Login | Register

M & M\'s Plain ... check this out

37 replies [Last post]
By mkruby on Mon, 05-01-00, 12:58

A while ago Mars* started labeling the plain m&m's with the well known "may contain peanuts" label, I had been buying these for my kids. Then I see the label change and hit the roof! Sure I was happy they had it on there, but why didn't they before. I called Mars* and this is the explanation I got: They take the chocolate and make the plain m&m's, but if they have leftover chocolate from the peanut m&m's, they use that also. The chocolate in the peanut m&m's contains crushed-up peanuts. So basically she said, "everytime you eat a plain m&m's you have a 50% chance of eating ones with the "crushed peanut chocolate, and you would be taking a risk"...Think about all the people out there who don't realize the dangers of eating "PLAIN" m&ms and that they could give them to our kids thinking they were fine.

I am a mom of two anaphalactic allergy PA boys and my daughter and myself also have allergies. You may e-mail me at: [email][email protected][/email]

Groups: None
By Yankee on Mon, 05-01-00, 16:16

I am a 25 year old PA woman. I had my first full blown reaction from eating plain M&M's when I was 16. Ironically, I had been eating M&M's for my entire life! My aunt worked for M&M/Mars, and we got free candy all the time! They always made my mouth tingle, and I got a little tummy ache after eating them. I just thought I had eaten too much! Luckily, I'm still here to tell the tale. I'm also glad they started labelling the packages with the peanut warning, not that it would have helped me then. That's when I found out about my allergy.

Groups: None
By KatieS on Mon, 05-01-00, 17:59

I actually found out about my peanut allergy when I ate four peanut m&m's as a four year old. I'm twenty now, so I guess they have had this cross-contamination problem for a while!


Groups: None
By ihatepeanuts on Mon, 05-01-00, 18:57

Wow, thanks mkruby for calling and posting
this info. I knew that M&M's were not safe
but I always thought it was just because they
probably were made on the same equipment and
that a peanut piece might get in there. This
is different. Yes, I think it is good that
they have it on the label but they really
should not say "may contain", they should
just put peanuts in the ingredients list.
It sounds almost certain that they *will*
contain some (even if it's only one). I
have seen ingredient labels that say peanuts
when it is vanilla ice cream and no nuts are
in it. They do not say "may contain" they
just put it right in with the ingredients.
M$M's should do that too before a problem
happens. But, that's just my opinion.

Groups: None
By ColleenMarie on Tue, 05-02-00, 01:15

Just a suggestion in hopes of preventing a reaction from eating something we wouldn't normally suspect to be a cause for concern...

You may want to purchase a few items from the Food Allergy Network - I think Peanut Flashbacks in particular. They list plain M&Ms (but don't give the detailed reason that you were given - pretty scary) as well as other unlikely foods that may contain peanuts (like gravies, chili, etc. etc.).
Their website is [url="http://www.foodallergy.org"]www.foodallergy.org[/url] and I've been very pleased with everything I've ordered so far (can get quite expensive though).

I learned so much from these pamphlets - although I was overwhelmed too. Good luck and thanks for the info on why the plain ones are so risky.

Groups: None
By rebekahc on Tue, 05-02-00, 07:35

I've been PA all my life and until the past couple of years, plain M&M's listed peanuts as an ingredient in the "chocolate filling." When they took that out of the ingredients and put the may contain warning on the label, I thought they had actually changed the ingredients and were trying to make their product safer - looks like they were doing just the opposite.

Groups: None
By Sandra on Sat, 05-06-00, 04:10

Mkruby, You might want to contact FAN to make them aware of the information you received pertaining to the crushed up peanuts in M&Ms. I know they are aware of the possible cross contamination, but I'm not sure they know the extent of the problem. They might want to send a new alert out to all of the FAN members. Thanks for the information.

Groups: None
By mkruby on Sat, 05-06-00, 15:53

Thank you Sandra...but to be honest with you, I don't even know what FAN is... what is it??

Groups: None
By on Sat, 05-06-00, 23:42

I, too, did not know what FAN was for a long time. I constantly read about it in the emails but never understood what it was. Finally, I am beginning to learn about the various organizations. It stands for Food Allergy Network and the web site is [url="http://www.foodallergy.org."]www.foodallergy.org.[/url] They produce alot of literature and videos regarding allergies.

Groups: None
By mkruby on Sun, 05-07-00, 01:03

Oh okay---Yes I do know of FAN...just had never heard it referred to as FAN...Thanks [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Groups: None
By evadlynn on Sat, 05-27-00, 21:32

I have had peanut allergies all my life. One of my first bad reactions was at school. In grade school a tradition of passing out a treat to celebrate a birthday made me aware there is no such candy PLAIN m&ms. Ever since I question all snacks and goodies. The worst is holidays when homemade cookies and desserts are offered. Just say no!!!!!!

