Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day Requirement

It's snowing!  And, has been since yesterday afternoon!  We've had some sleet, but mostly, just snow.  It's wonderful.  Where we live in North Carolina, we often get freezing rain, but not inches of nice, powdery snow.   We're up to about 6 inches and counting.  It's been years since we've had this much.  The kids have already been outside and are now back in warming up.  Abigail's first request upon entering the house was for hot chocolate.

I didn't have any packets of hot cocoa so we improvised.  It actually turned out really good, and I don't mind at all that Abigail drank the whole mug.  I purchase organic chocolate soy milk for my 2 year old son to drink at lunch.  I heated a mug of the milk in the microwave for 45 seconds, stirred it and then heated it again for another 45 seconds.  Topped with a couple of marshmallows, it was not only a very rich cup of hot chocolate, but probably more nutritious than any of the powdered kind.

Recently, I contacted Nestle about their hot cocoa.  Abigail's class was having it for a treat one day at school, and I needed to find out if it was safe for her peanut allergy.  Here's an excerpt from their response:

There is no risk of peanut or tree nut contamination in our cocoa products.....

Factories that use a critical allergen as an ingredient take all precautions to avoid cross-contact of products that do not normally contain these allergens and products that do not carry a specific mention in the ingredient statement. Precautionary measures include efficient cleaning of production lines and equipment and strict separation of materials that may contain critical allergens. If an allergen does not appear on the ingredient statement, then it has not been added to the product and the likelihood of cross-contact is so extremely low that the risk is insignificant.

Please note that ingredients and manufacturing conditions can and do change. If you do need to pay attention to allergens in your diet, we strongly encourage you to always check the product label and the list of ingredients.

Now that I know I can just heat up our organic soy milk, I won't be purchasing any more "snow day" packets of cocoa mix. They're too "processed" anyway. But, I do have a question.  How do you moms that have kids with life-threatening nut allergies, or you adults with an allergy, feel about that statement "the likelihood of cross-contact is so extremely low that the risk is insignificant"?  I ask because I feel it's a "CYA" statement from Nestle.  But mostly, I ask because when I initially read the statement, my first thought was that any risk was too much.  I then started thinking that I'm just being over-the-top cautious (and many would think I was).  In this case, I let Abigail drink the hot chocolate at school, but I did so hesitantly.  So, if you have an allergy in your household, I'd really like to hear your opinion.  Too risky? Or not?

One side note for purchasers of soy milk.  The "Silk" brand soy milk is no longer organic.  Dean Foods, the new owner of the "Silk" brand removed the "organic" label on the packaging without alerting the public.  They state on their website, that the "Silk" product is not made with genetically modified soybeans, however there is a large movement in the organic community to boycott this brand.  Organizations like the The Cornucopia Institute are stating that Dean Foods are using conventional soy beans from China, not disclosing important information and are purposely trying to confuse consumers.  Something to consider.

For those of you with snow...hope you are having fun too!