Sandwich Labels & Sandwich Labelling in the Economic Climate

As an independent sandwich manufacturer, sandwich label and sandwich labelling design is of paramount importance to the success of your business. This need for good sandwich labels has never been more evident than in todays fragile economic climate where your sandwich label design must be attract consumers who are otherwise abandoning sandwich shops and supermarkets in favour of more seemingly cost effective home-made solutions.

 

This worrying trend is evidence that sandwich labels must now display low prices to appeal to the cost-conscious consumer as well as enticing sandwich label design if the pre-packed sandwich sector is to thrive. According to recent reports the pre-packed sandwich sector has suffered in the global economic crisis with the majority of major supermarkets and franchises confirmed to be down in volume by 6-10%.

 

However, it is not all doom and gloom as, on average, 2 billion sandwiches are still sold every year. Thats a lot of sandwich labels, so you, the independent manufacturer, must act now to implement quality sandwich label design to ensure that your sandwich labelling is desirable enough for consumers to part with their money. Now all this may portray sandwich labelling to be an expensive operation, however with the sandwich labelling solution from sandwich-labels.com, this is simply not the case.

 

Sandwich-Labels.com, part of the etiquette network, have designed and developed a cost-effective sandwich labelling solution for the independent sandwich manufacturer. It is available for only £525 and as free sandwich label design software is included in the kit, it is the ideal way to begin printing, and even customizing, your own professional sandwich labels.

 

In conclusion, if you are an independent sandwich manufacturer, now is not the time to mourn the fall of your industry in this global finacial crisis, it is the time to embrace invention and persevere in the best ways to move your business forward both affordably and sensibly. Eventually it seems the market will stabilize and may even emerge stronger. Short term panic measures must not undermine your long term future in the market, so start preparing for your future now and invest in a good sandwich labelling solution for your sandwich labels.

 

Cost Efficiency Improved by New Labelling Machinery

In today's advanced world, it is a constant surprise to visit plants and see an often-terrific line invariably let down by archaic packaging and labelling machinery. Managers are putting up with mistakes because they have always been there and a degree of error seems to be accepted as the norm. It need not be this way with so many excellent printing and coding machines on the market.

 

Too many producers refuse to buy automated packaging equipment, which they feel they can not justify financially. For years they have used their tried-and-tested bar-coder despite the fact the inking pads fail periodically. They have to carry enough spares to fill a small shop and operator errors occur all to often.

 

Product recalls for labelling problems, inability to apply tractability and ineligible or incomplete printing of data regarding allergens are all areas where the hard work, time and money invested in making a quality product are being wasted by inferior packaging and labelling equipment.

 

Consumers no longer have the tolerance for poor packaging and labelling and shortfalls are being highlighted all the more following legislative changes into the demands of labelling information. Modern packaging and labelling machinery has moved on dramatically in the last decade with a degree of versatility now well advanced of what you may have perceived when you last looked. No longer need you buy a machine that performs a single bespoke task and no more - today they are adaptable, reliable, will handle a variety of label types and have easily programmable software and pc interfaces. Moreover the prices are significantly lower than you realise, with some excellent bargains available.

 

Today your labelling or coding unit can verify automatically that the right label with the right traceable material goes onto the right packages without fail. The payback in labour costs, peace of mind and reduced rework can have a fast payback.

 

Yes, you must select the right machine for the task, but producers will be delighted to advertise on what will best suite your process and what can be upgraded for future planned development. look out for a company that will provide not just label printers, but will ensure correct installation, staff training, support packages, technical back-up and, if available, a comprehensive source of consumerables and accessories. They must have just the parcel with a very low price tag on it - and you know it wont be a mistake!

 

Desktop Label System at Sandwich Firm

When a company wanted to upgrade its labelling for sandwiches and other foods, it installed a new electronic desktop labeller.

 

The business, formed by husband and wife partnership Andrew and Jacqueline Ditton, has grown steadily since it was founded three years ago offering fresh sandwiches, business lunches and outside catering.

 

Two vans deliver the food to local industrial estates during the day. Each item has to be packaged and clearly labelled, and with a possible 88 selections in the sandwiches alone, as well as the home-made quiches, fruit crumbles and pies, it’s quite a task.

 

Before installing a new desktop label printer, sheets of labels were purchased pre-printed in red with the company name. To add the variable detail, Jacqueline had to programme her computer each time and print a full sheet for each sort, which could be wasteful when only one label was needed.

 

With the printer she can add variable information, from dates and descriptions to price, for just one label or as many as necessary. All the product descriptions are programmed ready for use, and should she need to, Jacqueline even has the facility to add bar codes or graphics as well. With a working day that starts at 5am, anything that makes the job easier and more efficient is welcome.

 

Five colour labels were also supplied as part of the package, each with Jacqueline’s Cuisine name, phone number and eye-catching graphics. ‘I’ve made changes in the past which nobody seems to have noticed,’ said Jacqueline, ‘but nearly everyone has commented on these labels.’

 

The sandwich labelling system can be used to print by thermal transfer or direct thermal processes. Labels printed on it can be reel-fed, continuous, fan-folded or diecut. Label formats, scaleable fonts and graphics may all be stored.

 

‘An added bonus is the ability to add a customer’s name to a particular product label if they ask me to reserve them something,’ Jacqueline added. ‘They really think that’s nice.’

 

Why a Sandwich Labelling Machine Makes Sense

There are those in the sandwich business who are reluctant to automate their labelling process. They have been in business for years while relying on hand labelling and just do not see a reason to make a change. However, if they would utilize a sandwich-labelling machine, they may very well be able to increase the profitability of their operation. Let’s look at a few reasons why a sandwich-labelling machine makes sense.

