Oh, Nuts!

11:05 AM Posted In , , Edit This 2 Comments »
Halloween is approaching and I'm getting a little scared.  Not of ghosts and goblins but of candies made on equipment that processes tree nuts. 

My Maxx has severe nut allergies.  He can eat Peanuts but walnuts really set him off and we have been advised to avoid all tree nuts.  He has a painful, terrifying reaction that includes intense pain in his mouth and stomach and sudden swelling of his mucosa, lips, face and throat.  We suspect that last summer's almost deadly asthma attack may heve been exacerbated by his eating a bunch of chocolate animal crackers the day before that had been made in a facility that also processed tree nuts.  I didn't know that when I fed them to him - In the past I have just picked up food and made some assumptions about safety and ingredients but since the asthma attack, I've been a lot more careful. 

Maxx has also been very careful since eating a cookie at gramma's a few months ago that had some walnuts in them - reactions are so painful and terrifying for him that he now asks whether or not there are nuts in Apple Juice, for crying out loud!  Now that he is in Kindergarten and as Halloween approaches, I'm becoming more and more conerned about the safety of what he puts in his mouth.

(This incredibly yummy chocolate bar with pop rocks, sea salt and chipotle pepper is Not safe for Maxx to eat.)

Friday, Molly and I had to go to a doctor's appointment, we did some shopping in Malone before coming home and picked up a bag of Brach's Candy Corn as it is a favorite for Molly, Maxx and Old Beorn.   Maxx saw the bag when he got home and happily brought it to me asking "Are there any nuts in this?"  I said "Oh, I don't think so, you can probably eat some."  he said "You better read it."  So I read it and there it was - produced in a facility that also prcesses tree nuts.  What the heck?  Tree nuts in Candy Corn?? What is the world coming to?  Maxx wept bitterly and said "I hate those people who put nuts in all the good candy!"

I hate them too.

(Hershey's chocolate chips are Fine.)

We found a recipe for homemade candy corn Without Tree Nuts that we will probably make tonight for Family Home Evening so the candy corn problem is solved.   But what about all those people out there who don't have to worry about tree nuts and are gearing up for Halloween with candy and treats that they want to give to my kid and others who may have tree nut allergies?

Even Rice Krispie treats may not be safe!  Brand name Rice Krispies are fine.  The Walmart generic version are made in a facility that processes pecans. 

Is that really a big deal?  I mean how much of the nut is he going to get from a bunch of machinery that was probably washed before the ceareal was made on it? 

Maybe none - maybe enough to kill him.  Several months ago I made a lentil curry dish and used my mortar and pestle to grind up the coriander seeds.  The last time I had used it - about 8 months previous - I had ground up a few walnuts for a sauce for us non-nut allergic people to enjoy.  I thought I had washed it well but Maxx took one bite of curry and his mouth & stomach started to burn, he had diarreah and I thought I was going to have to use the epi-pen for the first time.  Needless to say - the equiment got washed again with Bleach and scrubbed several times before returning to the shelf.  Never again will I grind walnuts unless I can develop a nut safe grinding place and practice in order to keep those oils away from my kid!

I decided this morning that I need to take Molly on a field trip to the candy aisle and she and I need to pre-screen all of the varieties out there to see what is sae and what isn't.  A daunting task for sure but next time he comes to me with a candy, I want to know that I'm giving him a safe answer.  I'd also like to provide his teacher, school nurse and other parents ofkids in his class a list of what is safe and what isn't.  The last thing any of us want is for Maxx to have a scary ride to the hospital in the rescue squad vehicle after being epi-pened by the school nurse.  GAH!  I would never get him to go to school again.


Greg said...

Be careful providing a list without a disclaimer.
If you say "this is safe" and it isnt... hooo boy, the trouble a good lawyer could give you.

Virginia Burnett said...

Yup. If I put together a list to share with his teacher and parents, I will make it very clear that it is only a list of what I found to be safe for Maxx's issues at one specific location on one specific day.

With candy - it seems you must always be careful. For instance, I've never found a warning label on large Hershey's chocolate bars but on Sunday my cousin handed me a small Hershey's bar that said it had been processed on equipment that sees tree nuts.

It is so not fair for a little kid to constantly see other people putting candy in their mouths that he can't have. :(

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