Update

I have been silent since my last blog post which was my initial response to SnackSafely’s attack on me. I took time to digest it all, and between rehearsal for a show I am in, and other matters that came up, I didn’t want to rush my thoughts. I do feel I need to clear the air on my side, because I can’t just let it be. It was too vicious, and yet again tells me so much about the food allergy world.
One of the things that is so troubling about the ordeal is that not only was I verbally attacked by SnackSafely but I also was mistreated by multiple bloggers who support SnackSafely. What is my crime to deserve such treatment? Is it because I don’t subscribe to the peanut being the one allergen to fear? That I don’t believe that schools should be nut free? Or that I believe that other food allergies are just as life threatening as peanuts? It’s true, I do have a different view on these subjects. Could it be that is what has them so very angry?
Truly, I wish no harm to SnackSafely, but I do have very valid concerns and I am only asking that they simply address them, nothing more. After all, the company is in a position to make a very positive difference to so many in the food allergy community. Instead, this company, chose to blocked me and anyone who disagrees with them. I find that disturbing. Shouldn’t a food allergy focused company want to hear how they can serve the food allergy community better? Why wouldn’t they?
The fact is, I was slandered by SnackSafely, over a 3 day period, in a very public forum–Twitter–for the whole world to see. When one person asked what proof SnackSafely had for the things they accused me of, they said they didn’t need proof. The head of the peanut board actually came on Twitter and stated that all that was said about me was not true. Still, SnackSafely refused to apologize or remove tweets. Let me add that I had been blocked by SnackSafely for months, ever since the Kellogg’s debacle. Then suddenly, the other day,, I was unblocked by them and a few of their friends, and just as suddenly, I was blocked again, now unable to see their tweets or to defend myself to them. It could not possibly have been a fluke since a blogger–close to SnackSafely–direct messaged me out of the blue just two days prior to this incident, to ask if I ever wrote for the peanut board. Coincidence? I think not.
I even tried to take the high road and sent SnackSafely an email, asking to work together for ALL people with food allergies, but first I needed an apology. Not an unreasonable request considering what had transpired on Twitter. I got a reply–would I be interested in a phone call? I wrote back that I would not consider a phone call until I receive an apology, and that the ball was in their court. I could not talk to someone who treated me so badly. Silence. And so, the tweets are still there, no acknowledgment of wrongdoing of any kind, and amazingly, some people think this behavior is acceptable. It is NOT.
Let me make it very clear what my issues are. There is no such thing as a “safe snack” list. I don’t like that the Safe Snack Guide by SnackSafely is ONLY a nut free list, which now just happens to have a few top 8 items on it. The fact is, it’s really still a nut free list and SnackSafely openly advocates for schools to go nut free but does nothing to raise awareness of other food allergies or the fact that every food allergy is equally dangerous. Anaphylaxis is anaphylaxism no matter which food allergy causes it. You can view my open letter to SnackSafely and see the direct quotes from their own web site. I am sorry to say, Snacksafely still has not addressed my concerns that I raised in my open letter.
I don’t want kids put in danger. The current setup with the Safe Snack Guide does put kids in danger, and my concern with the new school sample program is that it was again really nut focused. How will people without food allergy knowledge know that Skeeter Snacks are not safe for all with top 8 allergens when it’s just a nut free snack, and it actually contains 4 of the top 8 allergens? There has been more than one report of someone having anaphylaxis from Skeeter Snacks because they thought it was an allergy friendly snack for the top-8.
We must be very careful in the message we give, because not everyone is familiar with food allergies. The Safe Snack Guide has Pirate’s Booty listed as a safe snack, but that snack is not safe for a classroom with the dairy allergy. How would a staff member unfamiliar with food allergies know that? Ultimately, this is still a nut free list, and having the other allergens on it makes it confusing to others. That is my issue and I think that is a reasonable concern. So it seems because I am speaking out and looking out for the safety and awareness of all other allergens, I was slandered and attacked publicly. Is this really what the online food allergy world has become? My concerns are about the safety of my children and other children with food allergies. Isn’t that an issue of great importance to all parents of children with food allergies? Don’t we all just want our kids to be safe? Is it too much to ask, especially for a food allergy business and food allergy bloggers, that we at least listen to each other with respect? All allergies matter. Let’s show it in our actions, not just in words. No food or snack lists truly can be labeled “safe”…not with over 100 foods causing allergic reactions.

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