How Food Allergy Awareness Makes You a Better Leader

How Food Allergy Awareness Makes You a Better Leader

As many of you know, our children have a combined 30 severe food allergies. We are always on high alert and I have written several articles during the pandemic regarding the FDA's relaxed label guidelines due to COVID. It seems everyone gets a break during a pandemic even if it could be deadly for those with severe food allergies. Not knowing what is in a particular food as an ingredient not only can be deadly; it is deadly. With over 170 known food allergens our laws when effective, only require the top 8 to be listed. Why am I going down this road you might wonder. Thankfully our children are okay, although we have had our fair share of anaphylactic incidents from "safe" food during this past year. What caused me to pause this weekend was the horrible news that a wonderful family we know, lost their adult son to an anaphylactic reaction to milk, not properly listed in the ingredients. As I read the news, I was sad, upset, frightened and angry. This is an allergy parent's worst nightmare. Losing a child is any parent's worst nightmare. This young man was just starting to live his adult life and because someone thought it was okay to not list all the ingredients or because someone thinks just a little can't hurt, this young man is gone forever. That is simply not okay.

I share this with you to say that in everything we do in our businesses, we impact lives. The lives of our employees and their families; the lives of our customers and their families; the lives of everyone we touch. In everything we do in every aspect of our lives and businesses, we cannot simply stop doing the right thing just because it is inconvenient. Yet, we sometimes are pushed to the limit of capacity, of cost, of quality. Our employees can feel pressured to reach a specific profit margin or bottom line result. Vision sometimes gets clouded over by the pressure and decisions get made without thinking through all the important details. I am not implying that every decision is a life and death situation. I am however suggesting that perhaps we need to take a step back and make sure our vision is clear and we are making decisions that are in the best interest of all the stakeholders involved. How does this play out in your company? In your company values? In your values?

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