Each May, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) dedicates a week to raising awareness around food allergies through events, social media, and education. This year, Food Allergy Awareness Week runs May 14-20.
Food allergies are severe and sometimes life-threatening conditions that affect more than 32 million Americans, including about 1 in 13 children, according to FARE. In the schools SAGE serves, 1 in 11 students has a food allergy.
A food allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a protein in a food. Reactions range from mild (e.g., hives) to severe (e.g., anaphylactic shock). In the United States, there are nine major allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, and sesame. In addition to those nine, Canada also recognizes gluten, mustard, and sulfites as major allergens. (These 12 allergens are known as “priority allergens” in Canada.)
Always aiming to set the standard, SAGE recognizes these 12 most common allergens. Our Registered Dietitians review every ingredient in our recipes and tag menu items that may contain one or more of the 12 major allergens. These allergen tags are listed on menus online and in the Touch of SAGE® app, as well as on digital and printed signs at each station in the dining hall. Menus online and in our app also feature an allergen filter, which helps community members quickly find menu items that don’t contain any of the top 12 allergens.
Currently, there isn’t a cure for food allergies, but there are ways to advocate for and support those with food allergies — even if you or your family members don’t have a food allergy. Check out the available FARE resources and educate your children on how they can keep their friends with food allergies safe through the Be a PAL® program. And be sure to follow along with FARE’s Food Allergy Awareness Week events and activities! There are many opportunities to be an #AllergyAlly!