Monday, October 5, 2009

The Great Candy Corn Hunt

Last year, you may remember that I went searching high and low for nut-free candy corn for my son. I couldn’t find any for sale, but I did find a vegan recipe for candy corn at “The Urban Housewife” blog. (It does call for soy milk, but maybe you can substitute rice milk if you're allergic to soy.)

This year, however, I have exciting news to report: Nut-free candy corn exists!

My friend Kim finally found nut-free candy corn from the manufacturer Blueberry Hill (warning: it does contain soy and eggs). There’s an interesting discussion on the Food Allergy Buzz blog about whether Blueberry Hill’s manufacturing process should be considered nut-free, however, because they do process peanut products in their facility, but the area where they produce the nut-free products is separate and they actually have a food-allergy protocol where an outside organization tests for allergens (and their testing has not turned up any allergens).

While there is plenty of debate on that blog about whether this should constitute a “nut-free” environment, for my own son, I’ve made the decision that I am comfortable with their candy, because any company that actually has a food-allergy protocol, maintains a separate allergen-free manufacturing area, and can show allergen testing results tells me they’re probably more aware and concerned than the average manufacturer. Read the Food Allergy Buzz blog for more information including emails from the companies involved, and make your own decision, of course.

I found Blueberry Hill candy corn at Honk’s dollar store in Layton. Peanut Free Planet carries Blueberry Hill Harvest Mix Assorted Mellowcremes (which contain soy and eggs) as well as Sunrise brand candy corn (which is in identical packaging to the Blueberry Hill Harvest Mix, but made in a nut-free factory in Mexico, so I don’t know what their connection is). Since Peanut-Free Planet strives to carry only products that are manufactured in nut-free factories, I assume the Sunrise product is equivalent to the Blueberry Hill product, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for it.

I also found nut-free candy corn (but it, too, contains egg and soy) available by the pound at The Chocolate Emporium. I haven’t bought theirs to try, but it’s worth a shot if you can’t find it elsewhere.

If you can find the Blueberry Hill candy corn, it’s pretty tasty. Not quite identical to Brach’s version, but definitely passable, and my son loves it.

Not everyone loves candy corn, and if you’re allergic to eggs, you still can’t eat the ones I found. So with that in mind, I did a quick survey of other Halloween treat options online, and here’s what I found:

1. Nut-free: Lots of nut-free Halloween treats at Vermont Nut Free and Peanut Free Planet.

2. Nut-free, milk-free, egg-free: Yummy-looking chocolate ghosts at Divvies.

3. Nut-free, egg-free, milk-free, gluten-free (and certified Kosher parve): Lots of chocolate and candy treats, including chocolate ghost pops, foil-wrapped chocolate pumpkins, etc., at the Chocolate Emporium. Not all their products have the same allergens, so check ingredients carefully.

Next week, I’ll try to have suggestions for allergen-friendly candy to hand out to those little trick-or-treaters.


Jennifer B said...

Hi! Just wanted to share the latest on candy corn since we accidentally ended up having multiple lively discussions about it last year over on Blueberry Hill was sold to Sunrise Confections. This is why it is a bit harder to find Blueberry Hill candy corn. It isn't being made any more. Sunrise makes its candy corn in a totally different facility, aapparently completely nut-free and peanut-free facility in Mexico. Hope this info is helpful. :) Thanks for the links, BTW!

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for updating us! That explains why I was having such trouble finding any information about Blueberry Hill -- glad your sources are better than mine! Always happy to link people to helpful blogs, and yours certainly fit the bill. Thanks for helping make life a little easier for food-allergic folks!

courtney schoen said...

Hi Kelley!
My name is Courtney and I have been reading your blog over the last few weeks trying to get a better understanding of food allergies.

I am actually entering a contest right now where we have the opportunity to put together a campaign for UFAN. I have learned so much from your blog and I am wondering if you would please e-mail me your thoughts about something.

I would love to have a quote from you to include in my Press Release about your thoughts on raising awareness about food allergies in the classroom (that is one of my campaign goals: to have classmates better understand the needs of their friends diagnosed with food allergies.)

I am sorry for the long comment, but I would just love to get your opinion on what it would be like if more kids knew the PAL (Protect a Life) message and applied it in the classroom.

Thank you! Courtney Lewis

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

It was fun talking to you the other day, Courtney. Good luck with your project!