With Halloween just days away, Hy-Vee and many other stores are promoting candy or treats for kids that have food allergies. Yankton Hy-Vee’s registered dietitian Elizabeth Volske says the Teal Pumpkin Project is still quite new across the nation.
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.
Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.
Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem.
If you’re handing out candy and non-food treats, to determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater, ask the kids if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.
Participating is simple. Place a teal pumpkin – the color of food allergy awareness –in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.