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 allergen-free.


12 March 2012

Just Ask for a Clean Scoop


When my son was first diagnosed, another mom advised me to just ask for a clean scoop when I go to the local ice cream shop. I never did because we never went back to the local ice cream shop or any other ice cream shop. The big food allergy reaction took place at an ice cream shop and ever since then, I have made ice cream with this nifty Cuisinart ice cream maker my sister gave me. Watching your child rapidly become covered with hives, throat closing up, vomiting, the panic in his eyes...it's something you don't want to repeat.

I still hear moms saying "just ask them to use a clean scoop", and if that works for you, that's awesome! Maybe trace amounts are not something that affect you or your loved one, and if that's the case, that is very fortunate indeed! Different people do have different levels of sensitivity to allergens. For many, however, trace amounts are an issue. The clean scoop routine only works if the ice cream shop opens up a new tub of ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt, gelato, etc. for you. If it's not a new tub, there is no way to be certain that an earlier scoop that touched another flavor containing your allergen-to-worry-about didn't then scoop from the tub your scoop will come from. 

We've all been to a busy ice cream shop before--speed is an important factor for those working there! The people working behind the ice cream counter scoop those scoops, sundaes and cones as fast as they can. After all, frozen treats melt pretty quickly outside the freezer, even in cooler weather.  A scoop of maple walnut or moose tracks ice cream could very easily be plopped on top of a cone, followed by a scoop of the vanilla you also want, all with the same scoop! Even if a walnut or almond or peanut butter doesn't actually make it into the vanilla, there will be trace amounts. The damage is done; the flavor you want is contaminated.

One of the top results I obtained in a cursory Google search for " clean scoop ice cream peanut allergy" was Google Books for Dr. Robert Wood's "Food Allergies for Dummies".  If you are new to food allergies and wondering what to do about frozen treats, as spring inches closer, take a peek at Dr. Wood's book as you do your research to make your frozen treat decision. Dr. Woods gives some very common sense precautions, which you can view online in Google Books. He suggests to:

  • "Stick with ice cream from major manufacturers and carefully read the labels." 
  • "Make your own ice cream."
  • "Avoid scooped ice cream from parlors."
  • "Avoid the soft serve parlor, too."
  • "Skip the toppings."
If you've got a routine that works for you, please tell us about it! What has worked and not worked for you? Are you a fan of the clean scoop? Have you come up with another way?
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