Mom Things, Snacking

Nut Free Ice Cream

Today I contacted Breyers, my go-to safe ice cream, regarding the only flavor we allow at our house, Natural Vanilla & Gluten Free flavor.  I called 1-800-931-2826 and spoke with Peter to confirm there was no cross contact risk.

Breyers  Ice Cream Natural Vanilla 48 oz

To summarize, Breyers has strict processes in place to keep common allergens away from non-allergen flavors. There are dedicated, separate lines. If the manufacturing lines are shared at any time, a stringent cleaning process (with sampling) will happen before any new products are created. It will be noted on the carton with “may contain” if the lines are ever shared in the flavor you choose.

If there is no “may contain” statement, then no cross contact is happening on that line of ice cream.

It is true that multiple flavors of ice cream are all made in the same facility. They are on different lines, however.

Gluten Free flavors under-go a specialty cleaning process to certify gluten free status. There is segregation in the facility so these flavors are made on different days (which I LOVE because technically the gluten free flavors, which are all nut free, have the entire building to themselves), with an even deeper cleaning procedure. No information is available about whether or not this is a separate building or shared, or if they can 100% confirm that absolutely no other flavors are being made on another side of the facility. If I could tour this facility, I WOULD! Actually, I’d love that. Since my Dad works in food production, I can sort of picture how this would look, and I’m OK with it.

I hope this helps. Breyers has been the most cooperative and open about sharing this type of information. I’m obsessed with the cleaning process and that is why we only buy the gluten free vanilla. There are other nut-free ice creams for sale, and they are available on the SPOKIN website for you to find where they are.

Holiday Favorites, Snacking, Travel

Dairy Queen & Nut Allergies

It is summer, and a steamy one at that. We’re all frantically reading labels and trying to find cool summertime treats for our kiddos and friends. It is certainly tricky when you have a food allergy, to say the least.

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Over the past year we have become good friends with our neighborhood Dairy Queen. Each Dairy Queen is a little different, and establishing a relationship is crucial when you have an allergy. The DQ that we frequent has a few “approved” by MOM items on its menu. The soft serve and pre-packed Starkiss popsicles are some of them.

How do we DQ?

  1. Know your DQ or talk to a manager up front about allergies.
  2. We only do soft serve. Chocolate or vanilla.
  3. The cones are nut free + safe.
  4. The ice cream itself is nut free.
  5. Cross contact you need to worry about.
  6. Our DQ takes a small amount of ice cream out of the machine before serving my nut allergic daughter to make sure no trace amounts of others toppings are on hers.
  7. Always be prepared, and ENJOY IT!

*NEW*

Image result for dairy queen starkiss

Today I spoke with Dairy Queen Corporate Headquarters in Minnesota.

DQ International: (952) 830 – 0200

Taylor was my CSR and she was well aware of food allergies since she also has tree nut and peanut allergies. She helped me find out about Starkiss Popsicles at DQ, sold in the stand alone freezer section. And they are SAFE! The Starkiss product is part of their nut free offering at DQ. When purchased from DQ and wrapped in cling wrap from the manufacturer, it can be stated that, “Starkiss are produced in a nut free environment, free from peanuts and tree nuts.”

Many times my daughter has asked to try one, however, the allergy information only says “contains milk” – but we all know that facility information is not always disclosed on the label.

Today’s phone call warmed my heart. Taylor was so informative. We are beyond excited to have one more safe “on the go” item to add to our list of treats.

Have a wonderful weekend! Stay cool! We’ll be back on Monday with a complete 4th of July Menu for our annual Fireworks Party on the Milwaukee Lake Front!

Cheers!

xo

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?

Wrong.

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.