As you probably know from posts like this, my daughter has severe nut allergies. I live in a state of semi-terror. Must. never. let. guard. down. Ever.
When the PR people from Nestle sent over this cute Smarties Chicken and Egg chocolate Easter treat, my daughter was excited. I'm a big fan of Nestle chocolates — especially the Coffee Crisps — because they're nut-free and dependable.
My daughter has a sweet tooth like me. She's a choco-holic. But before I let her get her little hands on this seasonal treat, I checked the ingredients — just in case. Even though it's Nestle. Even though it's Smarties. I was shocked to read "may contain peanuts and tree nuts." Whaaa...?
"Sorry sweetie, they're not nut free." Her little face collapsed into tears. It was as if she was betrayed by the company that has always been there for her.
To our family, Smarties is one of our go-to safe snacks. If we're at a party and someone has Smarties, my daughter knows she can have them. So, why would this Easter treat for kids not be produced in a peanut-free facility like their other products? And how many parents may also assume this product is nut-free?
With my child in tears, I fired off an email to the Nestle PR department, asking them to explain why the change in policy.
To my surprise, Selena from Nestle explained that ONLY THE JUNIOR SIZES OF SMARTIES HAVE THE PEANUT-FREE CLAIM! Did you know that? As a mom to an anaphylactic daughter, I'm embarrassed to say that this is new information to me.
Selina also wrote, "In alignment with Anaphylaxis Canada’s recommendations, we always advise our consumers to read the product label and watch for our peanut-free logo as ingredients may change but the packaging will be current."
If I could make a wish right now, it would be that Nestle could magically make ALL their products safe for those with allergies. It would make our lives much sweeter, safer and much less confusing.
In the meantime, I will continue to be especially vigilant and read all labels—and never assume a product is safe. My daughter's life is on the line.
BTW, thanks to the folks at Kinder who also sent over an Easter Treat—a huge 100% nut-free Kinder Egg. You made my daughter feel very special.
Looking for more information about food allergies? Here's a useful post about the biggest misconceptions about allergies.