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Kit Kat, Aero, Coffee Crisp, Mirage and Smarties - will no longer be safe for people
Popular chocolates no longer safe for children with peanut allergies; children, families, schools, daycares need warning, says organization
Story Filed: Thursday, April 19, 2001 9:41 AM EST
TORONTO, Apr 19, 2001 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- Today, Nestle Canada Inc. announced that five of its confectionery products -- Kit Kat, Aero, Coffee Crisp, Mirage and Smarties - will no longer be safe for people with peanut and nut allergies. The decision has caused concern for the safety of Canadians with life- threatening peanut and nut allergies, primarily children. There could be more than 500,000 Canadians allergic to peanuts or other nuts who need to receive this message.
"These five products, particularly Smarties, are staple treats in the homes and schools of children with life-threatening peanut and nut allergies," said Dr. Jane Salter, president of the Anaphylaxis Network of Canada, a charitable organization that represents people with life-threatening allergies (anaphylaxis). "They have been widely promoted for many years as safe treats. We are very concerned that people may continue to use these products, putting children at risk. We need to get the message out that these products will no longer be safe for people with peanut and nut allergies."
The Anaphylaxis Network of Canada lobbied Nestle to reverse its decision, particularly since the company has supported educational initiatives of the organization and promoted these products as safe treats for people with peanut and nut allergies.
"It may seem like much ado about nothing - after all, it's just chocolate," Dr. Salter said. "This decision, however, will have a potentially dangerous impact on people who live with these allergies. Very few chocolate bars or candies are safe for them. Most contain peanuts or other nuts, or have been exposed to them in the factory. Just one tiny bite of a product with nuts or nut residue can cause a fatal reaction.
"Allergic children have been taught that these products are safe and the message has been extended to the community at large. Unless families, schools and daycares are adequately informed, these children could be at serious risk," she said.
Ingredient labels on the Nestle treats will now state; "Allergy Alert; May contain traces of nuts/peanuts". Dr. Salter asked her peanut-allergic 10 year-old if she would think to check the label on familiar, trusted treats. Recalls Dr. Salter, "She said, 'No, Mom! Would I check the ingredients of milk?' And she is not alone in the degree to which she trusts these Nestle products."
People with life-threatening peanut and nut allergies must choose all food with great care and read the food label every time. In a recent U.S. study of deaths from severe food allergy, 94% were due to peanut or nut allergy. Despite the fact that 97% of the victims knew that they were allergic to a specific food, not one of them was aware that the food they were about to eat contained the life-threatening ingredient.
At the same time, people with life-threatening peanut and nut allergies are facing a smaller selection of products billed as nut-free. "Nestle Canada is not the only company that has discontinued nut-free products," said Dr. Salter. "We need to look at why this is happening, and how we can ensure that the growing number of people with life-threatening food allergies have safe access to a wide range of foods in the future."
Parents and their children with peanut and nut allergies are available to talk about living with this life-threatening condition. Dr. Salter is also available for interviews.
CONTACT: For further information: and interviews with families, call: The
Anaphylaxis Network of Canada: (416) 785-5666; To speak with Dr. Salter
directly: Dr. Jane Salter, President, (416) 785-5666, (416) 484 0837 or
(416) 738 5263;