I Disregarded a Possible Allergen in an Ingredient List: A Confession

I feel really lucky at this moment because I made a mistake, a HUGE mistake. Thankfully, Tristan is ok.

A little background: We think Tristan has an allergy to almonds. He used to drink almond milk daily and was incredibly itchy. After stopping the milk, the itching stopped. So, now, as far I as I know, he hasn’t had almonds for about a year. No, I take that back, he tried a bite of yogurt made from almonds the other day (completely dairy free) and he got a little pink around his mouth, so he didn’t have any more. I avoid almonds now because I just don’t know if he could have developed a more severe reaction to them, like he did with dairy not long ago. Blood and skin testing was always negative, like most everything else – even for his anaphylaxis to dairy.

Back to the present: He’s been eating these crazy healthy gluten-free snacks for several months now, from ShaSha Co. They’re organic, raw, vegan, with no added sugar, and contain prebiotics. Just a really great product. He eats a few here and there for “dessert,” but doesn’t eat them religiously.


Yesterday I got a new bag out and checked the ingredient label like I usually do for a new package of a favorite food item. Just wanting to make sure the company didn’t add anything new and unwanted in the item.

And what did I read in the ingredient list? Almonds! What??!!! I snatched the bag away from Tristan and quickly explained that mama made a mistake and these snacks may actually contain almonds. He was totally fine. Didn’t make a sound of protest. I guess his only anaphylactic episode is still to recent and at the top of his mind.

Surely, this company has just recently added almonds to their snacks. I would have clearly seen almonds in the ingredient list before. I am SO careful!

I take a bite just to see if they taste the same to me. Hmmm…they taste exactly the same. Adding almonds probably would have given them a slightly different taste. And they sure do look the same.

At that point a big, hard, rock started to form in the pit of my stomach. I emailed the company and asked them if they’d recently added almonds. They quickly replied and said, no, always contained almonds.

Oh man. Wow. I missed it……what if Tristan had a reaction?!

MAJOR Mom Guilt!

But…he didn’t have a reaction. He’s been eating a little bit of almonds for months now apparently and without reacting. But, I don’t feel safe testing almonds on him at home anymore, so we’ll wait and talk to his new allergist about it. No more Sha Sha snacks for now. Hopefully we can do an in office food challenge and see how it goes. I’d love to be able to give Tristan almonds from time to time. Unlike most his other allergens, almonds are actually healthy and I hate that he’s missing out on them.

So, lesson learned. We make mistakes – as hard as we try not to – it happens. I am certainly humbled by this experience and am thankful everything turned out ok.

Now it’s your turn, confession time. What colossal mistakes have you made in regards to your child’s health? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one that put their child at a HUGE risk…..

It’s time to get it off your chest. Trust me, it feels good to confess 🙂

FROM: Allergies


  1. Zen Honeycutt on May 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Most likely it was not the almonds, the do not contain the same enzyme as walnuts, pecans etc that can spark allergens. Most likely the almond milk had Carageenan in it which is very allergenic for some. It can cause stomach ulcers which can lead to stomach cancer.

    • Jennifer on May 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Zen. Yes, I’m familiar with carageenan and am not the biggest fan. But he does drink hemp milk on occasion and is fine. But who really knows. AT least he was fine and now we know he can eat almonds on occasion. I’m familiar with your group – love it! Jennifer

  2. Vee on May 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    That really is scary for a Mum! Thank God he didn’t have any reaction to it though! You know this can happen to anyone, and part of it is that the ingredients list are so tiny and hard to read! Haha!

    • Jennifer on May 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Oh yes – those darn ingredient lists – it’s like trying to break cryptic code.Yes, I am thankful he was ok. Thank you for your comment Vee! Jennifer

  3. Selena Bluntzer on May 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    (((HUGS))) Oh, you are certainly not the only one. I haven’t done anything recently, but I certainly had a big enough mistake with the “milk incident” where I baked the bread with milk protein in it, when I confused the boxed mixes, about 2 1/2 years ago and my poor sweet baby DID have a reaction.

    I also bought what I thought was “safe” granola, once, for my husband to eat (not for my daughter to eat) and it had ground flax in it and my daughter’s allergic to flax. :/ It wasn’t much of a close call, since she was never going to eat it, but it was a mistake, nonetheless, since I had declared it “safe”.

