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.

12 December 2015

Food Allergen Labeling Inconsistency

Easy to understand labeling from Divvies!
As we, in the U.S., are in the midst of the holiday season, those of you who are members of online food allergy support groups or follow food allergy blogs or magazines may have noticed the uptick in baking related posts. One of the most popular topics this year is Hersheyettes, Hershey's version of M&Ms. Many people have called and obtained reassuring information from Hershey's leading them to believe that some of the Hersheyettes are safe for consumption by individuals managing life threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. If they are indeed safe, I have to wonder, why on earth wouldn't Hershey's be shouting this from the mountaintops? I know I would buy tons of them! I am sure others managing life threatening peanut and tree nut allergies would as well. It could only be good for business. 

Look at Dove Chocolate. They have a section on their website written expressly to explain which Dove chocolates are made in peanut-free, nut-free facilities. Fantastic! They do not, however, state that the facility is peanut-free and nut-free on the actual labels--why not?

Then there are M&Ms. Most peanut and tree nut allergic individuals do not consider plain M&Ms safe for peanut or tree nut allergies. There have been cases of people having allergic reactions to plain M&Ms and the packages do bear a "may contain" warning.

Now enter Hersheyettes. When I visited Hershey Park about ten years ago, one thing I remember was the overwhelming smell of peanut butter in various locations there. A number of moms--and I say moms because I have not yet seen a post from a dad on this subject--have commented in online food allergy support groups that they have called Hershey's and been told that some of the Hersheyettes are manufactured in a peanut-free, nut-free facility. This info is being passed around and around food allergy support groups with great joy and enthusiasm, understandably. What concerns me is that there are no allergen statements confirming this on the Hershey website or on the packages. I haven't seen anything in writing that confirms the nut-free, peanut-free status of Hersheyettes. That worries me. If they don't have the nerve to put it in writing somewhere, there is a reason. 

If my information is wrong or I am unjustified in my skepticism, I hope Hersheys or someone with clear written confirmation from Hershey's will send me the proof! That would be great! I would love to get some of those Hersheyettes--if they truly are from a peanut-free, nut-free facility--for my son, and I would love to help share that written confirmation with Food Allergy Buzz followers. Thank you, in advance, to anyone who can send me that proof! Just send me a tweet @FoodAllergyBuzz or email me jennifer AT foodallergybuzz DOT com. Thanks in advance, and happy holidays!

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