 

Cost Savings

 

Although the sandwich labelling machine itself will represent an additional expense, the device will probably pay for itself in short order. Hand labelling is labour intensive and personnel costs trump the expense of operating a label printing machine by a significant margin. Personnel costs can be lowered or those currently involved in labelling can be reassigned to other areas to increase overall efficiency. The expense of the sandwich labelling machine will be recouped very quickly.

 

Quality Labelling

 

Better labelling means a more attractive product. Attractive products sell more. It’s a simple fact of business that if you can use a sandwich labelling machine to produce an attractive product, your sales figures will improve. Additionally, uniformity and proper label application via the use of a sandwich labelling machine will allow one to avoid inefficiencies including product returns and on-site re-labelling.

 

The use of a sandwich labelling machine will allow one to improve the bottom line in a few different ways. First, the actual production costs will be lowered. Secondly, the superior results will improve sales and reduce inefficiencies. This combination of factors makes the purchase of a sandwich labelling machine a great idea for most producers. Although it is possible to do business without a machine, doing business with one can be much more profitable.

 

What’s so Special about Sandwich Labels?

Sandwich labels can be a tricky proposition. Unlike other types of labels, they require some special traits. These unique characteristics lead many to outsource production of sandwich labels to professional label printers. Let’s look at some of the reasons sandwich labels are so much different from other label types.

 

Withstanding “the Elements”

 

In many cases, one simply slaps a label on a box, the box ends up on a shelf and that’s the end of the story. That isn’t the case with sandwich labels. A sandwich label will be exposed to cooler temperatures and may even be frozen at some point in time. It may run into contact with a great deal of moisture, too. Thus, not every label is well-suited as a sandwich label.

 

Meeting Standards

 

If you want to put a price tag on a box of shoes in your retail store, you can use just about any label you’d like. If you are pricing consumable goods, that is not the case. Sandwich labels must be designed to meet all applicable compliance standards. When food is involved, governmental regulation is invariably present. One must not run foul of the rules, which means they will need a speciality label.

 

Application Surface

 

In many cases, sandwich labels are applied directly to the product, which is first wrapped in cellophane. This means that the adhesive must be capable of bonding with the wrapper without necessitating a great deal of pressure during the application process. After all, one doesn’t want to put dented sandwiches in a cooler! This unique circumstance also makes sandwich labels a bit different from many other labels.

 

Factors like these combine to make sandwich labels a unique form of labelling. They are not simple stickers and require some special treatment. It’s not surprising that many people outsource the printing of sandwich labels to a third party professional.

 

Sandwich Labels don’t need to be Ugly

Therefore, you need sandwich labels. You know that will require a certain type of label stock, a certain type of ink, the right type of adhesive, and a carefully composed label containing all required information to keep the regulators happy. With all of those different factors at play, it’s no surprise that many sandwich labels are downright ugly.

 

The aesthetics of design often take a backseat to obvious pragmatic concerns when it comes to sandwich labels. Users are more interested in making sure they meet compliance standards than they are in design and may feel as though the web of regulations would hamstring the use of effective design in the first place.

 

The regulations associated with sandwich labels do make it more difficult to produce an attractive label, but it is possible to do so. The advantages of making an attractive label are obvious in terms of sales and marketing, so finding a way to combine good looks with compliance should be on the mind of anyone producing sandwich labels.

 

One of the best ways to produce an attractive label is to partner with a professional label printer. Professionals can use their experience with sandwich labels to produce an attractive end product. Many great label printers have design experts on hand who can find a way to balance good looks with legality.

 

Sandwich labels don’t need to be ugly. In fact, they can be quite attractive--and when they are, they can produce a healthy increase in sales. Don’t settle for ugly labels. Seek out a professional to help you with your sandwich labels and you can separate your product from the pack and reap the benefits of having inviting and memorable labels on your sandwiches.

 

Sandwich Labelling System Considerations

If you are planning to implement a new sandwich labelling system, there will be a series of factors to address. These include compliance considerations, design considerations, quality issues and cost concerns. Let’s look at each of these four areas:

 

Compliance Considerations

 

You will need to make sure your sandwich labelling system complies with all rules and regulations governing the labelling of food in your area. These requirements will vary based upon the jurisdiction, but in order to operate effectively and legally, you will need to make sure you are in full compliance.

 

Design Considerations

 

In many cases, the labels on your sandwiches are your only opportunity for on-product marketing with the exception of the food itself. Thus, it makes sense to hire a quality designer to produce an attractive label that will help in marketing and branding efforts. Relying on a poorly designed label as part of your sandwich labelling system is akin to leaving money on the table. Take advantage of the opportunities offered by attractive labelling.

 

Quality Issues

 

Your sandwich labelling system should insure uniformity and quality application of all labels. Poorly attached labelling can lead to returns, reduce sales due to unattractiveness and lead to re-labelling inefficiencies. Make sure your strategy will produce consistently high quality labelling.

 

Cost Concerns

 

Although labelling is essential, one cannot allow the cost of a sandwich labelling system to exceed the potential profits quality labelling can produce. You don’t want to compromise quality, but you will also want to avoid excessive expenses when designing your system.

 

By considering compliance, design, quality and costs, you can devise a sandwich labelling system that will perform to your expectations and that will allow you to operate your business more effectively and profitably.

