Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rita's Ice - Celebrate the 1st Day of Spring

We've never been to Rita's or eaten a Rita's Italian Ice or Custard, but I have several friends with food allergic children that have been to a Rita's.  I did a little research on the company's website, and they do have a great allergen labeling policy. What was an immediate concern is that they offer "Mix-Ins" for their custards.  Mix-Ins include Reese's Pieces, Reese's Cups, M&M's, Heath Bars, Oreos and Nilla Wafers.  It's no news to you guys that the majority of these items are taboo for our peanut allergic children.  Up goes the red flag.

On a food allergy message board, I posted a question as to whether other moms with peanut allergic children have been to Rita's and asked their opinion as to whether they thought it was a safe place to eat.  I found out that these mix-ins are fairly new and are kept covered in separate storage containers.  There is also lots of signage stating their allergen policies.  One mom says she does go there with her peanut allergic daughter and they stick to the Italian Ice flavors.  The mix-ins weren't near the ice flavors.

So, it sounds like a place that might be worth checking out.  And, today might be the day to do it.  Rita's is celebrating the first day of spring by giving away a free regular size Italian Ice.  We'll be packing and moving today (more about that later) so it's not on our agenda, but maybe one of you guys could check it out and report back on your experience.  Or, if you've been in the past...what did you think?  Would you recommend it for children and adults with severe food allergies?  I'm still on the fence.  After all, the peanut product toppings for the McFlurry is one of the main reasons we stopped going to McDonald's (link to that post).  Is one food establishment okay and another not?