PLEASE NOTE THERE IS NOW AN UPDATED 2013 ARTICLE ON THE HOME PAGE OF MY BLOG.
Scroll down for your comprehensive guide to buying nut-free Easter Eggs and chocolate.
Well it’s been four years since Birdy was diagnosed with her peanut allergy and lots has happened along the way. I remember so clearly the moment her paediatrician told us she was allergic to peanuts. I was in total denial. Until the very moment he said it I was still thinking, “She won’t be allergic to peanuts!” How wrong I was.
Since then, we take Birdy back to RPA Allergy Clinic for regular testing each year. Last year we had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that Birdy is no longer allergic to any nuts other than peanuts. The bad news is that her RAST test showed she is in danger of having an anaphylactic reaction if she is exposed to peanuts. So we’re now armed with an epipen for her school. Unfortunately its not a peanut-free school. I must admit, it makes me feel a little nervous knowing that kids in her class are brining peanut butter sandwiches to school. I recently had a chat with the class coordinator about letting the other parents know that there is a peanut-allergic child in the class in the hope that some of them may take a little more care about what they pack in their child’s lunchbox.
As well as adjusting to school, there are two other situations I find stressful – Easter egg hunts and Birthday parties. Fortunately most of our family friends have learnt a lot in the past four years and the parties we attend are generally peanut-free. I still ask my friends to keep the packets of any food they put out so I can read the ingredients and the allergy warnings before I let Birdy eat anything. Some of the party foods that catch people out are Honey Joys made from Corn Flakes (All Kelloggs products contain traces of nuts), tomato sauce (Masterfoods tomato sauce contains traces of peanuts but Fountain, Pops, and Heinz don’t) and nearly all chocolate, which contains traces of peanuts. Kids parties are particularly difficult when the children are small because little hands dive in and out of the bowls and food ends up scattered everywhere. That was the reason I wrote the picture book Marty’s Nut-Free Party, being published soon by Wombat Books, to help parents and friends of allergic children negotiate parties more safely. If you have a peanut-allergic child, nephew, niece or grandchild, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of the book when it’s released. If you are interested in hearing updates about Marty’s Nut-Free Party, and getting a copy when it’s released, be sure to like my facebook page by clicking the widget opposite.
Easter presents its own unique set of problems. Cadbury strongly dominates the Easter Egg market in Australia and all Cadbury products are labelled with the ubiquitous May Contain Traces of Nuts warning. It’s a shame they don’t specify which nuts because they may not even contain peanuts, but you can’t take the risk. Lindt chocolate is generally more helpfully labelled. They have a number of products that May contain traces of hazelnuts and almonds but not peanuts. These products are now suitable for Birdy. But in general, if you go through the chocolate aisle at the supermarket, you won’t find much that is suitable for nut-allergy sufferers. Guylain, Ferrero Rocher, Whitmans Sampler and anything by Nestle all carry nut allergy warnings.
There are however a couple of small rays of light. Big W stock the Heritage range of nut-free chocolates. These are by far the safest choice for peanut allergic children. Be careful though. Not all Heritage chocolate is nut-free, only those products clearly marked as part of the nut-free range. Always read the label. There are also a number of Kinder products that appear to be peanut-free. My daughter has eaten these many times with no reaction, but they are not guaranteed to be nut-free. Kinder Surprise carries a milk and soy allergy warning. Kinder Mix contains hazelnuts, milk and soy. If your child is also dairy-allergic, then your only real option is the Sweet William range. Some Sweet William products are available in Coles, BiLo, NSW Franklins and IGA. Darrell Lea are also stocking two Sweet William Easter products that are nut, dairy and gluten free. They taste OK. They’re not as tasty as real chocolate but they are a viable alternative. Personally I choose not to shop at Darrell Lea as they are selling peanut-rolled Easter Eggs. Just looking at them makes me nervous. In the whole store, they only sell two nut-free products and those products also happen to be dairy-free. I find this a little tokenistic. Also, a word of warning to those who have enjoyed the Kinnerton range of novelty products each Easter as we have. This year my local Big W isn’t carrying any Kinnerton product. However they are carrying novelty eggs made by Park Avenue. These include Hot Wheels, Toy Story, Dora the Explorer and Barbie novelty packs. These products are NOT nut-free. They carry the warning May Contain Traces of Peanuts, other Tree Nuts and wheat. I did find two Kinnerton novelty products in Coles, but they weren’t for children.
To make this article a little more comprehensive this year, I’ve decided to rank products according to their risk for peanut and other nut allergy sufferers. I hope you find this useful. Please encourage your friends and family to read this article, so they can make their Easter Egg hunts nut-free. It’s so nice if everyone can be fully included, rather than the allergic child needing their own special chocolate substitute. Also, let’s support companies like Big W, Heritage and Kinnerton for providing a fantastic range of tasty nut-free chocolate.
