This blog post may cover something people already understand, but last night I had an ‘Aha’ moment while reading nothing other than a cookie box (shout out to free2be foods for making yummy & safe packaged treats that are top 8 allergen-free). Anyway, this epiphany led to some new security about safe eating that I wanted to share.
I read the cookie box as I usually do, out of habit, even though it says on it “peanut-free”, and is clearly free of the top allergens, but I like that reassurance of reading it each time. I started wondering HOW these companies ensure the food items are 100% allergen-free.
I’ve wondered this before, and remembered that I actually emailed Enjoy Life Foods not too long ago, another allergen-free company, to ask this very question: what steps do they take to 100% ensure their customers safety? I went back in my emails to see if they emailed me back, and sure enough, they had!
I’m not sure about Free2Be, but I would imagine they do what Enjoy Life and the local safe bakery in my town Annie May’s Sweet Cafe does, and not allow their employees to bring outside-food in that contains allergens. It sounds extreme at first, but makes total sense to prevent any chance of contamination coming in, especially when ensuring these “free-from” claims.
Enjoy Life then performs rapid tests on the raw products, and the finished products. I’m sure that prior to purchasing the raw products they reach out to the source to find out about if it has come in contact with any of the allergens they are avoiding, but they didn’t explain this step in their response.
This morning I reaearched if rapid tests and swab tests were essentially identical, and I have gathered that they are not the exact same. They can vary, and are constantly being changed and improved. However the purpose is the same– they’re all checking if there is any allergen residue. The fact that companies are doing these tests now is a game-changer because it eliminates the chance of a product recall later on. That was the ‘Aha’ moment where I felt like I knew with certainty that the product was safe and wouldn’t later be deemed un-safe.
I am always nervous about eating processed foods because of the chance of a recall. I do smell my food a lot of the time, because my nose can be a good detector of peanuts, but recalls are one of those things that make all the hard-work of checking still not be 100% accurate. So if companies using these food allergy tests would be able to catch it before it’s problematic or deadly, that’s incredible, and I want to support these companies!
I started looking up what other companies utilize food detection tests and was not finding much readily available, so I am going to begin emailing and asking companies I use regularly to see if they use any type of safety testing. If not, I’ll recommend that they do and make my recall prevention case. It can’t hurt to ask or make a suggestion.
Like anything, I did see that some brands of detection tests can be more accurate than others, and likely that is always going to be an issue, but I believe the more the product is examined and tested for allergens, the better!
While internet browsing I found there is a portable peanut sensor coming out soon! I’m debating getting on the list to reserve one, since it has not yet been released. As much as I want to get to the root of why peanut allergies, and allergies in general are soaring, and how much I would like a cure, these types of products are great to see in the meantime!