Good Eats, with Allergy Caveats WFFS15

Good Eats with caveatsPart 5 of (Almost) Allergy Friendly Products at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2015

Warning! Part 5 should really be called Almost Allergy Friendly Products at the Fancy Food Show 2015. These companies make great food that aren’t 100% risk free or peanut free or tree nut free but I would consider buying because the company’s response to my concerns have been adequate and the risks are within my comfort zone. And you might feel differently, which is totally fine because we are all different and there might be possibilities for readers who are not allergic to peanuts and nuts. This is a list that might interest readers who don’t have food allergies but like GREAT food.

As mentioned in my previous posts,  readers are 100% responsible for their own safety before buying or consuming any foods. My intention is to highlight products which are peanut and tree nut free but there might be details that slip past me, ingredients and manufacturing practices change without notice, and I have no control over the websites linked. Allergies to the top 8 allergens, peanut, tree nuts, egg, dairy, soy, wheat, shellfish, and fish account for 90% of all allergic reactions but people can be allergic to any food, including ingredients in foods that are considered allergy friendly. Since everyone has allergies to different foods and has different levels of severity, I cannot predict whether any or all of the following food finds would be appropriate for readers. Use this resource as a guide to start your own research, I followed up with each manufacturer by phone or email (except where noted) and only included those which seem consumer friendly, responsive, or with some allergy aware wording on their website or packaging. Please take the time to visit the websites of the brands or products that interest you and consult with your medical care team if you have any questions.

Good Eats (With Caveats)

Perfect Puree – Their beautiful samples attracted my attention and the taste was amazing and fresh. Then I was a lucky winner at Perfect Puree’s booth during the Fancy Food Show and received a jar of frozen puree of my choice. Even though they process coconut and lychee in their facility, I appreciate their responsiveness to check with their Quality Assurance manager, and that they have procedures in place to prevent cross contact. After much consideration, we picked mango puree, which arrived frozen and packed with dried ice, and we ended up making the best mango sorbet from the puree.

DennyMike’s – They make sauces and seasonings and served samples of really great pulled pork. Their manufacturing facilities are nut free and gluten free but in light of the recent cumin and paprika recalls, I expressed concern to the owner, Denny, about whether their products might be affected by the widespread cumin and paprika recalls and he said he will follow up with some research and allergen testing, if necessary and let me know. Kudos to Denny, so stay tuned.

479° – If you like truffles, you will adore their White Cheddar and Black Truffle Popcorn. According to the manufacturer, all of their savory popcorn flavors are free from peanuts and tree nuts but made on shared equipment with milk. In a different room of their facility, they manufacture their sweet popcorn flavors (made on shared equipment with pecans only). There’s always the possibility that they will introduce new flavors that might include nuts, so I recommend at least checking their website for product updates before purchasing.

Candy Cheese – I looked at these and couldn’t figure out if it was cheese shaped like candy or candy that tastes like cheese. Since my son loves cheese I stopped to talk with them. Apparently people in Japan like pre-wrapped tiny portions of cheese and they package it to look like candy to appeal to their cultural preferences. The Candy Cheese have different flavors: plain, black pepper, wasabi, and almond. The large bags of the plain candy cheese are made on nut free equipment and the owner graciously gave me a large bag for my children to try. My sons enjoy a lot of different kinds of cheeses such as sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, and colby jack so in contrast, they thought the cheese tasted ok but were amused by the packaging.

Seaweed Love – We like to eat roasted nori as a snack but for many years it was off limits due to my son’s sesame allergy which he has since outgrown. At the time, Seaweed Love was the only olive oil flavored roasted nori. They do make a sesame oil flavor and now a coconut oil flavor but each flavor has its own dedicated line in a peanut free facility.

Kuki Their sesame oil is beautiful. They make a light colored oil from unroasted sesame seed and the color of the oil intensifies with the amount of roasting of the seeds. According the manufacturer: “Yes. We are free from peanuts and tree nuts. We do use purchased soy bean oil in the same facility as sesame oil, but the production line is completely separated, so there are no chance of contamination. Sesame seeds and sesame paste are produced in the different facility (sic) where only sesame seed products are produced. They do not use any allergens.” Be mindful that there is an increase in sesame allergies and use these products only if one is definitely not allergic to sesame.

