Sep 28 2008

I see it here; I see it there; I see it everywhere

Category: Hyperallergy GirlClevergirl @ 1:13 pm

This is actually a post about the latest food additive craze. Are you thinking that I’m writing about a chemical? A cancer-causing fake sugary substance? A colour dye? No, no, and no.

I’m on about DHA. It’s in the yoghurt, the omega-3 eggs, the milk, and the margarine… and you can get it in your vitamins, too.

The scary thing about this is that DHA can be made from fish oil and many many of the above products fail to state whether the source of their DHA is fish or vegetarian. And that’s the scary part right there for people like me who are hyperallergenic to fish.

And if this isn’t enough, Canadian foodie, food writer, and occassional champion of the peanut allergy (because her hubby is allergic), Lucy Waverman, has graced us yesterday with some lovely allergy friendly recipes in her weekly coloumn the Globe and Mail. And while I absolutely can’t wait to try that vegan & lactose-free chocolate cake out (esp on my lactose intolerant 11 year-old), I am askance at her statement that, “If you are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy or seafood, you can feast on these. “ because the Peanut-free Pad Thai has both *fish sauce* and *sambal oelek* (which can have dried shrimp in it depending on who made it) and so thank you very much for your efforts Lucy but that is clearly NOT seafood-free!!!!!!!

Fish and shellfish allergies are usually listed as being among the top ten hyperfood allergies in the world and yet we get so little respect compared to the other items on the top 10. Everything I send to school *has to be* peanut and nut free, but no one stops to take a second glance for DHA, fish sauce, or sambal oelek in their kids’ lunches or on a shorthaul Air Canada flight, for that matter.

At least I have an epipen or two and my parents brought me up to *ask*, “Excuse me, but what is in that?” before trying anything… cold comfort, I know.

P.S. Coincidentally, My e-allergic friend Allergic Girl has just written about this NYT Article on Fish Oil in your orange juice and while they don’t specify, I assume it is about DHA?

3 Responses to “I see it here; I see it there; I see it everywhere”

  1. Lisa b says:

    oh lovely.
    I knew it was in the formula but fingers crossed I don’t have that to worry about too.
    Lucy, Lucy, Lucy letting you down there.

  2. Recipe Reader says:

    Dear Clevergirl

    Thank you very much for your comment. I know Lucy appreciates your feedback and learns from her readers. I checked with Lucy Waverman about those ingredients. Lucy, like many culinary experts, typically distinguishes fish/seafood from shellfish. But you’ve raised a good point. Lucy suggested that you could use soy sauce to replace fish sauce. Also in terms of the sambal oelek, the three brands that Lucy has in her kitchen do not have dried shrimp, but in doing some additional research, she found that some Indonesian brands do have some in them. As far as she knows these are the only ones and they are called Sambal Oelek with Dried Shrimp. Because of this, it is important to always carefully read the labels of all products and to avoid them if you have any doubts. Again, thanks for bringing this important information to your readers’ attention — many people don’t realize that allergies can be very serious – even life threatening- and taking every precaution when preparing food can be a matter of life and death. For more information about allergies and more allergy-friendly recipes by Lucy Waverman, visit

  3. Don’t forget your shovel. :: Lucy and the Blog says:

    […] Lucy Waverman’s people read my blog (check out the comment!). And apparently! she concurs. Except that, yes, shrimp is a shellfish. She […]

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