Groups: None
By latymom on Sun, 05-28-00, 17:40

My daughters 2cnd reaction was due to plain m&m's. She was up vomiting all night, and then so weak, just fell asleep in my arms. When we go to playgroups sometimes, they'll serve things like cookies with 'plain' m&m's and I'll see parents offer one to her without asking me first and they KNOW about her allergy, but innocently they don't think about plain m&m's and contamination. My daughter doesn't know that she can't trust any adult to watch out for her allergy. She usually will take what adults give her, especially a cookie. It's scary.

Groups: None
By AmyJ on Mon, 05-29-00, 03:02

We found out about my son's PA about a year ago. I have noticed from the start about the "may contain peanuts" on the plain M&M label.

Recently I called Mars and pointed out to them that Hershey's manufacture candy bars both with peanuts and candy bars that do not contain peanuts. (i.e. Hershey bars and Kit Kat are peanut free) I said that a company as huge as Mars should be able to segregate their product to make it peanut safe. She said it would not be cost efficient. I also pointed out that in my family alone, because of the one allergy, they have lost 8 customers. If all of the people with PA in their family were able to buy safe M&M's, one would think that that number would add up quickly?!

Apparently they are satisfied with their customer base. Too bad. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Groups: None
By Laura J on Mon, 05-29-00, 03:30

On the Calgary Allergy Network website there are many good articles including a listing of chocolate manufacturers who do and do not have peanut free manufacturing facilities. FYI in Canada the "may contain peanuts" warning is voluntary. On this site Hersheys states that they have NO peanut free facilities and have not yet chosen to put the warning on the packaging. Nestles lists several products produced in a peanut free facility including Smarties, KitKat, Aero, Coffee Crisp. Allans has a long list of peanut free products including ones for Christmas, Easter, Valentines etc. Hope this helps!

[This message has been edited by Laura J (edited May 28, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Laura J (edited May 28, 2000).]

Groups: None
By AmyJ on Tue, 05-30-00, 01:53

Thank you for that information Laura!! I just assumed that since Hershey's did not say "may contain peanuts", that they were peanut free. I wonder how they can get away with not putting a warning on the label. My son has a 4+ PA skin test rating, and eats Hershey's kisses ALL THE TIME. I think I will be giving them a call tomorrow.

Groups: None
By tania.n on Tue, 05-30-00, 16:07

Amyj"hi"I know that hershey dosen't put warnings on their products that they feel are safe and not a chance of peanuts getting in them.I've called them about the chipits ,and they said they were fine but I hesitate to use them.I really only feel safe with chocolate when it is totally seperate factory.
Brachs canada also has a peanut free factory back east where I bought ALOT of easter eggs and what not from them......can you post your finding with hershey thanks......tania

Groups: None
By tania.n on Tue, 05-30-00, 16:10

Oh I do remember giving my pa daughter kisses for vallentines day because they said they were safe......and they were....tan

Groups: None
By AmyJ on Wed, 05-31-00, 02:36

I went to the Calgary site and it did say that Hershey's does not have peanut free facilities, but that it has specific runs that are peanut free.

Groups: None
By Laura J on Wed, 05-31-00, 03:42

Thanks AmyJ - You are right Hershey's have dedicated lines. I had missed that and I'm glad you pointed it out. I guess it depends how pure a product you are looking for.

Groups: None
By BENSMOM on Mon, 06-05-00, 01:23

I read candy labels while waiting in line at the grocery store. Glad to hear Hershey's has nut free lines--I was wondering. Anyway, I saw one pack of M&Ms that said "may contain peanuts" and then another pack said "Allergy allert: manufactured in a facility that has nuts." I was wondering if those were made on a separate line, or what that warning meant. I haven't gotten around to calling. I agree with whoever said that they should make plain M&Ms safe. No other company makes that kind of candy, and they are everywhere--in cookies, ice cream, and even in yogurt!

Groups: None
By mkruby on Mon, 06-05-00, 01:33

Wow, Bensmom, unbelievable...I'd be interested to hear what they have to say. Are there more than one facilities manufacturing them I wonder? All I know, is I don't trust them..not from hearing what I was told on the phone and now this "switch". What gets me about m&m's is the word "Plain"..it is deceiving because they have the "Peanut" m&m's too.

