"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cooking Resources > Food and Kitchen Safety
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-26-2006, 12:12 PM   #1
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 375
Peanut allergy information?

My friend has a peanut allergy, so I am trying to make some stuff using safe ingredients. I am pretty sure that Valrhona's chocolate, at least the stuff sold in bars, is safe, as we have used this brand before, and I think we found out somehow that it was safe, at the time.

Trouble is, I'd like to confirm this information, given that my friend could go to the hospital if I am wrong... Valrhona's website is useless, and doesn't even provide a phone number. I know from experience that they say nothing either way on their packaging. Can anyone point me to a website or some resource that can help? I have tried googling, but it seems like there are 0 resources on the internet to answer the simple question of which brands are safe and which are not.

Incidentally (and you'll forgive me if I go on a rant), the behaviour of these companies is appalling. Either the people at Valrhona are morons for not advertising that their products are nut free (assuming that they are, which I think is the case) or they are extremely negligent for not having this information on their packaging and their website. Am I the only one who thinks that half of these companies deserve to get sued? How freaking hard is it to put a simple label on a product that says either yay or nay to this bloody simple question?

Seriously, my cousin died from a peanut allergy. There are so many kids out there and young adults who have these deadly allergies, but you're lucky if the manufacturer even bothers to supply a label of any type, and it's usually in little fine print, impossible to find on the package (I feel like I'm playing where's waldo trying to find these peanut allergy labels, half the time). And those are the American and Canadian manufacturers. The foreign ones don't even bother with the question at all. The morons in Europe are hysterical enough about GMOs to ban them outright, even though there isn't a shred of evidence that GMOs ever caused any harm to anyone or anything, but apparently they can't be bothered to put a simple label on their products to tell me if my friend can eat them without ending up in a hospital.

__________________

__________________
jasonr is offline  
Old 12-26-2006, 12:27 PM   #2
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Scotland
Posts: 2,977
Speaking as a European, it has been common knowledge for many years that manufacturers suggest that peanut allergy sufferers should not eat bars of chocolate because the manufacturers change the production lines around, and they therefore cannot guarantee that the lines for plain bars of chocolate will be totally free of nut allergens. So, maybe that's why the European morons don't put information?
__________________

__________________
Ishbel is offline  
Old 12-26-2006, 12:53 PM   #3
Chief Eating Officer
 
GB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,509
Being that it is so dangerous, I would skip anything if it is not clearly labeled on the package. Why take a chance. I am not even sure I would trust someone I spoke to on the phone. Find an alternative instead.
__________________
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline  
Old 12-26-2006, 01:38 PM   #4
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 375
Quote:
Speaking as a European, it has been common knowledge for many years that manufacturers suggest that peanut allergy sufferers should not eat bars of chocolate because the manufacturers change the production lines around, and they therefore cannot guarantee that the lines for plain bars of chocolate will be totally free of nut allergens. So, maybe that's why the European morons don't put information?
This is not common knowledge. In fact, it's the first I've heard of it. Either you manufacture your products in a facility that uses equipment that has been exposed to nuts, or you don't. You put a big label on the package that either says it's safe or doesn't. How hard is that? If you can't guarantee that your product is safe, for whatever reason, you put a label that says it isn't safe... not rocket sciencde.

As for never eating chocolate bars, I guess that is the only alternative if the company's don't want to bother with proper labelling. Speaking as an insurance defence lawyer for a moment though, I would say though that failure to put a warning label in a situation like this is an invitation for lawsuits. If one of these Valhrona bars do contain nuts or nut products, and someone in Canada gets killed as a result of eating one, I can tell you from experience that "well we didn't feel like putting a label because it's common knowledge that such things aren't safe anyway" is not a defence that would fly in a Canadian or American court. It certainly wouldn't fly in any ordinary products liability situation, and I can't see any reason why it would be different with respect to food products. If the Europeans can't be bothered to implement such a basic common sense precaution as putting a little label that says "may contain peanut or peanut products" on their candy, then they deserve whatever they get in court.
__________________
jasonr is offline  
Old 12-26-2006, 01:43 PM   #5
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 375
Quote:
Being that it is so dangerous, I would skip anything if it is not clearly labeled on the package. Why take a chance. I am not even sure I would trust someone I spoke to on the phone. Find an alternative instead.
An alternative to chocolate? Not possible. Unfortunately, chocolate brands that are safe are rare. Lindt is definitely not safe, nor is Ghirardelli or Green and Blacks. Scharffen Berger is safe, but they don't have a white chocolate alternative, and their milk chocolate product is not widely available. Baker's Chocolate is safe, but they don't make milk chocolate, and the quality of their product is so bad that I would never even consider using them; better to make nothing at all than to use the chocolate equivalent of spam. Next to them, Hersheys may as well be Valrhona.
__________________
jasonr is offline  
Old 12-26-2006, 01:51 PM   #6
Chief Eating Officer
 
