Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips

It's been just over six years since I began my adventure of label reading and knowing what products our daughter can eat.  We have our standard restaurants we go to and the wait staff know of her peanut and tree nut allergy at a local restaurant.  That restaurant even baked and decorated a cake for her birthday and I confidently knew they would not cross contaminate with any nuts.  It's hard to trust labels and to trust "people."

I recently picked up a package of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips.  In the past I slide right past them and take Hershey's trusted brand.  But I often reread labels of brands I was once disappointed in reading that "contains nuts" or "made on equipment with."  I was shocked -- probably talked aloud to myself in the store "that can't be right" after reading the Nestle label.  No statement about nuts anywhere.

I did a search online to see if there was any buzz about Nestle Toll House chocolate chips being nut free.  I couldn't find anything, so I emailed the company as I have done many times in the past when I want a complete and honest answer.  Here's what I received:


Thank you for contacting NestlĂ©® Toll House® Morsels.

We removed the statement because, we have strict quality control procedures and precautions in place therefore the advisory statement is not needed. 

We understand your concern, however the 75th anniversary packaging is correct. 
It was on the packaging before because, our procedures have always been in place; however, because we take a very conservative approach to food safety, we elected to print the statement out of an abundance of caution. 
Peanuts are in the facility, however they are managed in a completely separate zone of the facility, so there is no cross contamination risk between the products. 
Labeling regulations require that if any of the eight recognized known allergens, such as nuts, are in the product, they must be listed in the ingredient statement. We always list the allergen by the common name.

Additionally, our factories, that use any of the recognized allergens as an ingredient, take all precautions to avoid cross contact of products that do not contain them. We always add a cautionary statement at the end of our packaging ingredient listing if a product is made on the same line or factory of those products containing a recognized allergen. It is recommended that you always check the label before purchasing a product.
We appreciate your interest and hope you will visit our website often for the latest information on our products and promotions.
Sincerely,

Consumer Response Representative


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Banana Swirl

We recently watched an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  There was a recipe for banana swirl.  They showed how to make it, but it seemed way to easy.  I had to give it a try.  Sure enough it is that easy.  I think it is a great option for food allergic people because it is one single ingredient -- Bananas. Granted you are no allergic to bananas.

Banana Swirl (aka banana ice cream)
2 frozen bananas

1. Freeze bananas for a few hours.
2. Place frozen bananas in blender. Blend on medium-low for about a minute or two.
3. The mixture will resemble ice cream in texture.
4. Add sprinkles, chocolate sauce or honey (or anything you think goes with bananas).

You will be so impressed with this -- you have to try it.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Allergy-Free Jelly Beans

If you are looking for an allergy-free jelly bean that won't break your bank, check out Starburst Jelly Beans. There are several flavors and most bags are ranged from $1.50 to $2.50 and you can find them at just about any grocery store.


Nutrtional label here online.  As always double check the packaging to make sure there are no allergens listed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dairy-Free French Fries

Hop over to my other blog and check out this French Fries recipe.  It's free of most allergens (except soy) and quite possibly the French Fries I've ever made!

Update on Milk

I recently posted that our daughter's milk allergy appears to be gone.  She has been eating pretty much everything now.  It's such a strange feeling not washing my hands 50 times in an hour period because I have milk or cheese or butter or anything.  She's been out to eat quite a few times, too.  I still get nervous, very nervous.  But overall she isn't having any problems with milk.  We'll be going to the allergist later this summer.  I really don't know what  we will discuss, but follow-up is good.

Monday, June 6, 2011

FYI- more posts on my other blog

I finally am back up and running more on my other blog -- Reflections from a Mother's Soul.    You might just want to check it out!

I'll be posting more posts on both blogs this summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Milk Allergy -- Gone!

As far as we can tell, our 3-year-old daughter's milk allergy is gone.  She has been eating yogurt every day --I used yogurt as a control to know how much was going in her each day.  After the first initial days of dairy eating she had a mild eczema breakout on her arms.  It went away within a day.  We have gradually been increasing her yogurt intake every three days.  She's now eating 4 oz of yogurt a day. No skin rashes to be found. She even ate pizza at preschool last week.  Her teachers looked at me nervously when I told them to let her try it.  Thankfully, I work in the same school so they weren't so worried knowing I was in the building.  It's been so exciting to watch her eat new foods.  Goldfish crackers were on her list to try right away.  Crazy how the simplest thing as a goldfish cracker was so dangerous.  Now it's not a problem.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding our journey with the milk allergy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Update on Milk Allergy

During spring break, we ventured on the airlines for a trip to visit grandparents.  Our daughter will be 4 in a couple months and has allergies to milk, egg, tree nuts and peanuts.

I was so nervous -- would they take away the Epi-Pen when going through security?  How will I make sure the airline seat is clean of allergens?  Don't even talk to me about all the public restrooms I knew we would have to use.