    • Jennifer on May 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Oh Selena – I forgot about that story! I believe I read about it on your blog. We can get together in Vegas and unload all this guilt 🙂 I think as allergy parents we’ve deeply imbedded all these potential dangerous ingredients in our minds, so much so, that we almost operate on auto pilot half the time. I feel like a well oiled machine that just doesn’t break down – so when I miss something it feels like such failure. Sigh. What can we do except get past it and move on. And thank the stars our kids are ok despite our human errors. Jennifer

      • Zen Honeycutt on May 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

        Moms my son almost died twice from nuts and our overlooking ingredients in foods. Then despite our best efforts he developed a new allergy. Carageenan. When that happened I asked WHY could he eat a hot dog one day but not the next? What is going on with our food??? I researched and found out the genetically modified foods, in our 80% of our food supply since 1996, has foreign proteins in it which can irritate the stomach lining and cause inflammation…which can lead to leaky gut and permiability. Tiny particles of food can escape ( whatever is in their stomach) and the body attacks that particle like a foreign invader. Poof. Allergy to previously harmless foods like eggs, milk, carageenan etc. GMOs affect everyone differently, some not at all perhaps, but the problem is, especially with kids, every bite is a gamble.
        As Moms, we believe GMOs can weaken the immune system and that affects the rise in autism, allergies an auto immune diseases, all which are skyrocketing 400-1500% in the past 15 years since GMOs were put in our food. Allergies can cause stomach ulcers which cause stomach cancer, This is not something just to slap a cream on.
        It also can affect fertility, Rats that ate GMOs were sterile by the third generation. Please join Moms Across America ( all volunteer) in joining 4th of July parades and letting America know about GMOs.

        • Jennifer on May 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

          Hi Zen – Definitely agree GMOs are part of the problem, but there are other troublesome issues going on with our food, environment and medicine today that are probably collectively leading to the increase in health conditions we’re seeing today. Jennifer

          • Zen Honeycutt on May 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

            I agree Jennifer…the problem is that one of the most prevalent chemicals in the environment is one that is sprayed on GMOs. Glyphosate. ( In RoundUp) Google ‘Glyphostae and modern diseases”. They last stopped counting in 2077 and they were dumping 189 million pounds on our food, school yards and parks. Glyphosate suck out the vital nutrients in any living thing…essentially weakening its immune system or as one scientist said “basically giving the plant AIDS”…over time, it is weakening our immune system…so when kids getthings like vaccines, or are exposed to harmful toxins or cancer causing agents, it is my opinion, that the immune system is weakend and they get sick. The problem with GMOs- mostly corn, sugar ( from sugar beets), soy, wheat ( yes, even non gmo wheat because they use Roundup as a drying agent) has glyphosate ON the plant and it absorbs in. IT CANNOT BE WASHED OFF! I did not know this. We ingest the glyphosate, 70% is eliminated but 30% stays in our bone marrow and draws out vital nutrients. My doc says she has seen a huge spike in 30 year old with borderline osteoporosis, like me, or anemic, like me.
            The othe rproblem is that Astra Seneca, Bayer, and Phizer Pharmeceutical UpJohn ( Parent company of Monanto) all make the herbicides and pestcides they spray in our environment and then they all make the drugs or medicines to make us better. It’s a perfect profit circle for them. We have to break that profit circle buy going GMO FREE. If we don’t buy it, they can’t sell it. If we don’t get sick, we don’t need their drugs. The media is not going to tell us this because they get money from these big pharmacueticals/pesticide/herbacide companies via commercials. It’s up to us Moms to tell each other and to stop buying GMOs.
            Please join us on http://www.momsacrossamerica.com to spread the word. We are all volunteer moms that want a healthy future for our kids.

          • Jennifer on May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

            Interesting about the wheat – considering it is one of the top 8 food allergens…….

          • Zen Honeycutt on May 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

            Oh in your response about Carageenan I agree it is not a traditional allergen..times are changing though, neither were nuts, dairy or wheat 25 years ago…..what happens when we eat GMOs over time, doctors say, is that the foreign protein irritates their stomach lining and causes inflammation. Inflammation can cause permeability, which is leaky gut, and whatever they are eating, a tiny particle escapes through the hole in the stomach lining ( in my sons case it was carageenan) and then body then recognizes that undigested particle of food like a foreign invader. Bam! Allergy. BAM! More inflammation. More inflammation can lead to stomach ulcers, which can lead to stomach cancer. This is why so many kids are allergic to so many different kinds of foods.

      • Zen Honeycutt on May 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

        Oh I forgot to add that my son went GMO free and 4 mnths later was accidentally exposed to Carageenan in toothpaste at dentist office and his reaction was barely perceptible! He is HEALING. His immune system is STRONGER. Kids with autism and auto immune issues too..get better off GMOs!!

