Mom Things, School Safe List, Snacking, Uncategorized

Nut-free Ice Cream + 1 Year Anniversary of Anaphylactic Episode

Well duh, most ice creams without nuts are nut-free, right?


If you have looked at the ingredient label of your ice cream lately, you’ve probably noticed a change in the label. All labels have to clearly state if an allergen is present. The top 8 allergens are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
  • Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
  • Soy
  • Wheat

There are MANY other allergies besides these, but these are the most common. What manufacturers do NOT HAVE TO STATE is whether or not the facility in which the ice cream is made contains nuts. This is a big deal for anyone who is very sensitive to allergens, like peanut dust, that may come into contact with an otherwise safe product.

Today is our ONE YEAR ANAPHYLACTIC EPISODE ANNIVERSARY with my daughter. Last May 19, she ate a Roundy’s Brand Fudge Popsicle that sent her to the ER after EPI-PEN was administered by her school principal. The packaging on the Popsicle did not disclose any allergy information, and I was not made aware that this Popsicle was going to be given out at school. However, when I called the Roundy’s facility, the manufacturer stated that the facility the Popsicles were made in also processed peanuts and tree nuts. This is how cross contact can happen, at the facility, not necessarily IN the product directly, but around it, then on to it.

Because manufacturers do not have to disclose facility information (although more and more are doing this due to the sheer volume of phone calls of nut-allergic kids and worried moms and dads) it is up to the consumer to find out how safe a product actually is.

I learned a lot about ice cream today.  Ice cream is tricky.

Many manufacturers make many different types of ice cream from Butter Pecan, Caramel Cashew, plain Vanilla and delicious Chocolate. It is up to the manufacturer to clean, sanitize and properly flush all the ice cream making lines before making the next flavor. However, it’s difficult to clearly state that the lines are 100% free of certain allergens, so makers of Blue Bunny, Hy-Vee, Sam’s Club, etc are not able to ensure that their products are safe for people with allergies. The difference in these manufacturers though is that Blue Bunny CLEARLY STATES information about their facility and manufacturing process, whereas the others DO NOT state this information.

After my daughter’s teacher asked me about Hy-Vee brand ice cream today, I approved it after reading the label. The label said “Contains: Milk” and I automatically assumed that it was safe for my daughters ice cream party.

While I was driving my son to school, I decided to call Hy-Vee because we rarely have ice cream and Hy-Vee answers my questions so very quickly. While I was on the phone, the woman told me that anything made by Hy-Vee has the potential risk of cross contact due to the facility that it’s made in; it’s made in a facility that also processes peanuts and tree nuts. My heart sank. I’m driving and trying not to panic.

I call the school and get the message to her teacher asap.

At this point, I’m having Dejavu. But I’m prepared and so is her school. Deep breaths.

After dropping my son off at school, I decide to head over to Hy-Vee to see what kind of allergy free ice cream I can find.

Hy-Vee was over the top helpful. I had not 1, not 2, but 3 people helping me in the frozen food section trying to find a safe, nut-free ice cream for my daughter. All three guys had their phones out researching safe ice creams, manufacturers and calling around trying to find one that would be acceptable.

My heart was overflowing with gratitude.

We decided to try Breyer’s Ice Cream and we finally find a winner. Not only did they disclose all the allergy information, they have a designated allergy line to call for more information. After hearing that and then calling customer service to confirm, I know that Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream is made in a nut free, gluten free facility and only contains the allergen: milk. Breyers will be my go-to ice cream this summer. Luckily, we dont eat much ice cream, just popsicles.

Have a great weekend – I am grateful for all the help I received today and will be even better when I pick my little lady up from school today to celebrate 1 year of epi-pen free. I’m thinking tonight will be a movie and popcorn type of Friday. Thank goodness.

Hugs to you and yours.



10 thoughts on “Nut-free Ice Cream + 1 Year Anniversary of Anaphylactic Episode”

  1. Hi there! I am wondering how you found out about Breyers Natural vanilla ice cream being safe. I called the phone number for Breyers today and the person I spoke to told me no ice cream could be safe from Breyers. I also spoke to someone else on Live Chat and they said the same thing. However they were completely unhelpful in knowing how the ice cream facility cleaned between flavors, etc. they weren’t educated on any of that information. Any helpful information on if you still consider Breyers Natural Vanilla to be safe? Thank you! My son has a severe peanut allergy.

    1. Hello Lindsey, I called and spoke to customer service twice and they both confirmed that the ingredients listed in the gluten free, breyer’s vanilla was all that was around this flavor, no cross contact or nuts in the facility. It has been a long time since I have talked with them so maybe this has changed. Ice cream is by far the most difficult item to secure “nut free” status on.

      I do still consider Breyers Natural Gluten Free Vanilla to be the safest flavor available In the grocery store. There is a specific nut free brand sold at some whole foods, however I have had no luck in my city finding it.

      Thanks for the post. And I am sorry there is contradicting allergy info out there. Ice cream is tough!

      1. Thanks for clarifying on this! Do you have the number you called? When I call the 1-800 number for Unilever they just read off the standard allergen statement and haven’t given me a straight answer in the natural vanilla ice cream. Disnku actually get a hold of someone that confirmed a completely but free line / facility??

  2. I found your blog when searching for allergy friendly ice cream. My son has peanut, tree nut allergy. After reading your post, I realized we are also one year epipen free at the time of finding your post. He is 6, seems to have developed asthma over the past year, but great to realize one year anaphylaxis free! Hope you are still celebrating more years of being epi pen free!

    1. Thank you for your comment! And congrats on not having to use EPI! What a good feeling! (And good work on checking all those labels)

      We have PN & TN, too. Its tricky sometimes. We also have asthma, and manage it well with QVAR Redihaler twice daily. Night and day difference.

      Hope you are EPI free for a long time! Take care 🙂

  3. 23+ PA daughter has been reaction free (PTL) ever since her very first episode which sent us to the allergist in the first place. (maybe other than her grandfather kissing her on the cheek when she was still young after he ate a snickers bar and caused a noticeable rash!) our motto has been, no risks. NONE. it has limited our selection of cuisine, but really, whatever limitations and restrictions that have bound us by sticking to our plan is really inconsequential.

    just a word of encouragement.

    i have noticed lately that the language has changed slightly. what was once called ‘cross-contamination’ is now being called ‘cross-contact’. oh my, how politically correct!

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