 

Don’t Rush your Sandwich Labels

When you are selling food, you are subject to numerous rules and regulations. Those laws don’t just apply to food preparation, kitchen cleanliness, or production standards. They also cover sandwich labels. Thus, it is important to make sure your sandwich labels comply with all applicable regulations. Total compliance with food labelling regulations is a necessity, and rushing one’s sandwich labels could lead to problems.

 

Make sure you understand all necessary components of the label. Are you required to put nutritional information on your sandwich labels? Are production dates or “best by” dates required? Is their a required font size for the text of your label? Do the laws governing your operation require contact information, and if so, what kind? You must know answers to questions like these before producing your sandwich labels.

 

You will also want to make sure that your sandwich labels meet requirements with respect to the labels’ actual composition. The temperature fluctuations involved in food storage and shipment, along with the likelihood of the product being exposed to moisture may have led to strict standards regarding what kind of inks and label material may be used.

 

Too often, individuals will neglect learning all of the ins and outs of sandwich labels and will rush their project. The end result could be lost sales, fines, and costly corrections. Compliance labelling for food can be problematic, but it is an absolute necessity and no one should rush their sandwich labels into production without knowing exactly how they must be composed.

 

Understanding the rules and regulations involving your sandwich labels can save you a great deal of time, money and aggravation. By knowing what is required before beginning production, you can be sure to have sandwich labels that will look good and meet all regulatory requirements.

 

Do you need a Sandwich Labelling Machine?

If you are in the business of making sandwiches, you may be wondering if a sandwich labelling machine makes sense for your operation. Although the final decision regarding the purchase of a sandwich labelling machine will inevitably boil down to your own unique circumstances and personal preferences, there are few considerations that may help you make a decision. Let’s look at some of the clues that may help you decide if you need a sandwich labelling machine:

 

Volume

 

Volume is probably one of the most critical factors in the sandwich labelling machine equation. If you are not in a high volume business, it may make more sense to rely upon hand application of labels. However, if your volume has reached the point where that has become more difficult or if you anticipate future growth that will make hand-labelling inefficient, a sandwich labelling machine might be just what your business needs.

 

Employee Costs

 

To some extent, a sandwich labelling machine will be replacing human personnel. Although the machine will require a level of supervision, it will be displacing someone who is currently hand-labelling. This can be a good way to increase efficiency and better utilize personnel. Generally speaking, one will post substantial cost savings by automating the process that will allow for the cost of the sandwich labelling machine to be recouped rather quickly. However, in some rare cases where labour costs are manageable, it may make sense to rely on hand-labelling instead.

 

Quality

 

If using a sandwich labelling machine promises to allow for greater uniformity and quality in labelling, you might want to begin shopping. Better label application means a better looking product and that increases sales figures. Additionally, a reliable sandwich labelling machine can eliminate the need for inefficient re-labelling and correction.

 

If you are considering a sandwich labelling machine, consider your business’ volume, the cost of alternatives and the likelihood of quality improvements. These factors should help you decide if you should automate your sandwich labelling process.

 

Choosing a Sandwich Labelling Machine

If you are in the sandwich business, you may be in the market for a sandwich labelling machine. Using an automated means of label application may make much more sense for your business than relying on hand application of labels. If you have decided to purchase a sandwich labelling machine, consider these factors before you buy:

 

Quality

 

When one buys equipment upon which a business will rely, it does not make sense to compromise quality too much in pursuit of savings. Equipment breakdowns or errors can be expensive and inefficient. That’s why anyone buying a sandwich labelling machine should be sure to purchase a model from a recognized manufacturer known for quality equipment.

 

Volume

 

Buying a sandwich labelling machine is a little like buying clothing for a child. You want to make sure it fits, but you also want to leave some room for growth. Sandwich labelling machine purchases should be made based on the current volume of work and the likelihood of growth. One can see the potential for increased profits associated with company growth minimized if they are forced to retool in order to meet demand. By acquiring a sandwich labelling machine that will be able to handle future needs, you can prevent that expensive retooling.

 

Ease of Operation

 

A sandwich labelling machine should be operable by existing staff after providing them with some training. The decision of what kind of sandwich labelling machine to buy will be dictated, to some extent, by the skill level and competencies of the employees who will be operating it. One must always keep personnel factors in mind when making any capital purchase and a sandwich labelling machine is no exception.

 

By keeping ease of operation, volume and quality in mind, one can make a wise sandwich labelling machine decision. Those who fail to consider these factors, on the other hand, may be disappointed in their purchase.

 

Advantages to Automating your Sandwich Labelling System

If your sandwich labelling system involves manual hand application of individual labels to finished products, it may be time to automate. Automating one’s sandwich labelling system can improve product appearance, increase efficiency and increase bottom line profits.

 

Using human personnel for labelling has an unavoidable downside. First, it is a costly proposition. Wages, benefits and taxes can eat away at profits. Secondly, there are always personnel management issues with which one will have to deal. These can also be quite costly. Third, humans are fallible and errors are common. When dealing with rote work like labelling, errors can occur with a high degree of frequency.

 

Automation solves these problems. Automating your sandwich labelling system allows you to save money on wages or to redirect human resources to other areas of the operation where they will be better able to efficiently service the company.

 

Additionally, a mechanical sandwich labelling system will produce uniform and attractive results with fewer overall errors. This means an increase in potential sales (stemming from having a more attractive product), a decrease in product returns and less of a need to engage in costly and inefficient re-labelling. An automated sandwich labelling solution can work wonders!