Maruhon – Sesame oil and sesame paste made in a sesame only facility, confirmed in person and via email. Their tray of sample sesame oil and sesame products smelled wonderful, I had to stop and try them. One of their representatives saw me get excited over black sesame paste as it tasted like a black sesame dessert my parents used to make when I was a child. Maruhon is the brand that I used to use before life with food allergies and it was great to rediscover them. Be mindful that there is an increase in sesame allergies and use these products only if one is definitely not allergic to sesame.

Feel Good Foods – I had previously raved about Feel Good Foods because their gluten free frozen egg rolls are still amazing but the chance of cross contact with peanuts has now increased because one of their entrees now include peanut as an ingredient. This is a great example of how a manufacturer can change ingredients or manufacturing processes at any time. Their commitment is to be a fantastic gluten free food manufacturer and that they do well.

We all scream for {NUT FREE} ice cream. these are *almost* allergy friendly.

I was on a mission to find a nut free ice cream. I went around and stopped at every ice cream booth and asked if their ice creams were safe for people with nut allergies, most of the brands clearly weren’t because they had nut flavors to sample. Some of them very kindly told me that their ice creams are made on shared equipment with nuts. Some shook their heads. One vendor chided me and said there are NO nut free ice cream. As disappointed as I was, I had to agree with him that there were no truly nut free ice cream vendors at the Fancy Food Show. However there were two ice cream companies that I felt deserve an almost allergy friendly shout out.

Choctal makes 4 different flavors of vanilla and 4 different flavors of chocolate, without eggs, and each flavor tastes amazing and distinctively different. However Choctal makes their ice cream on shared equipment with other ice cream manufacturers that do use nuts. I talked with them a few times and representatives of Choctal shared with me that they must rigorously clean in between batches in order to make their distinctive vanilla and chocolate ice cream flavors. How about a cheer for an ice cream manufacturer that does not intentionally use any nuts in any flavors at all? Whooo-hoo! I hope that they can take more steps toward being more nut allergy friendly in the future by testing for allergens, testing their rinse water, or by experiencing enough growth to make their ice cream on their own equipment.

Gelato Fiasco served samples of the best gelato I’ve ever tasted. Even though they do make nut flavored gelatos, they also deserve an allergy friendly shout out for their helpful allergen disclosures on their special diet page. I think it’s exemplary for outlining the possible allergens and risks so that customers can make an informed decision to avoid or not. I much prefer full disclosure rather than indifference.

WFFS15 Conclusions & Recap

There you have it, 35 solid recommendations of nut free foods to explore and possibly enjoy. The Fancy Food Show is not an allergy aware event nor does it make any promises to be suitable for people with food allergies, so if you do have food allergies don’t be misled by my posts. I found 35+ nut free or allergy friendly brands out of 1700 vendors, there were many others I talked with before, during, and after the event, and I decided not to mention them for reasons such as possible cross contact with nuts, poor communication, and not responding to emails or inquiries. I loved to see many healthy, organic, non-GMO options that are emerging as gourmet fancy foods. I discovered that I love black truffles, truffle oil, etc. now I get what the truffle fuss is all about, I tried foods prepared by a Peruvian chef, and I fell in love with chocolate covered strawberries. I hope I will have a chance to attend again next year.

This is the last post of a 5 part series, if you missed any of the other posts, you can start with part 1, the introduction with a line up of familiar and favorite allergy friendly products.

 

Related posts by my blogger friends:

Sandi at Fearless Dining found dozens of gluten free products

Jane at The Heritage Cook shared her day at the Fancy Food Show

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I would use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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About Sharon Wong 175 Articles

Welcome to Nut Free Wok, a blog about Allergy Aware Asian Fare. I hope that you will find my food allergy mom experiences helpful and enjoyable to read as I write about recipes, cooking techniques, Asian ingredients, and food allergy related awareness and advocacy issues. My professional experiences include education, teaching, and a little bit of science and computers.
Thank you for visiting!
~Sharon Wong, M.Ed.

6 Comments

  1. Do you have the email for Maruhon? I would like to confirm that their sesame oil is safe. When I go to the website there is only a phone number and its for Japan….Thanks.

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