GB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,509
I was not suggestion an alternative to chocolate in the recipe. I was suggestion an alternative recipe altogether. One that does not use chocolate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr
Either you manufacture your products in a facility that uses equipment that has been exposed to nuts, or you don't.
It is not as simple as that. Multiple comapnies and products may be manufactured in the same plant. You may be making something that does not contain nuts, but the next guy might not be able to say the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr
If the Europeans can't be bothered to implement such a basic common sense precaution as putting a little label that says "may contain peanut or peanut products" on their candy, then they deserve whatever they get in court.
Might I suggest that we stay away from such generalizations? A statement like this does not good to anyone.
__________________
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline  
Old 12-27-2006, 07:00 AM   #7
Sous Chef
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 665
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr
The morons in Europe are hysterical enough about GMOs to ban them outright, even though there isn't a shred of evidence that GMOs ever caused any harm to anyone or anything, but apparently they can't be bothered to put a simple label on their products to tell me if my friend can eat them without ending up in a hospital.
While I can understand that you must be grief-stricken and angry if someone you knew and loved died from a peanut allergy, your statement above is deeply offensive to those of us who live in Europe and would hardly consider ourselves "morons."

If you truly feel that way about Europeans, may I suggest you visit us?
__________________
XeniA is offline  
Old 12-27-2006, 07:08 AM   #8
Sous Chef
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 665
Sorry, Jason my boy, but, no, you're not yet "forgiven for going on a rant." Not when you were so sloppy with your phrasing.

First of all: are the folks at Valrhona morons for not putting on the label that their chocolate is nut-free? Aside from the perfectly logical explanation already given to you by Ishbel, one might ask -- what else would you have them list on the label as NOT being in their chocolate? Allergies are everywhere and I'm sorry to say that outside of the U.S., in the Axis of Morons, the allergic person is considered to be first in the line of defense.

Secondly, you go on to say they ought to be sued. THIS is the root of your feelings, Jason, but evidently you don't have the big picture on this issue. The U.S. is unusually litigious. Elsewhere suing someone every time the wind blows just isn't done, for myriad reasons we shouldn't really have to get into here.

There's a very common expression used to describe the packaging you're evidently so fond of, and that's "idiot-proof." I mean no personal slur against you, but I'd have to argue for a bit of common sense in your everyday dealings with the world.

You will pardon me for my rant.
__________________
XeniA is offline  
Old 12-27-2006, 07:19 AM   #9
Sous Chef
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 905
An alternative to chocolate? Not possible. Unfortunately, chocolate brands that are safe are rare.

Yes, there IS an alternative. Just don't use it. There are people who are allergic to chocolate and they just say "no". People with allergies can take responsibility for their situations--and usually do. Hopefully without the use of a lawyer.
As a society we have gone a LONG way for the peanut allergies--airlines and school systems come to mind. And I don't mind that--it truly is a matter of life and death. But if it is WELL KNOWN that there may be cross contamination within a manufacturing facility, then let the buyer beware. We should not always have to have it the lawyers' way--beware of the buyers--they may sue you.
__________________
Candocook is offline  
Old 12-27-2006, 08:37 AM   #10
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Scotland
Posts: 2,977
Jasonr
As a legal professional.... it might pay you to think before you call all European chocolate manufacturers 'morons'... they may wish to sue
__________________

__________________
Ishbel is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.