 

Yes, purchasing a new sandwich labelling system will require some initial expense. That cost, however, is generally recouped in a short period of time thanks to the cost savings and efficiencies it provides. It is worth noting that a variety of automation options is available and many are quite affordable. Technological developments are making it easier to afford and operate these systems.

 

If you are labelling by hand, it may be time for a change.

 

A Sandwich Labelling System Printer

What is a sandwich labelling system? A sandwich labelling system is more than a plan and it’s more than a single label printer or machine. It is a total outlook on the process of printing quality labels for your sandwich products that starts with design and ends with happy buyers. Let’s look at some aspects of a truly comprehensive sandwich labelling system.

 

Product Assessment

 

Product assessment is an integral part of a working sandwich labelling system. This involves determining what you are actually selling, and the labelling requirements you will have for the product. This involves understanding and noting compliance regulation and other labelling standards.

 

Design

 

Design relates to the planning of the labels themselves. This aspect of a sandwich labelling system tries to combine providing all required information with an aesthetic sensibility designed to increase sales and to aid in branding efforts.

 

Label Manufacturing

 

A sandwich labelling system then moves on to the actual manufacturing of the labels. This can be done in house or may be outsourced, depending upon one’s particular needs. The label manufacturing process is a critical step in the system and often requires a great deal of attention.

 

Label Application

 

Application can be done by hand or by using a machine. In some cases, label printing and application are actually combined using multi-function devices. The exact nature of this step of the sandwich labelling system will vary based upon the company under consideration.

 

Quality Control

 

Quality control wraps up the sandwich labelling system. It involves making sure that the originally conceived and designed plan is correctly and accurately placed on every sandwich. Quality control observations are used to improve the system as it operates.

 

This rough outline of an effective sandwich labelling system illustrates the importance of looking at labelling needs as something more than “we have to get a sticker printed.” It’s a multi-step process that involves a variety of considerations.

 

The Perfect Sandwich Label

If you are in the carryout or catering industry, you are undoubtedly familiar with the challenges associated with finding and using high quality sandwich labels. Getting the right mix of features combined with an appearance that will help increase brand recognition and sales can be challenging. Consider the many factors that would go into a perfect sandwich label.

 

First, the label must be quickly and easily modified. If you change an ingredient in your chicken salad or decide to finally introduce that new pastrami sandwich for which customers have been clamouring, you will need to be able to efficiently generate new labelling. For those who handle sandwich labelling on-site, that means an easy-to-use and intuitive software package is an absolute must.

 

Second, the sandwich label must be attractive. You want your wrapped food to send a message about your company, and the last thing you need is for that message to say “cheap and ugly.” A perfect label would be appropriately sized for its purpose, would have enough space for easy and attractive display of information and would be designed in a manner consistent with your other branding and marketing efforts. While “off the shelf” labels might be fine for amateurs and smaller operations, most would prefer to have a customized label.

 

Third, the sandwich label must comply with your area’s legal requirements. You need to be sure you are providing all necessary information in the manner required by governing law. This is primarily a matter of content, but the label itself should be sized and designed in a way that will allow you to offer an attractive package while still meeting or exceeding all statutory requirements.

 

Sandwich distributors and producers want labels that are easy to edit, attractive and consistent with regulation. If you find this combination of features, you have found the perfect sandwich label.

 

Offering Larger Sandwiches Increases Calorie Consumption

It is quite obvious that over the past few decades portion sizes have increased in restaurants and fast-food establishments. This increase in portion sizes corresponds with the increase in obesity seen in the United States. It is important to substantiate the role between obesity and this variation in portion size.

 

Recently, investigators at Penn State University initiated a study to determine how varying the portion size of a unit food (a deli-style sandwich) affects intake at lunch. People tend to eat in units if they are offered pre-portioned food. Several lunch items, such as sandwiches and burgers are offered as pre-portioned units and in recent years, the portion size of these units has substantially increased. However, it is often possible to choose between several portion sizes. Therefore, the question addressed in this study was whether the size of the unit of a food affects intake and whether individuals' characteristics of consumers influence the response to portion size.

 

Seventy-five healthy, young adults (aged 20 yrs to 45 yrs) participated in this study. All subjects had a BMI of less than 40, were not dieting or training for an athletic event and were not taking medications known to affect appetite. Potential subjects were screened using height and weight and through the following screening questionnaires: the 26-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test, the Zung Self-Rating Scale, and the Eating Inventory. These tests were used to rule out abnormal eating thoughts or behaviors.

 

This investigation used a within-subject design with repeated measures. Subjects ate lunch at the lab one day per week for 4 wks. During the 4-week period, all subjects received each of the four sizes of sandwich: 6 in., 8 in., 10 in., and 12 in. Subjects were instructed to keep their meals and activity level consistent and to refrain from consuming alcohol on the evening prior to and the morning of each test day. There were also instructed to not consume food or caloric beverages for 3 hrs before and after each test meal. The proportion of ingredients in all sandwich sizes was kept the same. Along with the sandwich, subjects were served 1 L of water, 14 g of salted potato chips and a 5-gram chocolate mint. They were instructed to consume as much or as little of the sandwich and water as they desired, but they were required to eat the potato chips and mint in full.

 

The proportion size of the sandwich did significantly influence lunch intake in both men and women (P<.0001). Most individuals consumed the entire 6-inch sandwich. When served the 12-inch sandwich, compared with the 8-inch sandwich, females consumed 12% more energy (74 kcal) and males consumed 23% more energy (186 kcal). Despite these differences, ratings of hunger and fullness were not significantly different after eating the 12-inch and 8-inch sandwiches.

