Are peanuts hiding in your packaged snacks? A warning to those with food allergies!

Posted on June 15th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in News & Research, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy, Products | Comments Off on Are peanuts hiding in your packaged snacks? A warning to those with food allergies!

Ocean SprayOcean Spray announced on June 5, 2014 that it was recalling packages of its Greek Yogurt Covered Craisins® Dried Cranberries because three consumers reported that they founded yogurt-covered peanuts in the bag. Yikes! And there was a recent news story about a 7-year old girl who reached into a bag of chocolate-covered banana pieces only to bite into a chocolate-covered walnut, to which she had a known allergy. Luckily she was okay after a trip to the emergency room.

So how safe is it to eat any packaged food if someone has a food allergy? And how accurate are those food labels? The Craisins label does not have a warning that the product may contain peanuts, but it that does contain a warning that the product is made on equipment that also processes nuts. Perhaps someone with a nut allergy would have steered clear of this product in the first place. However, it seems like many food packages (especially Trader Joe’s labels) contain a warning about all of the top eight allergens just to cover the bases, whether the allergen may be present or not. This can be very confusing for the consumer.

If you are not sure about a product, it is best to avoid it. If you want to find out more, call the manufacturer. They can tell you whether they have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) with regards to allergens — whether they segregate allergens, clean between runs, have special days that they run products with allergens, have dedicated machinery, or don’t do anything at all to

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prevent cross-contamination. You will probably get better information from someone at the company than the generic statement on the label.

For recall information, I encourage you to sign up for FARE’s (Food Allergy Research & Education) allergy alerts that you will receive via email. For an entire list of recalls, not just allergen-related, you can visit the FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts page.


Gluten-free fig cookies – new from Pamela’s! Enter to win!

Posted on March 4th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Giveaways, Products | Read 150 Comments - Add Your Own »

Did you grow up eating Fig Newtons? I did. They are one of those nostalgic cookies for me, like Nutter Butters and Circus Animal Cookies. I never did look at the ingredients panel until recently, and… yuck. Besides the fact that Fig Newtons are gluten-ous, they also contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, soybean oil (GMO) and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Not what I want to be putting in my body or my children’s bodies!

But I have exciting news! Pamela’s Products has created a gluten-free version of fig cookies that is better-tasting and healthier than the original. They are called Figgies & Jammies and come in four flavors: Blueberry & Fig, Mission Fig, Strawberry & Fig, and Raspberry & Fig. If you miss the taste of those good ol’ fig cookies because you are now gluten-free, or if you want better ingredients, you will be happy to have these.Pamela's Figgies & Jammies

I like these cookies much better than the original — they are soft and full of flavor. And, they have no corn syrup, no artificial flavors or additives, and no hydrogenated oils or trans fats. I tested them on my kids, who have never had a Fig Newton in their lives and think the concept of fig in a cookie is disgusting… and they loved them! They will make a great lunchbox or after-school treat.

FIGGIES & JAMMIES GIVEAWAY!
They are not yet on store shelves, but will be soon. In the meantime, would you like to be one of the first to try them? Pamela’s has agreed to give away the new Figgies & Jammies to three of my lucky readers! All you have to do is make a comment on this post answering the following two questions:

  • What type of cookie was your childhood favorite?
  • Which TWO flavors of Figgies & Jammies would you like to win? (Yes, you will win two packages of cookies!)

Contest will remain open until March 12, 2014 at 5:00 PST (I extended it). You may add extra comments for extra chances to win, telling me you shared the contest on Facebook or Twitter. Three winners will be randomly selected and I will contact you via email. Good luck!


Allergen-Free Chocolate Chips

Posted on December 15th, 2013 by Alison | Posted in Candy, Dairy Allergy, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy, Products, Soy Allergy | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

Enjoy Life MorselsIf you are looking for an allergen-free chocolate chip, I recommend Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels. Enjoy Life already has its Mini Chips and Mega Chunks, and the Morsels are a new addition.

All of these products are gluten, dairy, nut and soy-free — allergens that could be found in other chocolates. While I love the size of the Mini Chips and have been using them for years, I like the flavor of the new Morsels much better. They have a richer chocolate taste (69% cacao).

There are only two ingredients in the Morsels: Unsweetened Chocolate and Cane Sugar. The package states “Made in a dedicated nut and gluten-free facility.” It has a Gluten-Free Certification, and its allergen statement says, “The facility also processes dairy and soy; however, this products is produced on a dedicated dairy- and soy-free line. Ingredients have been additionally tested to ensure strict allergen control standards are met.”

So if you are looking for safe chocolate chips, try these! If you can’t yet find them in stores, you can buy them online at Enjoy Life Foods.


SuperSeedz Pumpkin Seeds (a Giveaway!)

Posted on July 13th, 2013 by Alison | Posted in Peanuts/Nuts Allergy, Products | Read 20 Comments - Add Your Own »

Pumpkin seeds are delicious and packed with nutrition, having one of the highest protein contents of any seed or nut. They are also a good source of minerals, fiber and healthy omega-3 oils. Though most nut-allergic individuals can tolerate seeds, the seeds are often made in a facility with nuts, presenting the risk of cross-contamination.

I like to make my own pumpkin seeds when I carve pumpkins in October, and if I’m cooking a butternut squash, I’ll toast those seeds too, but I was looking for some safe pumpkin seeds for the rest of the year for my daughter who is allergic to nuts.

In my search, I came across SuperSeedz by Kathie’s Kitchen. I love the taste of these pumpkin seeds! I am addicted to the Sea Salt ones, but all of the flavors are fun and delicious: Coco Joe, Curry, Really Naked, Super Spicy, Somewhat Spicy, Sugar & Cinnamon, Tomato Italiano. All flavors are naturally vegan, gluten free, tree nut free, peanut free, dairy free, MSG free and soy free!

I used SuperSeedz for two recipes in an article I wrote for Gluten-Free Living magazine called Aw, Nuts: Balancing a Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Diet.

So, would you like to win some seeds? Kathie has agreed to give away four 6-ounce packages of pumpkin seeds PLUS a limited edition SuperSeedz pumpkin seed shaker to one lucky winner! If you would like to enter, simply leave a comment telling me why you’d like to win! Contest ends on Thursday, July 18 at 5:00 pm PST. Good luck!