Groups: None
By Lidia on Mon, 06-05-00, 18:34

Kit Kat is made by Hershey, not Nestle. They now are carrying a label stating that they are processed in a facility which has nuts. They haven't changed anything in the process, but decided to start that. It is in a separate area and on separate line from their peanut candy, just like their hershey bars and chocolate kisses. The two latter do not have that warning. I was told that their allergy task force felt it was warranted on the Kitkat, but not the others.. I am comfortable giving my son kisses and hershey bars. Also another note, the regular Hershey bars, not the miniature or snack size or jumbo sizes are safe; they can't vouch for the other sizes. They are made somewhere else. I guess it is a risk, but I can't take away, yet another treat he loves.

Groups: None
By on Tue, 06-06-00, 12:40

I'm surprised to hear about the Kisses, espcially since they make kisses with almonds. I spoke with someone at Hershey and I was told the only product they had on a dedicated line was the plain chocolage Hershey bar in the 1.55 oz. However, they could not guarentee that all bars would be peanut free because, like the Kit Kat, it is made in a facility that processes peanuts. They told me that if someone were fixing the equipment and had PB for lunch or used a tool on a peanut line and then on the dedicated line, cross contamination could still occur.

I ordered Easter candy from Vermont Nut Free, a little expensive but the kids enjoyed it and it was worry free. I actually over-ordered to save on shipping and keeps well frozen.

Groups: None
By Laura J on Wed, 06-07-00, 00:06

Confusion about Kit Kat. Calgary Allergy Network's site has a letter posted from Nestle's which lists their safe bars, including Kit Kat. Some of you are saying this is a Hershey's product. I happen to have a bar in front of me. It is peanut free and it is made by Nestle Canada Inc. Perhaps we need to say what country a manufacturer is in when we pass on info obtained from a company. The facilities and practices will be different in Canada and the U.S.. And maybe Kit Kat is made by Hershey's in the states and Nestles in Canada???

Groups: None
By on Wed, 06-07-00, 01:19

I have been so confused by this thread as it is. I have sat here trying to read it again and again and can't figure out which ones are from people in Canada and which are related to companies here in the US. I agree that maybe you should add that to your post whenever you respond.

Groups: None
By on Wed, 06-07-00, 13:41

Oh, I can see the confusion. Hershey has the rights to Kit Kat in the US. That was what I was told several months ago and I just now called them to confirm it.

When I originally called Hershey about the Kit Kat (my PA daughter loves these) I explained my daughter's allergy. I posed the following question to the Hershey representative: "If you had a child or grandchild with this allergy, would you feel 100% comfortable giving your child a Kit Kat if you wanted to let them have a treat." The response was, "Personally, no. However slim, there is still a chance and I would not take it."

Groups: None
By BENSMOM on Fri, 06-16-00, 18:36

I finally got around to calling M&M/Mars and asking about the 2 different warnings on the plain M&Ms (may contain peanuts vs. manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts.) The woman said they mean the same thing. I said that didn't make any sense to have 2 different labels. She said the second label is new and they are going to use that one on all the packages. She said it is not true that peanut M&Ms contain crushed up peanuts in the chocolate. She said the only peanut in the peanut M&Ms is the actual peanut in the middle. She said plain M&Ms do not have a dedicated line, but (of course) the machines are thoroughly washed between runs on peanut and plain M&Ms. So, who knows.

Groups: None
By mkruby on Fri, 06-16-00, 19:07

Interesting...two different "truths" from the same company...maybe they changed their practices...I suppose it is possible...However, I am not willing to risk anything after what I was told in the first place.

Groups: None
By Anne Parrish on Wed, 07-05-00, 14:00

It has taken me a while to get around to calling Mars (again) after seeing this initial posting. I called today & got the same answer than BENSMOM got (and that I got several years ago when I first found about my daughter's PA), the warning on 'Milk Chocolate" (new name!) M&M's indicates that these M&M's are made in a facility that also processes nuts. I specifically asked about the bit about the chocolate mixtures being shared between peanut & plain M&M runs & she said that was absolutely false.

I did mention to her that, speaking as one parent of a food allergic kid, I prefer the message about being 'manufactured in a facility that processes nuts' instead of the 'may contain peanuts'.

And I know that everyone has to make their own decision about how careful they are in handling a PA, but my experience (or actually, my daughter's!) w/ M&M's have been fine. She has reacted to several very trace amounts of peanuts in other situations, so I know she is very sensitive to the presence of peanuts, but she has eaten M&M's for almost 4 years (although not for the last month or so since I saw this posting!) with no problem whatsoever.