 

These results indicate that offering a larger portion size of a food consumed in a unit increases the energy intake at that meal without altering an individuals rating of hunger or fullness.

 

B. Rolls, L. Roe, J. Meengs, et al. Increasing the portion size of a sandwich increases energy intake. J Am Diet Assoc. 104:367-372 (March, 2003) [Correspondence: Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, 226 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802-6501.

 

When Food Becomes the Enemy – Food Allergies & Listing of Allergens Product Labels

Imagine what it would be like if eating a peanut butter sandwich or some shrimp, or drinking a tall glass of milk left you vomiting, gasping for breath, and furiously scratching a fresh crop of hives. For some people with food allergies, that's reality.

 

A food allergy, or hypersensitivity, is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system. While many people often have gas, bloating or another unpleasant reaction to something they eat, this is not an allergic response. Such a reaction is thought to not involve the immune system and is called "food intolerance."

 

Only about 1.5 percent of adults and up to 6 percent of children younger than 3 years in the United States--about 4 million people--have a true food allergy, according to researchers who have examined the prevalence of food allergies.

 

It's critical for people who have food allergies to identify them and to avoid foods that cause allergic reactions. Some foods can cause severe illness and, in some cases, a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) that can constrict airways in the lungs, severely lower blood pressure, and cause suffocation by the swelling of the tongue or throat.

 

An estimated 150 Americans die each year from severe allergic reactions to food, says Hugh A. Sampson, M.D., director of the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a food allergy expert.

 

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has made it a high priority to boost consumer and food industry awareness of food allergens. As part of these efforts, the FDA is conducting food allergen education programs for consumers and industry. The agency also is developing a strategy for clear, easy-to-understand labeling of food allergens.

 

Allergic Reactions

 

Food normally doesn't provoke a response from the human immune system, the body's defense against microbes and other threats to health. In food allergies, two parts of the immune response are involved, according to researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. One is the production of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) that circulates in the blood. The other part is a type of cell called a mast cell. Mast cells occur in all body tissues but especially in areas that are typical sites of allergic reactions, including the nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.

 

People usually inherit the ability to form IgE against food. Those more likely to develop food allergies come from families in which allergies such as hay fever, asthma, or eczema are common.

 

A predisposed person must first be exposed to a specific food before IgE is formed. As this food is digested for the first time, tiny protein fragments prompt certain cells to produce specific IgE against that food. The IgE then attaches to the surface of mast cells. The next time the particular food is eaten, the protein interacts with the specific IgE on the mast cells and triggers the release of chemicals such as histamine that produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

 

If the mast cells release chemicals in the nose and throat, the allergic person may experience an itching tongue or mouth and may have trouble breathing or swallowing. If mast cells in the gastrointestinal tract are involved, the person may have diarrhea or abdominal pain. Skin mast cells can produce hives or intense itching.

 

The food protein fragments responsible for an allergic reaction are not broken down by cooking or by stomach acids or enzymes that digest food. These proteins can cross the gastrointestinal lining, travel through the bloodstream and cause allergic reactions throughout the body.

 

The timing and location of an allergic reaction to food is affected by digestion. For example, an allergic person may first experience a severe itching of the tongue or "tingling lips." Vomiting, cramps or diarrhea may follow. Later, as allergens enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, they can cause a drop in blood pressure, hives or eczema, or asthma when they reach the lungs. The onset of these symptoms may vary from a few minutes to an hour or two after the food is eaten.

 

Most Likely Suspects

 

Food allergy patterns in adults differ somewhat from those in children. The most common foods to cause allergies in adults are shrimp, lobster, crab, and other shellfish; peanuts (one of the chief foods responsible for severe anaphylaxis); walnuts and other tree nuts; fish; and eggs.

 

In children, eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat are the main culprits. Children typically outgrow their allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat, while allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shrimp usually are not outgrown.

 

Adults usually do not lose their allergies.

 

A Growing Problem

 

"The prevalence of food allergy is growing and probably will continue to grow along with all allergic diseases," says Robert A. Wood, M.D., director of the pediatric allergy clinic at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore.

 

Wood says that research over the last three decades indicates that the number of people with allergies is skyrocketing in developed and developing countries, but not in underdeveloped areas.

 

"The fewer germs in terms of infection and the environment, the more time the immune system has to worry about things like allergens," says Wood. "Recent studies indicate that growing up in a large family or daycare center actually decreases the likelihood of developing an allergy."

 

Wood, who has had a severe peanut allergy since he was a toddler, says allergic reactions to foods can vary dramatically. "They can range from just a mild rash to very severe swelling in the throat and the airways in the lungs so that there is a complete inability to breathe," he says.

 

Wood's parents learned of their son's allergy when they introduced him to peanut butter. "The first time I had peanut butter I developed a rash and severe swelling in my face," he says. "I'm extremely allergic. Just being around when a peanut shell is broken and dust is being released is enough to cause a reaction.

 

"I've had a number of very dangerous reactions," Wood says. "People with a food allergy typically walk around with a little bit of fear all the time. Once it starts, it's a fear-generating experience."

 

Multiple Allergies

 

When Sarah Buster of Columbia, Md., was 4 months old, her parents discovered that an allergy to milk was causing her eczema, a chronic skin inflammation. Her skin improved with a switch to a soy-based formula. Sarah's doctor believed there was little cause for concern since many infants have eczema and most outgrow it by age 2. Sarah didn't. Tests later indicated that she was allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, penicillin, tree pollen, ragweed, dust mites, and dogs and cats.

