December 14, 2010
I have talked about the phenomenon of 'contains cocoa solids' as an ingredient in the past so excuse any harping-on and repetition but it really is so so so important to study the ingredients of a product. 'Plain Chocolate contains --% cocoa solids' is NOT a full ingredient list. It only tells the reader that there is i.e 55% chocolate and 45% undisclosed ingredients.... I have been caught with this myself on my more foggy distracted days where the desire for something sweet can block my street-sense. More importantly I have recently noticed that others are getting caught with this as well... The product which only tells you that there is a percentage of cocoa solids is risky business on the dairy free front.
In the above image you will see that the ingredients could lead one to believe that the plain chocolate ginger is dairy free. Luckily in this instance the food allergen warning states that milk derivatives are present and therefore the product is not suitable for dairy free chocolate lovers.
Europe has enforced a rule which insists that all products show an 'Allergen Warning' of which (allergy sensitive) ingredients the product contains or may contain. However, this does not appear on all products (i.e. imported items) and therefore cannot be your foolproof method of allergy proofing the food you buy.
My advice is:
- 'if in doubt do not consume'
- If there is an allergy warning be sure to read it despite what you think is or is not present in the ingredient list.
- And finally, if there is no food allergy warning and there is anything that doesn't give you the full picture: do not consume.
Cheers to many happy and informed food allergy friendly shopping experience in the future.