Food Allergy Myths about Organic, Natural and Allergen-Free Food
You might think that food grown organically would be free of allergens, but this is a misconception. Organic foods may be free of harmful pesticides, but they aren’t free of the proteins that cause allergic reactions.
As the popularity of organic and natural foods has evolved over the last 20 years, it’s easy to understand why many people think “If it’s organic or natural, it’s probably safe”. However, that does not mean these foods are ‘safe’ for those who suffer from food allergies.
The chart below represents the USDA requirements set forth for organic foods and shows differences between organic and natural. While there are benefits of organic food and natural, in some cases, remember that neither guarantee allergy safe.
Get more details about USDA Organic requirements here.
While there are beneficial aspects of organic food and even some natural food – keep in mind they DO NOT include food that is allergen-free. While there are a number of manufacturers producing allergen-free snacks and foods, it is best to always read the labels.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) provides details in “How to Read a Food Label” of the most prevalent food allergies. Print this out and keep it as an important reference, especially when shopping.
Another common misconception is about milk allergies. Some people think that if you are allergic to cow’s milk it is okay to use goat’s, sheep’s or mare’s milk as a substitute. Not true for hardly anybody. In most cases (about 90%), someone allergic to cow’s milk will also manifest allergies to the other kinds of milk. Without appropriate testing it is impossible to know for sure and therefore other animal milks should be avoided altogether.
Kids with Food Allergies, (KFA), is a division of AAFA and is a great resource with a list of manufacturers that make allergy-free snacks and foods. KFA also has an extensive section of allergy-free recipes. Here is a list of just some of the most popular allergy-free snack and food manufacturers, many of which also include organic ingredients in their products.
- Beach Bash Not Nuts! a nut-free trail mix that is fruity, salty and crunchy containing sweet dried pineapple, tangy dried apricots, tart dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Mountain Mambo Not Nuts! ELF’s original nut-free trail mix with a new name.
- Sunbutter Crunch a snack bar fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, made with golden rice crisps and peanut-free Sunbutter.
- All Enjoy Life products are free of the eight most common allergens, certified gluten-free (by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization), all-natural, trans fat-free and certified kosher.
- Organic Oatmeal Cookies
- Organic Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies
- Organic Brownie Chip Mini Cookies
- All Gak’s Snacks products are free of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and dairy, and use no wheat (though there can be traces in oats), no seeds, and the only soy is soy lecithin (in all but its new oatmeal cookies).
- Chicken Patties
- Lightly Battered Fish
- French Toast Sticks
- The three items above are part of Ian’s Red Banner product line and are made with no wheat, gluten, casein, milk, eggs, nuts or soy.
- Black Bean Tamale Verde Non-dairy/No cholesterol No trans-fat/No added MSG/No preservatives
- Rice Crust Spinach Pizza – Dairy-free, soy-based cheese, 100% pure herbs & spices; no hidden ingredients
- Ziti Kids’ Meal – Gluten- and dairy-free; no hidden ingredients.