 

It was then that Sarah's parents, Mike and Brenda Buster, began reading food labels as carefully as they would a legal contract. They joined a food allergy advocacy group, replaced the carpet in Sarah's bedroom and throughout the house with hardwood floors, placed dust mite covers over her bedding, gave away the family's dogs, and kept Sarah indoors as much as possible.

 

A small wooden chair with a wicker seat has taken the place of upholstered furniture for 9-year-old Sarah, and devices that filter dust, pollen and other particles hum both upstairs and downstairs.

 

For a time, soaking baths and ointment head-to-toe helped keep her skin moist, and a prescription antihistamine eased the itching enough so she could sleep. However, Sarah's eczema soon worsened again.

 

"Sarah's itching would be so severe that we could stand right by her and call her name and she would not respond because she was so focused on scratching," says Brenda Buster. "She would scratch until she bled because the pain felt better than the itch."

 

Finally, allergists at Johns Hopkins eliminated all conventional food and put her on a special formula made of amino acids. Sarah also started a four-month regime of prednisone, a drug that mimics the effects of the body's natural corticosteroid hormones and suppresses the activity of the immune system.

 

Eventually, her diet was expanded to six foods that doctors believed she was not allergic to: turkey, pork, rice, apples, grapes and tomatoes, supplemented by the special formula.

 

Sarah's skin cleared and after several months she began a series of dietary "challenges"--tests to determine whether specific foods cause an allergic reaction. Several years later, Sarah eats a more varied diet, and the Busters maintain a list of safe foods and those that cause an allergic reaction.

 

"The most difficult thing I have faced with my allergies is that when I see my friends eating something that I know I can't have, it just makes me feel left out," says Sarah.

 

FDA.gov – Rule to List Trans Fats on Labels

The Facts About Trans Fats in Foods

 

In 2003, the FDA published a rule requiring food manufacturers to list on labels the amount of trans fats contained in their foods. Trans fats are created when liquid oils are solidified for products such as margarine. Though they are found in many commonly eaten foods, trans fats have been shown to raise levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) and to increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

 

What does the FDA's trans fats rule mean for consumers? To help sort it out, the agency has created a Web site with helpful background on trans fats and how to use the new labeling to plan a healthful diet.

 

Included is information on:

 

* the difference between various types of fats

 

* sample labels showing where the trans fat numbers are found

 

* practical tips on how to reduce consumption of trans fats (and other unhealthy fats as well).

 

Also on the site is a fun "pop quiz" in which you pick the most heart-healthy spread to put on your toast.

 

 

One-Stop Shop for Recalls Info

 

The federal government plays a major role in ensuring that unsafe products are taken off the market through its various recall programs. In the past, however, it could be difficult to find information not only about recalls, but also about which agency handles what recall. But now, a newly launched Web site makes it possible to locate current government recall information quickly.

 

With www.recalls.gov, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has created a gateway to seven recall categories: consumer products, motor vehicles, boats, food, medicine, cosmetics, and environmental products. Say you want to know what food products have been recalled in the last month. On the recalls.gov home page, just click on "foods," which will take you to a screen where you can pick either the U.S. Department of Agriculture (for meat, poultry and eggs) or the FDA (for all other food products). Both agencies have lists of current recalls.

 

Through recalls.gov, you also can report a dangerous product, learn important safety tips, and sign up for e-mail lists to be notified of recalls.

 

How to Prevent Permanent Hearing Loss

 

The numbers are staggering: Thirty million Americans are exposed daily to levels of noise high enough to put them at risk of permanent hearing loss. Ten million in this country have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise at work, in recreation settings, or at home.

 

Is it possible to head off this damage before it occurs? Yes, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, through its "Wise Ears" campaign, can show you how.

 

 

* a gauge for determining how loud is too loud

 

* resources for educators (videos, classroom activities

 

* 10 ways to recognize hearing loss

 

* how to protect your hearing when shooting a gun. The site also links to free brochures and other information on hearing loss, which can be viewed online or ordered in printed form.

 

Keeping Track of Your Fruits and Veggies

 

You hear the advice all the time: Eat at least five vegetables and fruits daily. That advice is backed up with compelling evidence that doing so can improve your health and cut the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious diseases.

 

But how do you get started? The National Cancer Institute says it can be as easy as having juice at breakfast or adding some extra veggies to your next sandwich. On its Eat 5 to 9 a Day offers a wealth of tips designed to make eating fruits and veggies fun and tasty. The site is loaded with recipes for any meal or snack during the day. It demystifies what a serving size is, and it explains how to boost fruit and veggie consumption in school lunches.

 

Also on the site is "Rate Your Health Habits," an interactive page that allows you to rate your daily intake of fruits and vegetables and your physical activity to help reach goals for optimum health.

 

Lunch Meats: The Slice is Right – How to Read Food Labels

Slap two slices of meat between two slices of bread--there's no easier way to build a sandwich. But pick the wrong meat--say, Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna--and you're talking a third of a day's saturated fat and a quarter of a day's sodium. And that's not even counting the sodium in the bread.

 

How do you find the right slices? We use the label of Healthy Choice Deli Traditions Smoked Turkey Breast to explain what to look for.

 

(Any) Percent Fat-Free Means Low Fat

 

Claims like "97% fat-free" make a food sound low in fat, so the government allows them only on meats that are low in fat (no more than three grams of fat per serving). In contrast, meats labeled "lean" or "light" need not be low in fat:

 

* Lean means that the meat can be no more than ten percent fat. That works out to no more than six grams of fat for a two-ounce serving--what you'd get in Butterball Lean Oven Roasted White Turkey, for example. ("Extra lean" means no more than five percent fat, or three grams of fat in a two-ounce serving.)

