It’s all of them

RECENTLY I posted about how the ludicrous blanket “nut, sesame, blah” trace warnings on just about everything in Sainsbury’s had driven me to tears.

Well, in the interests of fairness I’ve just come across the exact same thing in Waitrose. I can understand it on the baked goods and cakes, and even the olives and deli bits. But, again, I ask you: fish?

I nearly got kicked out of the bloody shop for taking this pic. Can you believe it (big security guard hulking over to tell me to cease and desist)? But I told him to bugger off.

HumZingers Fruit Stix

HEAVENS, I’M on an allergy friendly roll. What a novelty: two discoveries in as many days. This time it’s a dried fruit snack called HumZingers, which again I came across in Waitrose.

I would have ignored the things if a friend hadn’t mentioned them to me: for one, the name and cheapo Fraggle on the box seem to shout ‘sugar’, ‘additives’, ‘crap’. For another, they’re not stocked in the Free From aisle. But Sidney’s friend Benjamin swears by them (insofar as a 17-month-old can swear by anything) and it turns out they’re sugar free and made simply with dried fruit and fruit extracts. The problem is, the box claims ‘gluten free’ but there’s no mention of nuts etcetera. So I emailed the manufacturers, Humdinger, to find out. The answer:

I can confirm that HumZingers do not contain either nuts or sesame, and that they are packed on a site that does not handle these products. We do handle nuts and sesame but these are produced at separate site. The modified starch is rice flour so does not contain wheat.

As we do with the sulphites that are contained in the product, we would declare any of the 14 food allergens that are dictated by EU legislation  if they were contained in the product or if there was a possibility of cross contamination with any of the list.

Result! How long have I been looking for a healthy, kid-friendly snack that doesn’t contain nuts and the like? I’ve already pointed out how toddler brands like Ella’s Kitchen and Plum snap from being allergy-friendly when the food’s for under-ones to suddenly containing the warning “may contain traces” as soon as their products are suitable for older tots. These are big brands so I still don’t get why they can’t improve their allergy-friendly provision.

Still, slowly (very, very slowly) we’re adding a few more things to the list of stuff that Sidney can eat. Of course the bulk of his meals is homemade, and snacks are usually rice cakes, fresh fruit or yoghurt, but give me a break: sometimes it’s nice to know there’s a pre-packed something out there as well.

From £1.99 for pack of 10, from selected Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbuy’s, Holland and Barrett and online at Tesco here and Natural Matter here

Digestives!

WOO! A RARE find: biscuits that have all of Sidney’s allergy bases covered. While scouring the FreeFrom aisle in Waitrose yesterday I came across these newbies (to me, at least): TruFree Digestive Biscuits.

Amazingly, they’re wheat free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free and nut free (though not soya free). I double checked on the nut and dairy thing with the manufacturers, who happen to be part of the Dietary Specials lot.

The biccies are made in a nut free factory although legally, apparently, they can’t describe themselves as ‘nut free’ because they don’t actually test the product for nuts. Ditto they don’t test for dairy so can’t officially lay claim to the statement ‘dairy free’ but there there are no dairy ingredients used in the digestives and no hidden animal by-products – so they’re effectively vegan as well. Sounds good enough for me.

There’s a whole range of allergy friendly biscuits by TruFree, including bourbons, rich teas and custard creams, but check the packets on all before you buy: some may be made in a nut containing facility. There’s an eminently sensible guide on the TruFree website, which states:

We do not claim TruFree products are nut free. However the warnings on pack will vary according to the facilities at the manufacturing site used for that product:

Made in a factory that uses nut ingredients – nuts will be on site and may be used in the same manufacturing line.

May contain traces of nuts – no nuts are used on site but a risk from an ingredient supplier has been identified.

No warning – no risk has been identified at either the manufacturing site or our ingredient suppliers.

So pleased to have found these biscuits. They don’t taste bad, either – a little grittier than your usual digestive and they wouldn’t fool anyone in a blind challenge with a McVitie’s but they’re palatable enough, good dunked in a cuppa and now I can make my easy party special: fridge cake, allergy free and suitable for Sid! Will get going on a batch when I get the chance/can be faffed and post the recipe here…

TruFree Digestive Biscuits, £1.75 a pack, from Waitrose, ASDA, Holland and Barrett, Goodness Foods, Simply Free or online via Dietary Specials here