Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.
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sector. "After becoming parents to a child with a nut allergy, we were surprised there weren't readily available snack solutions, especially in such a branded society where there are even vitamins in water," he says. "It struck me as odd that no company stood up in this space of nut-free snacks with mainstream pricing." Najarian and his business partner, Dave Leyrer, aimed to launch a line of all-natural snacks that people would know by definition is safe. "It also had to be great-tasting," Najarian says. But it was tough for the budding Skeeter team to find a plant that was totally nut free. Keating, who is Skeeter's director of school programs, is quick to point out the difference between snacks that don't contain nuts and Skeeter's commitment to nut-free manufacturing. "It's true that many snacks don't have nuts in them, but what many people don't know is they're run in a facility that did have a nut snack manufacturer in a week ago, and traces are still on the equipment," she says. Najarian says Skeeter products maintain a strict allergen protocol, and are made in a dedicated nut-free facility in which ingredients are carefully selected from suppliers meeting nut-free standards. "We take full responsibility, and we're completely involved in the manufacturing process. We believe we have designed the gold standard for nut-free manufacturing protocol," he emphasizes. Skeeter's products, including cinnamon grahams and chocolate chip mini-cookies in a 10-ounce box, can be found locally at Roche Bros. supermarkets. While parents, teachers, coaches, and school administra- tors can rely on Skeeter snacks as a safe option, the company has already gone above and beyond its reach to the school-aged community. Skeeter recently cemented its presence in the mainstream market- place through a groundbreaking new partnership with JetBlue airlines. All JetBlue flights nationwide now offer Skeeter chocolate chip grahams onboard. "Given the growing prevalence of food allergies, our goal is to continually seek out and introduce a wide variety of snack options that meet our customers' dietary needs, but also taste good," says Nicole Huang, manager of product development for JetBlue Airways. "We're proud to offer a delicious, nut-free chocolate chip cookie, which means our customers won't have to worry about food allergies; they can just sit back and relax." Najarian applauds JetBlue's initiative to create an even safer envi- ronment onboard. "We're thrilled to partner with JetBlue and expand our presence nationwide," he says. Alix Keating is quick to add that Skeeter snacks fit in with First Lady Michelle Obama's smart snacking guidelines. "We are helping to set new standards for expectations in snacking and today's nutritional needs," she says. So while those who aren't affected by nut allergies in their own fam- ilies might not spend much time thinking about its challenges, area communities, the federal government, and major airlines are already on board with the concerns surrounding the problem. "It's always better to be on the safe side that the sorry side," Delaney concludes. fitness & health "customers won't have to worry about food allergies" 140 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 4 For More Information: n CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES FOR MANAGING FOOD ALLERGIES IN SCHOOLS www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies n FDA FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT (FSMA) www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm n SKEETER NUT FREE snacks www.skeetersnacks.com n WELLESLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS www.wellesley.k12.ma.us/ n UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) SMART SNACKS IN SCHOOL STANDARDS www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/allfoods.htm "We are helping to set new standards for expectations in snacking and today's nutritional needs." – A l i x K e a t i n g , d i r e c t o r o f s c h o o l p r o g r a m s , S k e e t e r N u t F r e e s n a c k s 138-140_WWMb14_fitness_allergies_v2_WellesleyWeston Magazine 4/24/14 5:33 PM Page 140