 

* Light or Lite means that the meat has half the fat of its full-fat version. Oscar Mayer Light Bologna, for example, has eight grams instead of the usual 16 grams in a two-ounce serving.

 

Lower Fat means at least 25 percent less fat than usual, but the label has to give details. For example, Louis Rich Lower Fat Turkey Bologna says "50% Less Fat than the market leader for bologna" right on the front of the package. (Two ounces will still set you back eight grams of fat.)

 

Turkey Terms are Tricky

 

"Turkey breast" has less fat than "turkey." In fact, "turkey" can include skin (though "white turkey" means breast or wing meat). Most of the turkey we found was low in fat. Exceptions: A two-ounce serving--eight to ten thin slices--of Carl Buddig or Land O' Frost Turkey has six grams of fat.

 

And don't assume that chicken or turkey is automatically leaner than red meats. Two ounces of Bar-S Chicken Bologna has 14 grams of fat. Oscar Mayer Fat Free Bologna has zero.

 

"Healthy" Means Low-Fat and Less Sodium

 

It's no coincidence that most of our Best Bites are made by Healthy Choice. The government won't allow the word "healthy" on a label unless a serving of the food is low in fat (no more than three grams), low in saturated fat (no more than one gram), and not high in sodium (no more than 480 milligrams).

 

Luncheon meats that meet the fat cut-offs are a dime a dozen. Oscar Mayer Fat Free, Louis Rich Fat Free, and DAK Lookin' Lean lines are all low in fat and saturated fat. But few meats--even the lean or fat-free ones--meet the sodium cut-off for "healthy."

 

Not that 480 milligrams is rock-bottom low. There's no getting around the fact that luncheon meats are full of salt. And luncheon meat sandwiches are even saltier, since you're almost guaranteed an extra 300 mg of sodium from the two slices of bread. So it pays to minimize the damage by buying Healthy Choice meats. Other options: Carl Buddig Premium Lean or Butterball Fat Free Turkey Breast. Or try a vegetarian lunch "meat." (They tend to be lower in sodium, but may lead die-hard meat-lovers to put in an emergency call to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.)

 

Start Here

 

Never check the calories, fat, or anything else on a "Nutrition Facts" label until you make sure that the serving size is what you eat. For most people, that's about two ounces (56 grams) of lunch meats, or two slices of ordinary bologna. (Deli restaurants usually serve closer to five ounces.)

 

The eight grams of fat and 510 mg of sodium in Oscar Mayer's Hard Salami, for example, may tempt you ... until you notice that the label uses a one-ounce serving. Double all the numbers and things don't look so good any more.

 

With paper-thin "deli-style" slices, it may take anywhere from five to ten slices to reach two ounces. That may make it easier for some people to settle for a little less meat. Just be sure to count your slices so you'll know what you're getting.

 

Of course, not everybody stops at two ounces. To make it easier, pile on the lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet peppers, or other veggies and use the meat as a flavorful condiment.

 

Heart Claims Aren't Kidding

 

The American Heart Association only allows this "heart check" symbol on foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. But a food without the check could be just as good (the company may not have wanted to pay the Heart Association's fee). The claim below the check--which mentions heart disease--is a government-approved health claim that's only foods that are low in fat, fat, and cholesterol and are not high in sodium. It's good to look for those claims. (Just make sure you pack your bifocals. They're often in tiny type.)

 

Fat-Free Means Calorie Savings

 

Many people are now convinced that fat-free and low-fat foods have as many calories as their regular counterparts. That may be true for sugary foods like cakes, cookies, and ice cream, but it's not true for meats. Two slices of regular Oscar Mayer Bologna pack 180 calories. Two of the same-size slices of Oscar Mayer Fat Free Bologna have only 40 calories.

 

Nitrites Are Nice To Avoid

 

Try to avoid them, but it's not the end of the world if you can't. Sodium nitrite is a preservative that adds flavor and color to most lunch meats. It may react with chemicals in food or in the stomach to form tiny amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines. But the sodium ascorbate (vitamin C) or its cousin, sodium erythorbate, that companies add to their cold cuts diminishes the already-small risk. So does a glass of orange juice, piece of citrus fruit, or other vitamin-C-rich food you have with your sandwich.

 

Soup & Sandwich Diet Strategy – When it’s Cold Outside, Choose Complex Carbs for Comfort with Fewer Calories

This time of year, when days are cold, short and dreary, we're drawn to comfort foods for warmth and cheer. Unfortunately, many of these dishes are high in calories and saturated fat. A serving of homemade macaroni and cheese, for example, can pack as many as 850 calories and 43 grams of fat (most of it saturated). No wonder so many of us gain weight during the winter!

 

It is possible to create a homey meal without a lot of unwanted calories and fat. The secret is to team up complex carbs (from whole-wheat pasta and whole-grain breads) with flavorful, high-fiber, nutrient-dense veggies like cauliflower, kale and red peppers, then add just a touch of cheese. The result: soups and sandwiches that offer all the satisfaction of high-fat winter fare with a fraction of the calories.

 

Minestrone

 

Serves 6

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

 

Cook time: 15 minutes

 

Note: This basic recipe lends itself well to improvisation. For an even heartier soup, add 1/2 pound diced uncooked chicken breast, medium shrimp or cubed pork tenderloin to the boiling mixture 2 minutes after adding the pasta. For variety, use seasonal vegetables (for example, add sweet potatoes, rutabagas and turnips in winter or corn, fresh tomatoes and peas in summer). You can also vary the herbs. Try fresh basil, oregano or parsley.

