Natural flavorings

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/1999 - 2:23am
KarenK's picture
Joined: 08/17/1999 - 09:00

My 15-month-old son was recently diagnosed with allergies
to peanuts
and eggs. I've read several materials from the Food Allergy Network to
understand more about this, as well as how to buy foods without those

But one ingredient has really stumped me: natural flavorings. I
understand that a manufacturer could use peanuts as a flavoring and list it
as natural flavorings on the label, so ideally one would avoid those
products. But now
that I'm reading labels in the grocery store, I find "natural flavors"
listed on
a majority of foods in the store, everything from yogurt to oatmeal to diet
soda to spaghetti sauce. Obviously, not all of those products use peanuts as flavorings, but unless you contact the manufacturer, can you really be sure? And to avoid such foods would eliminate an incredibly
wide array of foods (especially as he gets older). I look for brands of such products without that listing,
but that's not always possible (like yogurt).

I was wondering how others cope with this issue of natural flavorings?

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/1999 - 3:33am
CathyT's picture
Joined: 07/11/1999 - 09:00

pKarenK,br /
My 2 yr old son is PA, as I am. Some may not agree with me, but I don't worry about it. I don't call manufacturers, either. In 37 years, I only had one reaction to a food that didn't have peanuts listed as an ingredient (or may be an ingredient). All other reactions were from restaurants and friends' foods. I have my own rule that works for me, I don't eat things that I think are "weird", or have too many unidentifiable things (i.e. granola). The nice thing about the boards is that you'll get different opinions, and you can see what you're most comfortable with./p

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/1999 - 4:14am
Marietta Carter's picture
Joined: 08/10/1999 - 09:00

pCathyt,br /
I am another mom who just found out my son is PA, and am trying to feel my way through what is acceptable risk. I am interested what is your reaction and your son's reaction to the peanut allergy. I'm wondering if the severity level of your allergy affected your decision to take on a risk others have chosen not to, or is it based on some statistics that you have regarding cross-contamination and vague ingredient labelling exposures. I'm not questioning your judgement at all, I hope you understand. I'm just trying to make these kind of decisions myself./p

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/1999 - 12:19pm
CathyT's picture
Joined: 07/11/1999 - 09:00

pMarietta,br /
I hesitated to put my other post here, because I did not want to seem insensititve to those who are more thorough than I with regard to calling manufacturers, etc. My decision was really based on a lifetime of what worked for me. I am 37 yrs old, and years ago labelling was not as good as it is now, and like I said, I only had 1 reaction that I can trace to mislabelling. Therefore, I find that amount of risk acceptable for me. I do use myself as the guinea pig for my son, however, whenever I buy anything new. I am cautious when I eat out, but I do eat out a lot, probably because before I had kids I did a tremendous amount of travel for work. (I also HATE to cook!) With regards to my son, I let him eat what I eat. Like I said, I would never buy granola, funky cereals, cookies with too many ingredients. If a lot of this sounds very arbitrary, it is, because over time I have found what I am comfortable with. This is very confusing to my husband, because he'll come home with something perfectly fine (ingredient wise), and I'll say, no, it's icky, we can't take a chance. Statistic wise, it's just a gut feeling over the years of seeing what's mislabelled. For example, I read recently of fudge butter cookies being mislabelled. That's an example of what I wouldn't buy, because to me it's too close in texture and looks to peanut butter. I'm sorry I can't be of more help in narrowing things down!/p

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/1999 - 12:22pm
CathyT's picture
Joined: 07/11/1999 - 09:00

pMarietta,br /
Oops, I forgot to answer your first question. My severity level is off the charts, way past Class Six, and my son's (so far), is a high Class Four./p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 1:13am
KarenK's picture
Joined: 08/17/1999 - 09:00

pMarietta,br /
You said you're a mother new to this issue. How do you deal with "natural flavorings" on labels?/p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 9:00am
Marietta Carter's picture
Joined: 08/10/1999 - 09:00

pKarenK,br /
At this point, I'm being super cautious. If there are natural flavorings listed as an ingredient, I call the manufacturer and ask if there any peanut products in the natural flavorings. I'm also calling manufacturers about non-peanut ingredient foods to check if there is chance of cross-contamination with food that does contain peanuts. Unfortunately, I haven't found data to help me to determine what is an acceptable risk for me. I don't know how many cases there are of people reacting to peanut products not explicitedly stated in natural ingredients or how many cases of cross-contamination. I may be going way overboard but I'm still very scared by this allergy./p

Posted on: Thu, 08/19/1999 - 5:04am
Nancy's picture
Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

pAnother issue with natural or artifical ingredients is that, even if you call the manufacturer, there is NO guarantee that the next time you buy the product, everything will be the same. The ingredients may have changed slightly or the product may now be labeled "may contain..." or "produced in a facility that uses peanuts." These risks may or may not be acceptable to you./p
pI recently noticed that Freihofer's baked products have common food allergens in bold letters on the ingredient list. I find that extremly helpful, because I don't have to get out my magnifying glass to read the labels, and I don't have to read through lines and lines of ingredients; it's very easy to see that something contains milk, egg, or nuts. Yeah for them./p

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/1999 - 1:41pm
Lschubert's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

pHi,br /
Thought i'd give my experance on the natural flavorings. I was very concerned in the begining of this process of learning how to avoid peanuts in my sons allergy. I contacted lots of people about this. One was a nutrisionist for a local Grocery store. She could not answer my questions. The most assuring thing I learned was from food manufactures. I called a handful of the food Co. I purchase form most. All of them assured me that if they used a known allergn they would declare it. They would not hide something that could really cause someone alot of /
Now I know this is not alot of help but it did assure me that if I use common sence and avoid peanuts, I will be safe. So far so good no reactions at home or anywhere for 3 years. Praise the Lord. It is getting easier as my son get older he has started monitoring food himself and if there is a question he just doesn't eat /
God Bless, Hope this helps, Lori/p

Posted on: Fri, 08/27/1999 - 1:25am
Marielle's picture
Joined: 08/06/1999 - 09:00

pI'm another mom that doesn't call all the manufacturers everytime I see the words "natural flavors"... However, if I see the "may contain..." or "produced in a facility..." statements, I will call (unless I can find/make a comparable product that doesn't have those statements)./p
pAs for the natural flavors...I've found that if I avoid products that I know often have problems (you know...granola, cookies, chocolate, etc.) we're OK. I guess we've been lucky, but if you think about it, you can probably figure out which ones are more likely to be peanut and which are not. Really, would vanilla yogurt have peanut flavorings?(vanilla is not usually listed as an ingredient so those natural flavors are probably vanilla), or would coke have peanut in it? (if it does...we've never had a problem). /p
pSometimes I question my logic and whether or not I should do more, especially after visiting this board, but I've had no problems yet. [img][/img]/p

Posted on: Fri, 08/27/1999 - 3:19am
Anna's picture
Joined: 07/20/1999 - 09:00

pHi, Marielle./p
pYou used vanilla yogourt as an example. This brought to mind the french vanilla yogourt I did not buy a few years ago because I learned it was made on the same line as a yogourt containing almonds, as well as a yogourt which contained "peanut butter and jelly." /p
pAfter some parents complained, the company stopped producing the PBJ yogourt, but this goes to show, you never can tell where cross-contamination will appear./p
pGood health!/p


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