Frustrated about product labeling and treatment by Dr.


My two children 5 & 3 live with peanut/treenut allergy. Prior to being diagnosed with the allergy both children enjoyed a variey of products that now, according to labels, "may contain" peanuts/treenuts including plain M&M's. Neither EVER showed ANY type of reaction. The children's Dr. acted like having such a product at home was equvalent to sprinkling rat poison in their milk. I am A thinking person; I take my children's saftey seriously and they are becoming more and more aware of their restrictions every day. I now avoid these products, but not for fear of a reaction but disapproval by their Dr. So I guess what I'm asking is how necessary is it to avoid the may contains and similar labels when historically neither child has ever had adverse reactions? Is it a judgemnt call or is it written in stone?

By BestAllergySites on Jun 8, 2009


I hear you! It is SO frustrating to have to avoid products with warning labels such as "may contain" or "processed in".

This is one instance though where you should pat your allergist on the back.

Studies have shown that up to 10% of foods tested with a warning label for peanuts (but no peanut in the ingredients list) did in fact contain enough protein to cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.

You are right-your child may not have had a reaction to such a food today, or yesterday, or tomorrow-the problem is that each and every batch can be different. Cleaning technicians change, cleaning practices change. That next batch of candy "could" cause a reaction.

You certainly do not have to avoid these foods if you don't want to. No one can tell you what to do or what you should do for your children. But my allergist has seen reactions first hand to these types of foods.

My way of thinking is that if a company puts that label on their food they are clearly telling me that they are not comfortable enough with their cleaning practices.

There are so many great companies making safe foods now in nut free facilities-I try to support them instead.

By Ashley5473 on Jun 8, 2009

For a year my dd ate may contains and made on same equips without a problem. Then on V-Day she got some x-contaim cookies and had hives and eczema for a month until she got on steroids. :( HOWEVER, she didn't have an ana reaction to it at all and I think that unless she ate a whole peanut (and I am just talking about MY dd here), I don't think she would. We now avoid all the "may contains" especially, almost all "made in the same facility", and all of the made on the "same equipments".

One other thing, though. M&M's in particular - have you ever been eating the plain ones and gotten a little piece of peanut? From my experience I've gotten several bags in my life that have pieces of peanuts in some of the plain ones. I just tell dd she is allergic to M&M's anyways, cuz she's too young to tell the difference between plain and peanut and ESPECIALLY peanut butter M&M's or Reese's pieces. But I do use my judgement on each individual basis. I trust big brands way more because I know they have pretty decent cleaning standards and all...but it does just take ONCE to cause a reaction. :/ Good luck!

By katelynl829 on Jun 8, 2009

nutsense, I agree with your Dr. Like you, I used to give my daughter may contains all the time. After she was diagnosed I was doing some research and found this analogy: giving your child may contain products is like playing russian roulet. 5 times there is no bullet, but that sixth time you're out of luck. It's a crude analogy, I know, but it stuck with me.

By lovebugsco on Jul 11, 2009

I absolutely should have used an epi-pen.. on multiple occaisions! I chicken out every time! I have even practiced multiple times with real epi-pens on oranges as well as the practice ones on my dd and ds. I just freak. I should clarify from my post.. it was not ice cream but "Rice" cream.. that we later learned was made on the same line as dairy.

Anyhow - I 100% agree and thank God benedryl has worked somewhat so far. We have an excellent allergist who has trained us well.

By lakeswimr on Jul 10, 2009


I wonder if you have an allergist and a clear, written emergency plan. Breathing treatments and benadryl are not proper treatment for anaphylaxis. You child had breathing trouble and hives after ingesting an allergen. That = anaphylaxis and should have been treated IMMEDIATELY with an epi pen, a call to 911 and 4+ hour stay in the hospital. If you do not yet have an allergist you should see one asap and you should also get a written emergency plan.

Your post scares me. It sounds like you might not have seen a good allergist yet.

By lovebugsco on Jun 8, 2009

Hi - I am new here.. Was searching for something else and this site came up with your post. I have to say, we don't consume anything with may contains with regards to peanuts but, we have not in the past been so careful with dairy. My dd is ana to dairy, eggs, peanuts and peas and ds to peanuts only. My dd had a serious reaction to Rice Dream last year. She had hives right away and breathing issues but we were able to treat with benedryl and she was ok for the night. We continued to do breathing treatments every four hours till two days later when her breathing was so labored that we had to take her to the ER. The wording on their container is really odd. I don't remember exactly what it said but, it did not say MAY CONTAIN... It was a paragraph about how they clean their machines if I recall. At any rate.. we will never eat that again!

Also.. beware of Nabisco products. They do not label may contains generally or made in a facility with.. They outsource their manufacturing to various companies and some will provide that info but, most will not. I know a chemist who inspects their facilities and she told me that oreos in the big packs are made on the same line as Nutter Butters. If you call Nabisco though they say the same things... we clean our lines thoroughly... We have had no issues with their products but do know of a boy that had a severe reaction to Oreos.

Why risk it?? It is SO not worth it. We are in the process of getting an allergy alert dog for our youngest. If you want to see the reaction she had from made in a facility with see the montage at .. that reaction does not look that bad but that was within minutes of eating the ice cream that she had had dozens of times before with no issues. Hope that helps!

By Dyane on Jul 15, 2009

A week before our daughter was diagnosed, she was handed an ice cream by someone who was well intended but it had a sprinkling of peanuts on it. I fished it out of her mouth, and she had an Epipen handy anyway, but nothing happened. I relayed this to the doctor when I found out about her peanut allergy.

For now, we are avoiding the mays until we are better educated. Better safe than sorry as far as we are concerned.

Your doctor could have treated you better. Most parents wouldn't do something they felt was unsafe and to be treated as though it were deliberate on your part is insensitive. It shows that perhaps you and he are not a good fit together. I'd shop around for someone who was respectful of me as a parent if I were in your shoes.

By kalelpeanut on Jul 12, 2009

I have been given my PA son oreo cookies thinking it was safe!!! We didn't had any problems before, but now I am very concern!!! I will call Nabisco. Oreo is our favorite cookie! =(