 

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 15-ounce can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained

6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups small-shaped whole-wheat pasta (like ditalini or small

penne), about 8 ounces

2 cups cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup frozen lima beans

1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 yellow squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups chopped fresh kale

2 tablespoons prepared pesto

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes, until onion is soft. Add thyme, bay leaves and black pepper and stir to coat. Add beans, broth and tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Add pasta and cook 7 minutes. Then add cauliflower, lima beans, zucchini and yellow squash. Partially cover pot and cook for 5 more minutes, until pasta is tender.

 

Remove from heat, stir in the kale and pesto and allow to sit for 1 minute. Remove bay leaves, ladle soup into 4 bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon Parmesan.

 

Nutrition score per serving (2 cups): 302 calories, 17% fat (6 g; 1.4 g saturated), 63% carbs (48 g), 20% protein (15 g), 10 g fiber, 137 mg calcium, 3.4 mg iron, 854 mg sodium.

 

Turkey Monte Cristo With Mango Chutney

 

Serves 4

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

 

Cook time: 6-10 minutes

 

8 slices whole-grain bread

4 tablespoons prepared mango chutney

12 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey breast

1 cup baby spinach leaves

4 1-ounce slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese

1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

1/4 cup fat-free milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cooking spray

Spread 4 slices of bread with a tablespoon of mango chutney each. Then top each bread slice with turkey, spinach, Swiss cheese and second slice of bread. Set aside.

 

In a shallow dish, whisk together egg substitute, milk, mustard and nutmeg. Add sandwiches and press down gently so bread absorbs liquid. Flip sandwiches to coat both sides with egg mixture. Press gently again.

 

Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sandwiches and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until egg coating is cooked and cheese melts. Serve immediately.

 

Nutrition score per serving (1 sand-wich): 411 calories, 20% fat (9 g; 5.6 g saturated), 43% carbs (44 g), 37% protein (37 g), 7 g fiber, 529 mg calcium, 3.4 mg iron, 1,041 mg sodium.

 

Veggie Panini

 

Serves 4

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

 

Cook time: 9-11 minutes

 

Note: There's no need to purchase a fancy sandwich press in order to make panini. Just place a clean, heavy skillet on top of your sandwiches to press and weigh them down as they grill.

 

Olive-oil cooking spray

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 16-ounce whole-grain baguette, cut into 4 equal pieces and halved

crosswise

8 teaspoons prepared sun-dried tomato pesto

1 cup sliced roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)

1 cup watercress leaves

8 ounces thinly sliced or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant slices and cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Set aside.

 

Coat one side of each baguette piece with 2 teaspoons of the pesto. Top pesto with eggplant slices, red peppers, watercress and cheese. Coat the same large skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sandwiches. Place a clean, heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches and carefully press them down to flatten. Leave the skillet on top of the sandwiches and cook 3-4 minutes, until sandwiches are golden on bottom. Remove the top skillet, flip sandwiches and repeat process, cooking 2-3 minutes, until second side is golden and cheese melts.

 

Nutrition score per serving (1 sandwich): 410 calories, 28% fat (13 g; 6.4 g saturated), 47% carbs (48 g), 25% protein (26 g), 11 g fiber, 691 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 566 mg sodium.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: 10-Minute Homemade Soup

 

Chicken Noodle Soup With Whole-Wheat Pasta

 

In a large stockpot, combine 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1/2 pound diced skinless, boneless chicken breast (raw or cooked), 1 cup each diced carrots and celery, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, add 4 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti (broken into 2-inch pieces) and simmer 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups baby spinach leaves along with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Serves 4.

 

Nutrition score per serving (1 1/2 cups): 224 calories, 8% fat (2 g; <1 g saturated), 46% carbs (25 g), 46% protein (25 g), 4 g fiber, 70 mg calcium, 2.9 mg iron, 546 mg sodium.

 

Sweet & Tangy – Rosemary Lamb Makes a Classic Sandwich Classy

If a sloppy joe evokes school cafeteria days for you, it's time for an update. Substitute lamb and honey for the beef and ketchup base to give the juicy classic intriguing new flavor. Add rosemary to the sauce (it's a natural partner for lamb) and goat cheese on the bun, and you have a sophisticated dish with all the comfort of the old joe. If you end up with some of the lamb mixture left over, try it on pasta the next night.

 

Honey-Rosemary Lamb Sandwich

 

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 25 minutes

 

MAKES: 6 servings

 

1 1/2 pounds ground lean lamb

1 onion (8 oz.), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 can (15 oz.) tomato puree

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

rosemary Salt and pepper

6 flat sandwich rolls (about 3 oz. each), such as ciabatta or

sourdough, split

3 to 5 ounces fresh chevre (goat cheese)

About 2 cups baby spinach leaves (2 oz.), rinsed and crisped

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

 

1. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, crumble lamb with a wooden spoon, stirring often until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.

 

2. Return meat to pan; add onion and garlic. Stir occasionally until onion begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomato puree, honey, and rosemary; stir occasionally until hot, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

3. Set roll bottoms on plates and spread with goat cheese; cover with baby spinach leaves. Spoon lamb mixture over spinach and set tops in place.

 

Per serving: 584 cal., 48% (279 cal.) from fat; 32 g protein, 31 g fat (10 g sat.); 63 g carbo (4.6 g fiber); 836 mg sodium; 89 mg chol.

 

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