Groups: None
By mkruby on Wed, 07-05-00, 14:32

Sounds like they need a second call from me. I would like to know why I was told that specifically when I called them when they first changed the labeling.

Groups: None
By Yankee on Wed, 07-05-00, 15:33

To AnneParish:

I don't want to scare you, but I really think you should reconsider giving your daughter M&M's if she is PA. I speak from personal experience. I ate M&M's for 16 years (and I ate them A LOT!) without an anaphylactic incident. I did have minor stomach aches and bouts with vomiting, but my mom always assumed I just had a flu or something. When I was 16, I had a MAJOR reaction, and I'm sure I would have died if my mom didn't realize that I was having some kind of allergic reaction. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but I think letting your daughter eat M&M's is like letting her play with a loaded gun. It may not go off EVERY time, but it certainly could, and with deadly results.

Groups: None
By mkruby on Wed, 07-05-00, 15:50

Hey what do you guys think of the new labeling from "Plain" to "Milk Chocolate"? When I saw the advertisement for the name change I just about hit the roof..all I can think of is that they had enough of us call that they figured they should change it after how many years? All I can say is that I have trouble trusting a company that says one thing and then says another..my kids will not be eating m&m's. We, my kids and I, don't trust them regardless.

Groups: None
By Anne Parrish on Wed, 07-05-00, 21:57

Yankee, you raise an issue I have wrestled w/ a number of times in the last 4 years... how careful to be w/ my daughter's allergy w/out depriving her (& her non-PA sister) of basic American staples of childhood. I was reminded in your story of a similar story that Dr. Woods (? I think that's right... He's the Dr. associated w/ FAN who is himself PA, right?) told me at a FAN conference in 1997 (or 1998, my memory is failing in my old age!) about how he considered Nestle's completely untrustworthy because he had a reaction many years prior from Nestle's Crunch bar. I had talked to Nestle's myself & had been relatively comfortable w/ their description of the precautions they take & so I was surprised by his statement.

Anyway, everyone has to do the best they can in making these decisions. I do think (I hope I am not being naive in thinking this!) that manufacturers are more careful & aware these days than they used to be.


Groups: None
By kcooper247 on Sat, 01-16-10, 19:12

Thanks for the information. I always thought may contain peanuts was not that serious. I had been eating them and do a little coughing, but didn't think much about it. I'm hypoglycemic and was told I could raise my blood sugar faster by eating chocolate. The are so few I could eat. I can eat other nuts other than Peanuts and Sunflower seeds. Hersey w/Almonds, the Almonds are roasted in Sunflower oil. Funny thing though, its on the package, but when calling Hersey's they didn't list it as an ingredient. That was very scary. What other companies have the same issue I wonder?

Groups: None
By cathlina on Wed, 01-27-10, 02:13

In the 70's and 80's, plain M & M's did contain peanuts...supposedly in the shell. I know because when I married my husband I started eating my stepkids M & M's and this is when I started having reactions. I read the label a few years ago and was surprised that it was no longer on the label. So, now it's back on the label. Just another company trying to save a buck to pass on to their stockholders.

Groups: None
By maphiemom on Mon, 02-22-10, 17:49

No wonder so many kids are allergic to peanuts , who has a second thought about giving their kids under 3 or 4 M&M 's if their plain , unknowingly giving the peanuts before they maybe should do so ....so frustrating , it was tough to explain why we couldn't give our kids m&m's after my daughters first reation , thank god for smarties.

Groups: None
By cmvervais on Fri, 03-12-10, 23:16

My daughter was just diagnosed with PA. I have been giving her plain M&Ms for months, but even though she likes chocolate, she would only suck off the candy shell and then spit the chocolate out. It makes me wonder if the tainted chocolate makes her mouth tingle. Another M&M will never enter our house!

And it really proves the point that she can't accept ANY food from ANYONE. Most people would not make the connection that a plain M&M would be a problem.

Groups: None
By Ashley5473 on Mon, 03-15-10, 04:05

I don't let my dd eat m&m's because of the may contain (she is VERY sensitive to allergens), but my son seems to be less allergic, so I've let him eat "may contains"...

TONIGHT - I have learned my lesson :-( He was eating m&m minis and starting itching all over like crazy and some little hives popped up on his face and neck...I gave him a Benadryl and he has not gotten any worse, but I am sitting here staring at him :-( I am so mad at myself, I should have known better.

I just wanted to let y'all know...This is the first time he's had mini's. I don't know if the mini's are made on the same equipment more often than the "plains" or if I just got unlucky after pushing it for so long.

Groups: None

Peanut Free and Nut Free Directory

Our directory is highlights our favorite products for people with peanut and nut allergies.