Friday, January 11, 2008

Where I Take A Comment And Make It A Post

In case anyone was wondering, I'm not through with the "Broussard Brouhaha" yet. I left the following comment on my big post about the food allergy smear job she did for NPR and Harper's. I needed to disengage from the brouhaha for a bit to attend to Things in Real Life and my own mental state about it. I have progressed from amazed disbelief to just plain anger.

I am actually On A Break from Ms. Broussard at the moment (think Rachel and Ross) because I need to step back a bit. I'll write some more tomorrow or this weekend. Trust me, there's more.

Why do people raise such a stink about food allergies? My favorite pet theory is about Control. Food allergies are (seemingly) new and nobody has figured out just why it's happening and it is an inconvenience to people--the afflicted and innocent bystanders. On one hand the afflicted are inconvenienced with severe health issues, up to and including actual death. On the other, the innocent bystanders are being asked not to eat PB&Js in the presence of the afflicted. Death or Turkey Sandwich? Both are, evidently, extremely dire consequences.

What this woman has done is to deliberately and falsely cherry-pick her data to make it seem like FAAN and a couple drug companies and a few select doctors have colluded to terrorize thousands of innocent children. Well, the innocent bystanders are apparently Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore. They are going to stand up for their God-given right to eat PB&J sandwiches and use eggs and milk in their cupcake recipes or go down trying.

As if I'm enjoying the fact that my kid could die from eating a yummy food. As if I'm enjoying the attention we got when half the neighborhood saw the fire trucks at our house. As if I've got nothing better to do.

More power to them. Fight the fight, I say. But don't expect it to be easy.

I intend to take a detailed look at some of her blog posts this weekend. For now, I'm off to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History (aka the Train Museum) with my kids, some more kids, and a friend. Bye!


Monica said...

If she is that convinced that food allergies are not increasing, someone should ask her whether she thinks the increase in atopic dermatitis and asthma, two closely related diseases, is also a myth. Ugh! All this woman needs to do is pick up a scientific journal or two. Far be it from any journalist to ever do that, though.

Rational Jenn said...

You know, that's an excellent point. A very excellent point.

By the way, thanks for the info you sent this morning. I really appreciate it--I'll read it this weekend.

Canico said...

Also, here’s an article with an unbiased doctor’s comments specifically about Meredith Broussard’s.Hopefully this will clear up some of the mess she made. Please read:

Rational Jenn said...


Thanks so much for sharing this article. I will link to it soon. It was very gratifying to see many of the points I and others have touched on made by an allergist who is also a food allergy parent.

We need to share the news about this, to counteract some of the misinformation that has unfortunately been spread.

Crimson Wife said...

I've heard that a big reason for the increase in life-threatening food allergies recently is genetic engineering of crops. I knew kids with peanut allergies growing up, but all they had to do was just avoid eating peanut products themselves. These days, kids are so allergic that even coming into contact with minuscule residue causes a reaction.

Perhaps it's time for a moratorium on GMO's until they can be conclusively ruled out as a factor in food allergies.

Rational Jenn said...

Hi Crimson Wife! Thanks for stopping by.

I have no idea about the role of genetically engineered food. I'm not sure if there have even been studies done on it. I know that one mom believes that to be the case and she was just interviewed by The New York Times if you're interested.

There are just so many factors and while everyone would love to know WHY, as far as I know there has been no large all-encompassing study to test all the current theories. Even the most popular theory, the hygiene hypothesis, keeps coming back with contradicting results. I'd like to see a study done on the impact of multiple immunizations, too. And really, also, the genetic factor. We have got much better at managing so many allergies in the last 50 years or so--now those of us (me!) with severe yet manageable allergies have kids. I've gotta wonder sometimes about that.

Anonymous said...

I just love what you wrote here about Broussard and her piece. Her misinformation is so damaging to food allergy sufferers everywhere, esp. helpless children! You rock, Rational Jenn! Pls keep up the work on counteracting such ridiculous claims and ignorant talk!

I have often wondered why it is that food allergies seem to cause so much controversy. My theory is that unlike many other diseases, some feel we are "infringing" on their rights (for PB). It's likes it's ok to make accomadations for people with some disabilities as long as it doesn't require them to do anything. I don't get it -right to PB is more important than right to life??? Go figure?!