I have always used Chapmans ice-cream and have info on their products which I got from their website a couple of years ago. The information that I have clearly states that their 2 litre ice-cream carton is made in a peanut/nut-free building and various other products are made on a dedicated line but there are peanuts elsewhere in the building. When I searched their website a couple of days ago, I was surprised to find that it had changed and they no longer manufacture products in a peanut-free building, only on peanut/nut-free lines. Because they do have an allergy aware program, these products are probably safe, but I feel more comfortable using products that are made in peanut free facilities. I contacted Dirk Raaphorst, Quality Assurance Technician (1-800-265-9110)to ask when the manufacturing of the 2 litre ice-cream had changed from a nut-free facility to a nut-free line. He said the facility has never been peanut/nut free. I was totally shocked since I have a copy of their website page right in front of me which clearly states that this product was made in a nut-free facility. He then mentioned that they are now testing their products which are made on dedicated lines for peanuts before the products go out to the stores. I am totally confused now. I wasn't even aware that manufactures had some sort of equipment to test their products for peanuts. I didn't even think to ask what kind of equipment they are using. Now I am wondering, if there is such equipment out there to test for peanuts, why other manufacturers aren't using it. I can't help thinking that perhaps they don't feel confident about their dedicated products and that's why they go the extra step to test them. Does anyone else have any current information on Chapmans.
On May 10, 2002
There is such equipment out there, and a lot of manufacturers do use it, but since they don't test every batch, I'm not sure how useful it is as an allergen control. It's more useful for quality control to ensure there is no comtamination of the products. I believe the test equipment is called the ELISA system.
I'm on my way out for the evening, but check out this link for more info on how manufacturers check batches for allergens using the ELISA test kit. It may contradict what I said above, I'm not sure!