be listed in foods but it is in foods and able to kill many people . This labeling and awareness should be brought up to equal status as it is in all the Major Countries (Europe 's 20 ) that are listing it #4 right behind peanut for children and for many adults that live with ???allergic reactions that they are not certain if its this or that it many often times is the mustard some doctors have said. Best of Health to everyone. And all parents want the best for their child's health and if they appear to be a little overly concerned it is precisely for this reason better to err on the side of caution while trying to teach responsibility to a young child who will when ready take the reins in their own care. At times it seems that the consensus at what age this should occur is not in . We should all be understanding of what challenges a person (no matter what age) has with food allergies. Even elderly people need help as well as all ages in treating and identifying their allergies .. More emphasis should be given in educating the public about this.

Carol said...

I just read online that Canada is adding mustard to their list of top major allergens and expect this to be completed by Jan. 2010. I am so happy to read this it will help so many people. I hope that the USA will join with adding the mustard allergen to the list of top Major Allergens as well. Europe has been listing since approx. 2004 -2005. It is such a serious allergen that it should be given a second chance at being listed. When my young 3 yr old (2 yrs ago)had a very serious reaction (which required epi-pen jr which I had to administer in the midst of this swift reaction) We had never heard of a mustard allergy. (The epi was for her known peanut allergy) and it had just been given to me 2 months prior) I am so thankful that i had it for my daughter . I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else that you would not have an epi pen jr or that you would not be aware of the mustard allergy . If you don't have the info and you avoid for eg peanuts til the cows come home and yet your child still gets reactions it may possibly be mustard . they say around 40% of peanut allergic individuals have both as they can go hand in hand. My opinion is that the mustard moves very swiftly and the upmost care must be made to avoid it. If labeling would occur in this country it would be so much better to at least have a heads up as to what is in the food or medicine product . I really hope that we catch up to all the(27) European countries and now to our neighbors to the north, Canada. This great country deserves at least this info. on its products to be on the same page as everyone else.

brita Forsstrom said...

Hi, I have been allergic to mustard all my life (now 57) and have suffered all the severe symptoms. For many years I also had minor symptoms and didn't know if they came from allergies or some other reasons. Then I discovered that mustard was part of the brassica family and when I cut out cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, horse radish, sweden and brussels sprouts I managed to stop these symptoms. Then rapeseed oil Canola) which is also related to mustard became common in all kinds of foods and now I have to be even more careful. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this link? Brita, London

Anonymous said...

I've had 4 anaphylactic reactions so far and survived thanks to 911 and the paramedics. I did not find out about my nustard allergy until I was 40 years old. Some of the parents complaining on this site are freaks (Emily's mother). Get a life and leave your daughter alone. I have lived all my life with allergies and my parents never even knew about them. Some of you are making a fuss and destroying your childrens' lives in the process. You are so desperate for attention that you are using your kids - get a life and let the kids be kids.

Anonymous said...

"peanut and mustard allergy go hand in hand..." where do you idiots get your info????????? I get anaphylactic reactions from mustard and yet eat peanuts without any problem - love hazelnuts, peanuts and walnuts. Get a life!!!!!!!!!!!1

evision said...

http://www.sangambayard-c-m.com

Renee said...

My 2 year old daughter is allergic to peanuts and mustard seed. There's no reason to deprive your child from life but you do need to be careful. There is no sense in putting your little one in danger. If you see "spices", "natural flavorings" or "natural spices", I found that calling or writing the company that produces the food is very helpful. If they are going to daycare, school, or a play date...pack their own meal, epi pen & benadryl and notify the teacher/parents/caregiver to be careful. I have yet to look into organic products but if anyone knows of any pickles, kielbasa, or other products that they trust to be mustard free...please let me know! Maybe someone should start a list of products that are mustard free to help other parents avoid this annoying allergy...