Our Adventures

  • 28 May 2014

    Win a Food Allergy Safety Poster (and read about my 'back to school' adventure)

    Posted: 28 May 2014

    When I was little, I didn't imagine that I would grow up to be someone who teaches 350 kids how to dance like a monkey made out of beetroot. And yet that is what I found myself doing 10 days ago. 

    The scene was a primary school assembly in Berkhamstead, and the reason I got those innocent souls learning how to dance the Gangnam/Beetroot Monkey mash up? Because I was there to raise awareness about food allergies.

    Regular readers will know that in January I was awarded a grant by the Wellcome Trust to develop an online workshop for schools. The workshop will raise awareness about food allergies in a fun and informative way, and will give teachers the resources to teach children about a range of food allergy-related topics. Topics will include: how the immune system responds to allergens, how children can help keep their friends with food allergies safe, how to spot an allergen in a list of ingredients, and cross-contamination. Read more about the  Allergy Adventures® Online Workshop for Schools 

    So, back to the school assembly and the beetroot monkey *cough* who features in my  dairy free storybook. I was in the school to road test my initial lesson plans, because it's all very well me thinking up good ideas and fun activities in front of my Mac, but what if they don't work when played out to a classroom full of children?

    Well, the news from the teaching front line is good. The kids LOVED the food allergy awareness lesson! Children learned how to become expert detectives, scanning every food label for allergens, as they can pop up in the most unusual places. They couldn't believe that milk could be in some brands of salt and vinegar crisps, or that there are no prawns in most prawn cocktail flavoured ones! But of course I hit them with the golden rule that people with food allergies 'always need to check every label first'.

    One child was so absorbed by his worksheet, that he took it home and carried on working. Gotta love that commitment to learning about food allergies. And the cherry on the cake was that a mum of a child with food allergies later emailed me to say:

    "Nellie told me that the best part of having you in school was that her friends understood her allergies. She also said that she would have liked to have heard more of your stories as they were 'great'."

    So: a really encouraging day out for me, some food allergy awareness raising for them, and now I just have tons of work to do to continue developing this lesson and the rest of the lesson plans, videos and activities. Love it. But there's more…the day in school gave me an idea! (I can't help myself. My brain is constantly whirring.)

    Win an Allergy Adventures® Food Allergy Safety Poster for your school or nursery.
    As part of the lesson I gave in the school, the children were surprised to learn how allergens can appear in all kinds of foods, where you wouldn't expect to find them.  

    As allergy parents and carers, hunting for allergens in ingredients lists is a way of life, so I thought it would be interesting to know the most unusual places that you've found an allergen listed in the product ingredients and to share them with you all afterwards.

    Maybe you've found nuts in soap? Or milk in jam? Hit me with your 'allergens found in odd places' list! (Although not to be confused with the hoo-ha Tesco have caused with their 'May contain' labelling. The allergen has to be used as an ingredient, therefore I'm afraid products with trace warnings will not be included.)

    The top ten #oddspots will win an Allergy Adventures® Food Allergy Safety Poster to pin up in their school, nursery or activity club.

    Here's how to enter:
    To enter the competition, get in touch naming the product and the allergen that it contained. You can email me at: hello@allergyadventures.com or share your answers with me on Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtag, #oddspot. Closing date for entries is Monday 9th June, 2014. Winning entries will be announced in a blog post shortly after the closing date. The odd-er, the better but remember the allergen has to be listed as an ingredient on the food product label. Oo photos are welcomed too. Good luck!

    If you use the hashtag #oddspot, we could keep our unusual finds going even after the competition, to highlight allergens that we find in the future. Would this be useful? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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