        • Jennifer on May 13, 2013 at 8:48 am

          Hi Zen – Interesting – perhaps he’s allergic to the product carageenan is derived from because I don’t believe all carageenan is genetically modified. From what I understand it’s derived from seaweed, but then is chemically processed, not necessarily genetically modified. I’m not an expert by any means. Jennifer

  4. Ariel on May 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    You can read about my Mommy Fail moment here: https://letsnotberash.blogspot.com/2013/04/mommy-fail.html

    • Jennifer on May 9, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Hi – So glad your little girl was ok too! Love that you took all your kids out for ice cream. What a great mom! Jennifer

  5. Courtney on May 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Oh boy, you’re human don’t sweat it!!! I don’t have a kid to read labels for, but sometimes even when I’m reading labels for MYSELF I have to say out loud “what else am I allergic to, what am I missing?? Can I have this?” It’s hard to be so conscious about it all the time, so go easy on yourself 🙂

    • Jennifer on May 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

      It is SO hard reading labels! Wish they weren’t written in cryptic code…ha! Thanks for your comment Courtney!

  6. Adrianah Seely on May 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Our food has changed so much over the last 60 years. Even the nutrition is what 50% less. So the challenge goes how do we deal. We can sign all the petitions we want to but the fact remains our food has been tampered with and is not going back to 1930’s quality. I tried NEAT but the expense and time was so much I gave up. A friend of mine told me about The Allergy Kit, so I did some research. It is as weird as NEAT but also has scientific verification. So I purchased it because also it is so inexpensive I decided to give it a try. WOW to my surprise it actually worked. I did have to do the process twice but it cost me no extra money. Also I had some allergies that were not in the kit so had to purchase 5 additional vials separate. I am so happy I did. The difference in my over all wellbeing is so great I wouldn’t go back to the way I was for anything. If you would like go to The Allergy Kit and do your own research and give them a call. They are very helpful.

    • Jennifer on May 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Adrianah – It’s funny you mention the Allergy Kit. I am trying it now and I’ve seen my sugar cravings go way down, but each time I treat myself for dairy – I get sick for one week. Ugh. I guess that shoes it’s working, but I’m scared to continue. I have an appt with the product creator this week, so I hope she has some advice for me. I have finished the first round and was starting the second round, like you. Jennifer

  7. Karen @ Folk Haven on May 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    So it’s possible to still have a life threatening allergy to something yet fail to test as allergic? I ask because the two times my son has been accidentally exposed to peanuts he’s gotten a couple of hives, yet his skin test was negative for the allergy. Should I still be worried then? I still planned to with-hold them until after the age of 5 but maybe introducing them then isn’t such a good idea.

    • Jennifer on May 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Karen –

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s possible as allergies can change at the drop of a hat, BUT, you don’t want to withold foods that could be harmless and can provide valuable nutrients. In your case, since your child has experienced hives from peanuts twice, I’d steer clear of them if it was my child. Hives are a definite reaction, which could potentially worsen. There are some people that believe quite the opposite in that hives isn’t a severe reaction and so they would continue to feed the child peanuts in hopes that the body remembers peanuts are not a danger. Sadly, it’s not an exact science. Go with your gut and ask your allergist what they recommend.


  8. Betty Dennis on May 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    sorry – I was posting on the laundry ball thread and wordpress had fits about my log in. so I used FB to log in and …ended up posting here. Now that I’ve actually read the thread, my heart goes out to those coping with food allergies. I keep seeing alerts how foods have not been labeled correctly for food allergens. It must be hard to trust

  9. Kerri on June 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this information, forgive me if it has…don’t have time to read all comments. This information is based on reading and my sister’s experiences with anaphylactic shock, multiple times. My guess is that the reason the allergy tests come back normal for these anaphylctic episodes is because it is not a true allergy. It is usually due to a leaky gut, and the undigested food enters the blood stream and causes the “allergic reaction”. For my sister she came down with a peanut allergy, that sent her to the hospital. Then a couple of years later she ended up in the hospital from onions, and then the next time it was something else. She was starting to be afraid to eat food at all!

    If you haven’t already, please get ahold of the book, Gut and Pshycology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride. At first glance you may not think it has anything to do with your child, but she does address food allergies in the book. Allergies are the expression of a messed up immune system. The diet, along with the probiotics, heal the gut, closing the holes, and fixes your immune system, and adrenals. My sister was able to eat all the foods that sent her to the hospital. My children’s allergies, OCD, and constant illness are gone. It is not enough to just take the offending foods away. And, btw, I have 7 children, with varying degrees of allergies and ‘illness’, so I know this works.


    • Jennifer on June 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Kerri – Yes, I think you’re right. Most the false negatives are probably because the food is more of a sensitivity or intolerance and may show up in an IgG test, not a true allergy test for IgE antibodies. Thank you for pointing that out. You’re not the first one to recommend this book – I’ve heard about it quite a bit. I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks! Jennifer

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