I can confidentially say that for the entire trip -- two airplanes down, two airplanes back, airport public areas, grandparent's house, multiple restaurants, and too many bathrooms to count-- there was not one (repeat not one) incidence of rash on her face.  Even during her normal days at preschool we occasionally see her all rashy with no direct reason.  It sure doesn't help that she still put everything in her mouth.

Well, our daughter was plagued with a cough after the vacation and ended up with an ear infection.  The antiboitics are finally out of her system and I could hardly wait to test her for milk at home.  NOTE: DO NOT DO ALLERGY CHALLENGE TESTING AT HOME UNLESS ADVISED BY A DOCTOR.

For morning snack I gave her some icing made from milk, powdered sugar and vanilla.  The same icing she has had for many of her at-home milk testing. I kept the Benadryl close at hand.  She ate it.  We waited.  Normally 10 minutes is the wait time before we see hives all over face.  Guess what?  Nothing!

For lunch I daringly gave her a third of a piece of string cheese.  She ate a couple bites, then we made her wait 10 minutes.  No rash.  We let her finish the rest of the string cheese (still just the third of a regular size).  Nothing.  No hives. No cough.

We didn't get too excited.  I think we have just had to deal with her milk allergy for so long that her possibly not having it any longer isn't as big of a deal as it would have been two years ago.  Don't get me wrong there is nothing that would make our lives easier.  But we really have adapted.

We waited to check her bowel movement before trying anything else -- just in case her tummy couldn't handle it. All was normal on that front.  After dinner we gave her Cool Whip that recently changed it's formula to more creamy and gave her a terrible reaction several months ago. She ate the creamy Cool Whip with some strawberries.  We set the timer for the third time today and waited 10 minutes. No reaction.  Hooray!  I think I'm numb.

Next on the menu is yogurt and then toast with butter.  Wow!  I never thought we would see the day.  We are going to continue to take it slow, and I'll get a call into the allergist next week.  I just wanted to share to give those you out there hope!!!

Read some of my other at-home testing posts showing our slow journey that led us to were we are today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

$3/1 Children's Claritin Coupon


Here's an online $3/1 coupon for Children's Claritin.

Also as a Bzzz Agent, I have many manufacturer $3/1 coupons for Children's Claritin (that are not printed online coupons).  If you are interested leave a comment or e-mail and I'll send one out to you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trader Joe's

Well, well, well.  I have searched high and low and lower to find a granola bar that I like sans peanuts.  About a year ago I realized I had a reaction to peanuts and tested positive for a peanut allergy.  Several other tree nuts were positive, as well.  I used to love eating a granola bar for a quick on-the-go snack or even as a low calorie breakfast.  Well, guess what?  Many  Most granola bars are processed in facilities or on equipment with tree nuts and peanuts.  My 3-year-old loves Glutino breakfast bars and Enjoy Life Snack Bars, which are free of many allergens including wheat.  Well, I just like wheat and haven't been satisfied with the flavor for myself (plus the cost is pretty high -- almost a dollar a bar and that is with my savings tricks).

I've talked about going to Trader Joe's for almost two years, but just haven't found my way there.  It's only about a half hour away, but I always like to go in that direction when I have something else to do.  I finally found myself there a couple weeks ago.  Now,  just like every other store there are allergy-free products and products made in facilities with allergies or shared equipment with allergies.  I was disappointed as I picked up animal crackers and other items that weren't safe for my multi-food allergic child.  I finally arrived at the granola bar isle with a pretty empty cart.  I found not one, but two different types of granola bars that would be safe for me to eat (only one is safe for my daughter who has a milk allergy).  Okay, I thought -- I better like these.  I kinda felt like this is my last shot (I swear I've read every granola bar label out there).



The first granola bar I came across was these.  The disclaimer on the back says : "Our vendors follow good manufacturing practices to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contact with allergens. Made on equipment shared with milk, peanuts and tree nuts."   I read this several times in the store and wondered if I should trust that or not.  I decided to give them a try.

 The verdict:  Our daughter ate it, loved it, and no reactions.  Hooray!  These bars were about $2 for 12 bars (note: they come in two bars in a pack).  I didn't mind the taste of these at all.   Not my preferred taste, but I could eat and enjoy them.  No reaction for me, either.

I walked down the isle and saw these.  Oh, my god.  No way. Chocolate granola bars -- my absolute favorite idea for a granola bar.  I have big love of chocolate, which is hard to fulfill with a peanut allergy.  I read the label.  Same disclaimer:   "Our vendors follow good manufacturing practices to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contact with allergens. Made on equipment shared with milk, peanuts and tree nuts." A little skeptical still, I bought the bars.  The price was around $2 for 6.


The verdict:  I ate one the next day and absolutely loved every bite.  Yum.   Then I waited and waited for a reaction.  Nothing.  Could it be, my search is over?  A granola bar that met three criteria:  I like it, It's allergy-free for me, and cost effective.  I'm making another trip this weekend to Trader Joe's.
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