A Very Close Call!

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Hi All,

I have been very careful with checking things that go into my PA daughter's mouth. My husband says I watch her like a hawk! (I do!) Anyway, we often stop for ice cream and have been OK so far. After the other day, I guess we've been lucky! She usually orders Oreo cookie and I always ask and tell the server about her allergy. After I was reassured that there was only Oreo cookies in the vanilla ice cream, I ordered her a kiddie. She usually only eats the cone anyway and a few spoonfuls of the ice cream, and then usually passes the rest on to my son. My son went to take a spoonful and quickly spit it out, and with it came a slivered almond! I was shocked! I got so sick to my stomach, I just threw everything out, which my hubby said I should have kept for evidence! To think that her next bite could have had a nut in it! Now, I'm petrified to give my daughter any ice cream from a "new" place we've never been.

Thanks for letting me vent!


On Aug 20, 1999

Linda-Jo, Sorry to hear of your experience. I don't mean to make you feel bad; however, one of the biggest "rules" when dealing with any kind of nut allergy (peanut or tree nut) is to NEVER, EVER go to an ice cream parlor where they use hand dipped ice cream. The scoops are never cleaned between each customer and the risk of cross contamination between the different flavors is so high, that it would be amazing if you did not have a reaction. I can't tell you how many times I have personally eaten at Baskin-Robbins and had a bit of another flavor mixed in with my ice cream. Please cross these places off your list of things to do with your child. We stick to Dairy Queen only and, even then, I watch them fill the container or cone and don't let them put it anywhere near the "toppings" area because of the peanuts all over the place. Christine

On Aug 20, 1999

Sorry to hear about your close call. It does help to hear stories like this, though. I like you have been attempting icecream trips even though I know that I shouldn't (I have a 4 year old with a peanut allergy who has never had a severe reaction). Unfortunately he LOVES icecream. I always have them wash the scoop in the sink but I guess I never really thought about icecream being passed from one container to another.

What does everyone think of the soft serve? I have stayed away from the soft serve yogurt where the flavors always change. Dairy Queen scares me because mix-ins are such a big part of their daily activity.


[This message has been edited by dianen (edited August 20, 1999).]

On Aug 20, 1999

Diane, The Food Allergy Network, in many of their different publications, has warned repeatedly against going to scoop-style ice cream shops. The ice cream from one container is almost always transferred to another container. Go into anyone of them and order a double dip cone with two different flavors and you'll see it happen.

As far as soft-serve ice cream--I only go to places that serve chocolate and vanilla. I do not go to any of the frozen yogurt places because they always use many flavors which ALWAYS include peanut butter flavor (YUCK). The Dairy Queens near my home have recently gone from having opened bowls of toppings to elevated containers which are operated by pushing a button to release the product over the ice cream. No more spoons carrying the product over the ice cream and other containers. On top of this, I never allow my son to eat any toppings, nor is he allowed to have a Blizzard or sundae. He gets a plain cup or cone. I do allow him to have whipped cream since it comes out of the spray can. Christine

On Aug 20, 1999

As a PA adult, I stopped going to softserve icecream and yoghurt places (as well as scoop icecream places) after getting a reaction from "tangerine" softserve yoghurt. They change the flavors in the machines every day and obviously don't clean them sufficiently! If that isn't a good enough reason to stay away from frozen confection stores, here's another one: They always have chopped nuts along with the other toppings, and these chopped nuts are all over the store, and could get into your cone somehow even if you don't order any!

On Aug 21, 1999

When I was a kid I worked in a soft serve ice cream parlor. Even though we only had vanilla and chocolate in the machines, every night we emptied the whole machine took it apart, blades and all and washed it thouroughly. We had top finish off with reassembling the machine and run throug a solution of bleach and water (yuck) and then rinse three times. Since then I always felt safe with soft serve, but alot has changed! I still allow my son to get soft Carvel ice cream because the vanilla is always vanilla. On rare occasions, if the hard ice cream displayed is almost empty, I'll ask the manager to open a new 5-gallon drum and use a clean scoop for my son and we bring it home- too many peanuts from the toppings.

On Aug 22, 1999


The no-ice-cream rule is a continual source of frustration for us. Recently a woman in my hometown had to be med-flighted to a trauma center after ingesting a peanut that was accidentally stuck in a dilly bar. She had an immediate and severe reaction. It is my understanding that Dairy Queens are franchised and it is up to the owners as far as what equipment and safety measures are taken into account. The only other soft-serve place in our area is McDonald's, which recently added a topping system that runs directly into the main cone stream and has pecan toppings among their choices -- AARGH! You have my sympathies Lynda Jo!

------------------ Kristin

On Aug 23, 1999


Thank you all for your wonderful responses. I feel lucky to have such an understanding group of people! Now, I only wish manufacturers and restaurants, etc. would be so understanding as well and follow every precaution they can to ensure the safety of the foods we give our children! Geesh, a nut in a dilly bar?!! I'm beginning to feel that every time my child eats anywhere outside the home, we are taking chances.

And now, another hurdle! I have to deal with preschool (her 1st yr.) and worrying that they will adhere to my rules of not giving her any food except what I send with her. Another gray hair added to my head!!

Thanks again, Linda-Jo

On Aug 23, 1999

Linda-Jo: Fortunately, nothing happened to your child and it was an almond vs. a peanut. However, as people have mentioned, ice cream parlors are an enormous risk to take with a PA child. In my attempt to still provide my daughter with ice cream but not go to an ice cream parlor, we will buy vanilla ice cream (Welsh Farms if you can get it - they don't use peanuts - but do use walnuts & pecans), and decorate the plain ice cream with sprinkles, gummie bears, crunched up graham crackers or crunched up sugar cones. I hate to preach, but you cannot rely on anyone else to assume responsibility for this allergy - the ice cream stores, in all fairness, have way more customers that can eat nuts that cannot. Hope this helps, Michele