Friday 15 June 2012

Food Allergies-Nut Allergies-Frozen Treats-Italian Ice-Ice Cream

Store-Bought Ice Cream and Nut Allergies: Here's the Scoop

With summer around the corner and warm weather taking over, lots of usare thinking about ice cream. Those of us dealing with nut allergies arewondering what ice cream we can possibly buy because store-bought ice creamoffers an allergy label minefield. In fact, ice cream labels withregard to nut allergies (and other food allergies) are some of the most diverse andinconsistent out there. It's crazy! So how do you know what is safe for your situation andwhat isn’t? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken another look at ice creamlabels from several different brands.
Here’s the scoop (forgive the pun): some labels are changing to includeallergy statements and some brands simply have no allergen information on themat all. In fact, this is true for most of the “big name” brands. When you callor e-mail (Häagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s and Edy’s are three I’ve contacted) theymay tell you that the ice cream is made on the same lines with allergens but that awash-down is done between batches. For severely allergic people, the chance ofan allergen remaining, even in trace amounts, can be problematic, so personallyI avoid these altogether. However, you might feel OK with the wash-down; that's certainly up to you.Some brands (Cia Bella gelato, for example) have clearallergy warnings as follows: Made on equipment with eggs, wheat, peanuts andtree nuts.
Blue Bunny brand will tell you detailed allergen informationon their web site and packaging. Click here for a list. A very few (like the coconut milk-based So Delicious brand) give an allergystatement on their packaging that explains a wash down system/allergen testing they do for eachflavor, even though some of their flavors contain common allergens likepeanuts. While I appreciate the information, I don’t want stuff made on sharedlines, period. So I’ve skipped brands with those types of labels too, though Iknow some people don’t and haven’t had a problem. Like so many other foods orsituations, this one is personal call based on your doctor's advice, child's past reactions and general comfort level with the product.What about Popsicles and Italian ice frozen treats?I’ve had better luck with many of those over the years, simply for the factthat most aren’t sharing lines with ice cream that contains peanuts or treenuts. Luigi’s Italian Ice and Popsicle brand are two I’ve used without problems for years.However, I recommend calling to check each year—because the labels are changingand production practices change often. So if you see something you like andthere is no allergy info, it's a good idea to call or send an e-mail to the company.
What if the customer service lines are closed when you want to call? I stick to the when in doubt, do without rule. It's always better to at least know the facts when serving a food, so if you don't know if it's safe, skip it. I find that it helps to be armed with cookies, fruit treats or other goodies when attending parties or family member's homes so that you always have something to offer your child in case the "house ice cream" is off-limits.
Sometimes it just seems easier to make your own frozen treats, especially if you are dealing with multiple food allergies. I lovehaving an electric ice cream maker (from Cuisinart, about $50 but I use it a lot) because you can choose whatever ingredientsand flavors you like. You can make sorbet, ice cream, frozen yogurt—all withoutworry and with a lot less of the bad stuff like chemicals and additives. What if you want a quick treat and don't feel like waiting hours for your dessert to freeze? Have you seen the Zoku?  This fun little device makes ice pops and other frozen treats in minutes. These are so fun for kidsand adults love them too—I’m thinking of picking one up this summer. They aresold at places like Williams-Sonoma and other home stores—if the kids aredriving you crazy over summer break, this makes a fun project for them besidesa healthy sna read more..

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