NB. An updated and revised version of this story is available here https://frommouthsofbabes.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/the-hunt-for-nut-free-easter-eggs-2012/

With Easter approaching, Birdy recently received an invitation to a friend’s house for an Easter egg hunt.  I was really excited because I have fond memories of Easter egg hunts when I was kid.  My family had an acre or so of garden in the country, so we’d literally be finding eggs for months afterwards.  But Birdy has a peanut allergy.  And nearly all commercial chocolate contains traces of nuts.  It’s because of the way that chocolate is manufactured.  Melted chocolate might have nuts dipped in it and then the runoff chocolate might be re-used to coat biscuits or make easter eggs.  That’s why chocolate is one of the most common causes of serious allergic reactions.  It makes an Easter egg hunt a little more challenging for us.

Last year I couldn’t find any nut-free Easter eggs, so I took the moral high ground, and said ‘Easter’s not just about chocolate’ and refused to buy any.  But this year, I started my Easter Egg hunt early, and I’ve found that while the majority of Easter Eggs do contain traces of nuts, you can actually now buy some nut-free Easter eggs at mainstream stores, like Big W.  And they’ve got ‘nut-free’ in big letters on the front of the packaging, which is really helpful.  See below for a short list of nut-free options.

Generally I find people are becoming more aware of allergies, but families without allergies still seem to forget a lot of the time.  Every second week someone turns up at my house with biscuits or chocolates containing nuts, or some kid has a peanut butter sandwich smeared all over the toys at creche.  Once when visiting family, I found an open packet of peanuts on the bottom shelf of an open pantry.  Of course, people make mistakes, but when you’re the parent of an allergic child, you have to check and double check everything, even with your own family, which might hurt people’s feelings at times, but you have to be responsible for protecting your own child – nobody else will.  Sometimes family and friends just need a gentle reminder so they become more aware.  After all, one in every fifty children has a peanut allergy, so as a society we have to get used to accommodating their needs.  One way to do that is to buy nut-free chocolate for your Easter-egg hunt so the kids with allergies can join in too!

Some nut-free chocolate brands available in Australia include:

Kinnerton – Character eggs are available at Big W

Heritage – not all nut-free, but they’re well-labelled and widely available

Sweet William – chocolate and choc-chips are nut-free, dairy free, gluten-free, vegan and surprisingly still taste like chocolate – available at Coles

Please add your own discoveries to the list!

Do you have a child or family member with allergies?  How has your family adapted to their needs?  How do you deal with special occasions like parties and Easter?  Has your child missed out on joining in with other kids in the past?  Are people becoming more aware of kids with allergies?  Do you think parents of allergic children expect too much of others?

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