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When you discover you have a food allergy, as I did this past year, you become an inveterate label reader.

I’m allergic to corn. It makes me itch. I don’t like to itch, so I do what I can to avoid corn. It’s not easy. Did you know that corn syrup shows up in the most unlikely places? I bought some stuffing mix, the prepackaged, pre-spiced bread cubes, for Thanksgiving and found it had corn syrup. Why does dried bread need corn syrup? If a food doesn’t contain corn syrup, it’s a sure bet it’ll contain corn starch or corn meal. (The bottoms of pizzas often have corn meal to prevent sticking.)

Once, I got a little lazy with the label reading. I bought dry-roasted peanuts assuming they wouldn’t have corn, but they did. It wasn’t until I developed itching over several days of peanut eating that I finally read the can and found the corn.

After that, I try hard not to be lazy about label reading. In fact, I’ve learned to reread labels for products I know to be corn-free. Some products are initially corn-free, but get reformulated to include corn.

Good thing I like to read. Now if only food labels were printed in larger type ….