There has been a lot of publicity recently around Natasha’s Law – the new Food Safety Law that is now in place requiring food retailers to provide full details of the ingredients and allergens in all pre-packaged food. This publicity has heightened public awareness around an issue that can have a major impact on many people’s lives. It is not just the ingestion of food that puts people suffering from allergens at risk, something that causes increased concern at Halloween.
The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Alderman Glenn Barr, has joined with Kayleigh Dawson and her son Wyatt, from Lurgan, to raise awareness of this issue with local residents, and highlight the importance of general allergen awareness in our everyday lives.
The Lord Mayor said;
“Kayleigh approached my office to see if there was anything I could do to help raise awareness of allergen issues. Kayleigh highlighted to me the fact that nuts don’t have to be eaten to cause a reaction, people can have airborne and contact reactions. This is why the throwing of nuts and seeds to feed animals, or even dropping an empty packet that may have contained nuts, can be dangerous in public areas. Children, especially young children, are naturally curious and will touch and potentially even place them in their mouths.
“It is understandable that most people don’t think about this in their day-to-day lives but awareness and small changes can make a big difference to the quality of life for people with severe allergies in our community. I would encourage everyone to ‘be allergen aware’ when in public areas to help children and adults enjoy the outdoors and parent’s like Kayleigh have more reassurance when letting their children play”.
Kayleigh is a mum to two year old Wyatt who like many other children, has a diagnosed peanut allergy that means she must carry EpiPens everywhere she goes.
“I want to encourage all local resident to be allergy aware when in public places. Especially this Halloween when monkey nuts are so popular. Remember, throwing or scatter nuts on tree trunks to feed birds or squirrels in the park, puts a child with a food allergy at risk of hospitalisation.
“With Halloween just around the corner trick or treating is a worry, with people kindly handing out treats unaware of the potential dangers for children with allergens, for example cross contamination from handling monkey nuts, or the ingredients contained within the treats. This is understandable – many people just don’t realise the impact it can have”.
Kayleigh is also encouraging people to brighten up a child with a food allergy’s Halloween night, by joining the FARE worldwide Teal Pumpkin Project that aims to create a safer, happier Halloween for children with allergens, by placing a teal pumpkin at your door to let visiting parents and children know you are allergy aware.
The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Alderman Glenn Barr, Kayleigh Dawson and her son Wyatt highlighting the importance of being allergen aware, especially at Halloween.