With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.


25 September 2008

The Candy Corn Mystery

**Special note 09/28/08: I have not published the emails from Blueberry Hill or Peanut Free Planet here due to their number and length.  They are now available online; the links are in a newer post, The Rest of the Candy Corn Story. In my posts, I've summarized the information I received from the manufacturer (which also was supported by Peanut Free Planet, a retailer which sells the candy corn and was first mentioned in a comment to the first candy corn post).  In addition, I've made a few edits in the article below. **

The post below was orginally published on September 25, 2008

I received several helpful comments from readers in response to my recent post about the lack of peanut-free manufacturing facilities for candy corn in the U.S.  A special thank you goes out to Julie for going the extra mile and sharing what you learned.  (To read the original candy corn post and comments, click here.)  

Goelitz/Jelly Belly has information on their website that indicates their facilities are not peanut-free.  I contacted Zachary Confections and Brachs as well.  No one had a manufacturing facility free of peanuts. Blueberry Hill was unclear.  I had received an email from them indicating that their facility is not "peanut-free" but there is some separation of peanut-containing foods and non-peanut containing foods. Additional emails from Peanut Free Planet and Blueberry Hill state that that there are peanuts or peanut containing foods on the premises, albeit in separate and contained areas.  *NOTE: On 09/27/08, I added the words "and contained" and pluralized "area".  I also removed a statement with my opinion about whether or not the manufacturing facility is "peanut-free".  In addition I've changed the word "confirm" to "state".* 

Peanut Free Planet and Blueberry Hill, however, both emphasized the cross-contamination protocols in place which include a separate contained area of the building for peanut-containing products as well as testing of the area surrounding the "allergen room". The testing is done by a third party and Blueberry Hill's Quality Manager states that no traces of peanut have been found in any of those tests.  The other manufacturers did not address the issue of cross-contamination protocol.  Their responses simply were that peanuts are present.

Thank you to both Blueberry Hill and Peanut Free Planet for clarifying the candy corn mystery. Peanut Free Planet sent a very detailed email explaining what they knew of Blueberry Hill's manufacturing facility and also their own efforts to gather information about cross-contamination. This is helpful information for us to have in our shopping decisions for our allergic friends and family.  Many of us need and want to know if peanuts are used in a manufacturing facility and if so, what kind of cross-contamination protocol is in place.  Individual comfort levels with cross-contamination protocols can vary widely so I hope this additional information about the candy corn available this year will help in your Halloween shopping decisions.

If anyone else has additional information to add, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail at jennifer@foodallergybuzz.com.

5 comments:

Krista said...

I find it disturbing that Peanut Free Planet is defending Blueberry Hill’s candy corn. Correct me if I’m wrong but on the home page of Peanut Free Planet they claim, and I quote,
“All Products are Manufactured in facilities that are both Peanut Free and Free!
Products on Peanut Free Planet are Peanut Safe and Tree Nut Safe!
Peanut free candy, peanut free snacks and other peanut free products can be hard to find.
The peanut free candy and peanut free snack products we offer are made in facilities
that are both peanut free and tree nut free. Check back for new products!”

I ordered Blueberry Hill candy corn from Peanut Free Planet because they claim to only buy from nut free manufacturing facilities.
I think that peanut free products are becoming big business and companies are making fraudulent claims in order to cash in on our needs. There are millions of parents who are willing to pay extra to ensure the safety of their child’s food. I am one of those parents. Without federal regulations to manage companies from claiming one thing and doing another our children are not safe.
Peanut Free Planet is defending Blueberry Hill but aren’t they misleading consumers by carrying this product? I am sad that Peanut Free Planet is proclaiming to be an expert defender of food safety. I will not be ordering food from Peanut Free Planet again. I was lulled into complacency by this company. It’s so hard to call all the food companies and ask about ingredients and cross contamination. I was so grateful to find a company that only ordered from peanut free plants. Shame on me I suppose. As a parent of a food allergic child I should never put my guard down. I should never have given my son that candy from Peanut Free Planet without calling Blueberry Hill first. But I don’t think that goes without saying, shame on Peanut Free Planet too. They can defend the strict practices and safety nets of any food company they want, but they shouldn’t claim that they are only ordering from peanut free facilities when there are not.

Jennifer B said...

I want to add that the terms "peanut-free" and "peanut-free facility" are very subjective. Unfortunately, there are no standards defining what "peanut-free" is. Personally, when I speak of a peanut-free facility, I mean that there are no peanuts in the building at all. I recognize that others may have different definitions. Currently we have polls on the definition of "peanut-free" in the left sidebar. Most participants appear to share my view, but there are a number--not to be overlooked--who favor a different definition. I think it is useful for us to have this discussion about different definitions of "peanut-free". It would make shopping a lot easier if it meant the same thing to everyone!

Gail said...

I can't believe a company that calls itself "Peanut Free Planet" would order from a facility that produces, manufactures or packages anything with peanuts. I know that we are responsible for ourselves but when a company claims to only order from companies that are peanut and treenut free I thought the products ordered would be safe. They charge much more for the guarantee which I as well as most parents and allergic people are willing to pay because we believed they were doing our homework for us. It saddens me to know that is not the case. The name "Peanut Free Planet" makes us feel safer. Shame on you. Why anyone would jeopardize their business for the price of a bag of candy corn is beyond me. I will never order from them again and neither will anyone else in my family. Are there any companies out there that are trustworthy?? When we are talking about someones' life I don't think there should be different definitions about what is peanut free. We all know what peanut free means and it doesn't mean a room in a manufacturing plant that produces peanuts. All of us can live without candy corn. I am so dissapointed in "Peanut Free Planet".

Jennifer B said...

Thanks Krista and Gail for your comments. I welcome any and all comments. I want repeat that I have received emails from the manufacturer and many more from Peanut Free Planet. If anyone is interested in readng them, let me know, and I will forward them along to you. The emails are quite lengthy but are worth reading. There is a lot of information from Peanut Free Planet (a retailer) which I did not receive from the manufacturer. As a consumer, I focus on what the manufacturer tells me, and that's what I have shared with you. I was unable to confirm or rule out the information from PFP.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I found your blog while doing a search for nut free candy corn. I think their advertising is deceptive.

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