Your 2012 Guide to Nut-Free Easter Eggs in Australia
These Products are High Risk – DO NOT buy these products for Nut Allergy Sufferers!
|Red Tulip Rabbits in various sizes||May contain traces of nuts||Widely available|
|Cadbury 20 Hunting Eggs||May contain traces of nuts||Widely available|
|Cadbury Dairy Milk and White Rabbits||May contain traces of nuts||Widely available|
|Cadbury Crème Egg||May contain traces of nuts||Widely available|
|Lindt Chocolate Selection||May contains traces of peanuts and tree nuts||Widely available|
|Lindt Lindor, milk, dark, mint and white||May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts||Widely available|
|Lindt bunny with plush ears and egg||May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts*NB Lindt gold bunnies packaged individually only contain traces of hazelnuts and almonds, however Lindt gold bunnies packaged in sets also contain traces of peanuts.||Widely available|
|Lindt Stracciatella||May contain traces of hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts||Big W|
|Lindt Bugs and Bees||May contain traces of peanuts and other tree nuts.||Big W|
|Guylain Belgian Classic Assortment||May contain traces of Nuts||Widely available|
|Whitman’s Sampler||Produced on shared equipment with peanuts, tree nuts and wheat||Widely available|
|Hot Wheels, Toy Story, Dora the Explorer and Barbie novelty packs made by Park Avenue||May contain traces of Peanuts, other nuts and wheat||Big W|
|Any Darrell Lea produced chocolate||May contain traces of peanuts and other nuts. High risk as they are selling a giant peanut-rolled Easter Egg.||Darrell Lea|
|Coles chocolate Easter bunny||May Be Present: Peanuts and Tree Nuts||Coles|
|Heritage Bunny||Manufactured on shared equipment that handles peanuts and other nuts.||Coles|
Moderate Risk Products – They May be Suitable for those with mild allergy or those who are allergic to peanuts only and can tolerate other nuts.
|Ferrero Rocher||Contains hazelnuts||Widely available|
|Lindt Gold Bunnies Sold Individually, milk, dark and white chocolate||May contain traces of hazelnuts and almonds||Widely available|
|Lindt chocolate blocks||May contain traces of hazelnuts and almonds||Widely available|
|Kinder Mix||Contains hazelnuts, milk and soy||Widely available|
|Kinder Bueno||Contains hazelnuts, milk and soy||Widely available|
Low Risk/Safe Products – suitable for severe peanut and other nut allergy sufferers
|Heritage Nut-Free 12 milk chocolate easter eggs||Nut-free, contains dairy||Big W|
|Heritage Nut-Free Bunny 180g||Nut-free||Big W|
|Heritage Nut-Free Bunny 60g||Nut-free||Big W|
|Heritage Nut-Free milk chocolate solid easter eggs 180g||Nut-free||Big W|
|Heritage Nut-Free Mixed Bag 240g||Nut-free||Big W, Coles|
|Heritage Nut-Free Premium Milk Chocolate||Nut-free||Big W|
|Sweet William Rice Crackle Easter Bunny 75 g||Nut, dairy, lactose and gluten free||Darrell Lea, Coles, BiLo, IGA, David Jones, health food stores and many NSW Franklins|
|Sweet William Easter Bunnies 12 Multipack, 155g||Nut, dairy, lactose and gluten free||Darrell Lea, Coles, BiLo, IGA, David Jones, health food stores and many NSW Franklins|
|Kinnerton The Simpsons large ceramic mug with milk chocolate egg and bar, 92g and Top Gear milk chocolate easter egg with a ceramic mug, 92 g||Made with the Kinnerton Nut Safety Promise. Contains cow’s milk, soy. May contain traces of egg.||Coles|
|Kinnerton milk chocolate easter egg, 50g Bananas in Pyjamas, The Simpsons, Hello Kitty, Puppy and Thomas the Tank Engine||Made with the Kinnerton Nut Safety Promise. Contains cow’s milk, soy.||Woolworths|
|Kinder Surprise||Contains milk, soyThis product does not make a nut-free promise, but doesn’t contain any traces of nuts.||Widely available|
|Kinder Surprise MaxiAnd Kinder Choc Bunny Surprise, 110g||Contains milk, soyThis product does not make a nut-free promise, but doesn’t contain any traces of nuts.||ColesWoolworths
This list has been compiled by me personally visiting stores and checking all the ingredients myself as I have not found store websites to accurately reflect the stock that is carried. I’ll gradually add to it as I can. If you know of other products, please leave a comment below. Also if you find this information helpful, let me know and I’ll make the effort to do it again next year. I get an awful lot of hits to my blog from people google-searching ‘nut-free Easter eggs’ so I know there are people looking for this information.
Also don’t forget to like my facebook page so you can hear all about Marty’s Nut-Free Party and how you can get a copy when it is released. And if you’re new at being a parent to a child with food allergies, can I just say, hang in there. It’s overwhelming at first, but it does get easier, especially if you can get your family and friends to take it seriously! Oh and finally, be prepared to stick up for your kid, they deserve better than to be treated as a hypochondriac or a weirdo.
Happy (nut-free) Easter, with lots of love from my family to yours!