Over the weekend, I read this report from The Independent (U.K.) digging deeply into the source of the cumin recall, which is now reported to be the most “‘widespread series of allergy-related recalls’ in allergy labeling history in the U.S.,” according to Inquisitr.
At this point, only peanuts are suspected in the cumin recall for the U.S., but the U.K. has seen traces of peanuts and almonds in their cumin.
I can’t stress how important this is for all of us to know. Not just we who live with food allergies every day; it’s important for restaurant owners, managers and servers, teachers, school nurses, friends who feed allergic individuals, office workers, and the list goes on.
Why is this so urgent? Why so important? Because cumin is everywhere. See, it’s not just a spice in your cupboard (but if it is, please keep this regularly updated comprehensive list of recalls bookmarked), it is a spice found in many of our prepared foods. And, because of the way our country’s labeling law (FALCPA) is structured, there is no requirement to list specific spices out on each food label.
This means that every time I open anything that has the word “spices” listed on it, I could be serving my son something with tainted cumin (read: peanuts) in it and not know it. As you can imagine, we’ve moved even further away from eating processed foods as this recall has grown.
This recall has left all of us in the allergic world reeling, a little breathless. We make most of our food from scratch for safety reasons. So, when the building blocks we use to create our own safe foods are recalled in this way, our homes don’t feel quite like the safe zone we have worked so hard to create.
We are on high alert these days. Even more ready to administer the Auvi-Q™ and dial 911 at the first sign of a reaction.
This is important stuff. With reactions already having been reported to the FDA in the midst of the recall, it is my hope that everyone would notch up their awareness just a little bit when they are with someone they know has peanut allergies. A recall this big won’t be solved overnight, so we will have to work together to ensure safety for those vulnerable to microscopic amounts of peanut protein.
So, is it a scandal as The Independent determined by the title of their article? I guess only time will tell. But my gut says that there is no way a substitution this large could happen by accident. I believe someone made a determination that puts millions of lives at risk, without thinking through what could happen to those allergic.
I truly hope the investigators get to the bottom of this and restore our food supply (if not our trust in the food supply) quickly. Millions of us are counting on it.
If you feel you may have experienced a reaction related to this cumin recall, please report it to the FDA immediately.