In the latest episode of "A New Perspective,” host Tim Sutton delves into the world of food allergies with special guest Tiffany Leon, Assistant Director of Training and Professional Programs at Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). This episode, titled "S3E10: Maneuvering the world of FARE," sheds light on the often-overlooked challenges faced by individuals with food allergies, providing insights into FARE's resources and initiatives, including the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Understanding the Host
Tim Sutton, a retired law enforcement officer with over 33 years of experience, has dedicated the past two decades of his career to working with families dealing with disabilities. Focusing on invisible disabilities, Tim brings attention to conditions that may not be readily apparent but significantly impact individuals' lives.
Advocate: Tiffany Leon
Tiffany Leon, a registered dietitian, joined FARE in 2020 as the Senior Manager of Training and Professional Programs. Tiffany supports the development of educational materials and training programs for key target audiences, including registered dietitians or other healthcare professionals, commercial foodservice operators, and of course, those with food allergies! Tiffany is passionate about raising awareness and advocating for those managing food allergies and other dietary restrictions.
Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple way to make trick-or-treating safer and more inclusive for the 1 in 13 children living with food allergies and many others impacted by food intolerances, medically restricted diets, and other conditions. Placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep signals that, in addition to candy, you offer a separate bowl of non-food trinkets and treats that are safe for all trick or treaters. Over the last 10 years, the Teal Pumpkin Project has grown to become part of the fabric of Halloween in all 50 U.S. states and in countries on 6 continents.
Prevalence of Food Allergies: It is estimated that 1 in 13 children is affected by food allergies, with some allergies persisting into adulthood. The 9 most common food allergens in the U.S. are peanut, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish and sesame.
Teal Pumpkin Project Essentials: Tiffany emphasizes the importance of separating non-food treats from candies to avoid cross-contact. Examples of non-food treats include glow sticks, bubbles, stickers, stencils, crayons, and more.
Education and Training: FARE offers a free training, “Save a Life: Recognizing and Responding to Anaphylaxis,” to educate individuals on how to respond if someone is experiencing an allergic reaction. This training is recommended for various professionals, including law enforcement officers, to enhance their understanding of severe allergic reactions. This training can be found on the FARE YouTube Channel and The Food Allergy Academy.
Growing Out of Allergies: While some children may outgrow certain allergies like milk or eggs, it is more common for peanut and tree nut allergies to be lifelong. While the primary treatment for food allergies is avoidance, oral immunotherapy is an emerging treatment option to desensitize individuals to allergens, though this should be done under the supervision of an allergist.
Healthcare Professionals' Role: Diagnosis of a food allergy may be tricky and should be done by an allergist. Registered dietitians may help an individual with food allergies avoid foods that may cause a reaction but include foods to meet their unique dietary needs.
Making a Difference
As Halloween approaches, Tim and Tiffany encourage everyone to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, fostering a more inclusive and safer environment for all. With major retail partner CVS supporting the initiative, individuals can find Teal Pumpkin Project materials at over 7,000 stores across the U.S.
The episode concludes with a call to action, urging viewers to explore FARE's resources, engage in education and training, and actively participate in initiatives like the Teal Pumpkin Project to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by food allergies. Tim and Tiffany's insightful discussion sheds light on the importance of awareness, education, and inclusivity in navigating the world of food allergies.
Note: The podcast episode transcript has been edited for clarity and conciseness.