**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 firstname.lastname@example.org.