milk ballLast week Ferrara Candy Company voluntarily recalled 6 lb packages of Brach’s Malted Milk Balls because they may contain undeclared peanuts or tree nuts. 

The product is in bulk bags and is intended for sale in bulk bins (i.e. bins that may not contain packaging information such as lot numbers).  Consumers who purchased the product and are concerned about nut contamination can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.  For any questions, please contact the company at 1-800-323-1768.

Food allergies are a growing concern worldwide.  With no known explanation for the increase, and no known cure, the numbers are baffling the scientific and medical community.  There are several theories about the cause of the rise in food allergies, but, despite many internet rumors, nothing is scientifically proven.  The fact is that the rate of food allergies is climbing and the reactions can be severe.  Around the world, adults and children alike are dying from food allergy reactions.

Food allergies affect every aspect of family life.  Families are required to keep “nut free” homes.  This includes everything with potential nut contamination.  Just about every room in the house may contain something contaminated with peanuts or tree nuts.  If you have a family member or a visitor with an allergy to peanuts, you can prepare by going room by room to address potential exposure.

In bedrooms and bathrooms, check ingredients in shampoos, bath soaps and cosmetics that will be used.  Many natural products contain nut oils.  The levels may be low, but in some people, skin contact may be enough to cause a reaction.  In living and dining rooms, check the ingredients in your household cleaners, particularly those for natural or artificial wood.

In kitchens, remove and store all nut containing products in airtight containers.  Nuts can be sealed and stored in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry.  Include cooking oils and pine nuts which may be in your spice drawer.  Family who are not used to being in a nut free environment may reach for nut products simply out of habit.  Hiding them away in a separate area limits the possibility of accidental exposure.  Keep in mind that animal food and treats often contain peanut or tree nut oils.

A recent article in Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology Journal states that nut residues can remain active on surfaces for 110 days.  Clean countertops thoroughly with soap and water.  Discard paper towels used for cleaning, or put cleaning cloths immediately in the washing machine.  Teach children about the dangers of allergic reactions, and how to help reduce the risks.  Rinsing dishes and placing them immediately into the dishwasher, washing hands after eating, and before and after handling food, and cleaning all surfaces exposed to foods can decrease the chance of a reaction.  Keep in mind that hand sanitizers do not clean off food or nut residues.  The best way to eliminate the residue is with good old fashioned soap and water.