McLean, VA (PRWEB) October 28, 2014
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to food allergy, is encouraging widespread participation in the Teal Pumpkin Project, a campaign designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies – and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all. The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched nationally this month and quickly went viral – with introductory posts on Facebook reaching more than 5.4 million people.
The concept behind the Teal Pumpkin Project is simple: a pumpkin is painted teal, the color of food allergy awareness, and placed outside a home to signify the availability of non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. The project has been widely embraced by families managing food allergies and has also received broad support from beyond the food allergy community. FARE’s first two posts about the Teal Pumpkin Project were shared more than 54,000 times on Facebook, and the campaign has received overwhelmingly positive coverage.
The national campaign was inspired by an idea from the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), led by support group leader Becky Basalone, who originated the idea to paint a pumpkin teal and place it on the porch to let children with food allergies know they would have a safe treat at that home. This year, FARE has worked to bring the campaign to a national audience.
“One in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy, which can be life-threatening. Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple way of supporting these children so they can have a fun, safe Halloween, just like their friends,” said Veronica LaFemina, vice president of communications at FARE. “The campaign has also provided us with a great opportunity to bring food allergy into the national conversation, and to promote empathy and respect during this holiday season. We thank FACET for this wonderful idea and have been happy to work with them to bring the Teal Pumpkin Project to a national – and even international -- audience.”
Halloween is traditionally a challenging day for families managing food allergies because much of the candy given out contains major food allergens. Additionally, many of the miniature candy items that are passed out do not have ingredient labels, so it is difficult for parents to properly determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies. Non-food treats such as glow sticks, bouncy balls or Halloween-themed pencils or erasers provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and for other children, such as those with diabetes or celiac disease, for whom candy may present a problem.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is not intended to replace the tradition of giving out candy on Halloween. Many families across the country will have available both candy and non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. To help promote a safe experience, FARE recommends that families who are giving out candy in addition to non-food treats keep sweet treats in a separate bowl or container from non-food treats.
FARE hopes the Teal Pumpkin Project will become a Halloween tradition that will grow in the years ahead across the U.S.
Families managing food allergies should also keep in mind the following tips:
- Enforce a “no eating while trick-or-treating” rule, so that you have time to review all food labels.
- Avoid candy and treats that do not have an ingredient label.
- Always have an epinephrine auto-injector available, if prescribed.
- Keep in mind that the mini-size, fun-size, or bite-size version of candy may contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts. Make no assumptions, and read all labels carefully.
- Keep the emphasis on the fun, rather than the candy.
- Remember that a candy that has been safe for your child in the past may now have different ingredients. Read the label every time.
For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, including a list of suggested non-food treats and free downloadable fliers, signs and stickers, visit http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children in the U.S. – or roughly two in every classroom. FARE’s mission is to find a cure for food allergies, and to keep individuals safe and included. We do this by investing in world-class research that advances treatment and understanding of the disease, providing evidence-based education and resources, undertaking advocacy at all levels of government and increasing awareness of food allergy as a serious public health issue. For more information, please visit http://www.foodallergy.org.