In midst of my ten minutes of half-hearted browsing before purging my "Family Fun" into the recycle bin of broken Pinterest Mommy dreams, it was the series of ads that literally leaped off of the page and into my consciousness. Are these ads suggesting that allergy moms are at the center of a food revolution?
|Not so fast... the articles are great, but what do the ads say?|
For the pharmaceutical industry, 3 out of 4 ads in Family Fun were related to allergy. I will remind you that this is NOT Allergic Living, where I would expect a high number of ads to relate to allergy.
Followed by epinephrine autoinjector wars (I might add that I'm happy to see autoinjectors heavily marketed to broad audiences - certainly better awareness for those of us dealing with anaphylactic allergies):
Okay, so that was big pharma. How about big food? Certainly, the usual suspects of various packaged fruit sauces and juices make an appearance, but what else?
Kraft heavily markets their recent removal of artificial colors from their flagship product, Macaroni & Cheese (clearly a demand won by American consumers for less "junk" in our food!):
|Cheese with no fake orange, please.|
But let's not stop at "better" food for people. We can't forget our pets, too.
The marketing sounds great - with all the correct buzzy healthy sounding words. But let's look at the ingredients, which allergy moms are so well versed in reading...
My question is - why do food manufacturers (regardless of whether for people or pets) go through the effort of disclosing so much only to fall so short by including non-descriptive "natural flavors" as an ingredient? As someone who deals with multiple allergies outside of the "top 8" allergens (such as sesame), I have to assume that the "natural flavor" is an allergen and I won't buy your product. If Kraft can change their ways due to demand, then we must demand better than meaningless terms such as "natural flavors" and "spices." As those who either have or care for individuals with food allergies, we can lead the way in our "demands." Fellow food allergy blogger, Homa Woodrum, has helped immensely with the Center for Science in the Public Interest's push to mandate labeling of sesame, which currently may fall under terms like "natural flavors" and "spices." (Please check out her page for how you can help!). Even if you don't deal with a sesame allergy, all of us helping who deal with food allergies is a small step in the right direction. #15millionstrong
Perhaps the biggest surprise of my perusal of "Family Fun" was this:
The intersection of big food and big agriculture. Yes - this is an ad for Monsanto.
So, yes - food and agriculture industry. Let's start an "even better conversation." How about one where what is in our food is fully disclosed. We in the allergy community can lead the way for all because for us - disclosure of what is in our food is not an option.