Gammie, this biscuit may contain nuts!” These are the words I never wanted to hear from Ly’ora but here I was hearing my 9-year-old granddaughter say to me as I handed a packet of biscuits we’d just picked up from the supermarket.

Now, a trip to the supermarket is usually uneventful and we have a routine to make sure we check labels of all of the items we put in the basket.

But here we were, with Ly’ora, who has been well-trained by her mum to double check everything, telling me that these biscuits may contain nuts!

It got me thinking hard about how this could have happened.

Now, I am used to reading the Ingredients of every item I pick up, and just underneath seeing the usual dreaded “May contain…” just like this image below

Now look at this label, from the same supplier that I gave to Ly’ora to eat.

I read the ingredients, of course. Then I read the first two lines in the Allergy Advice box and I stopped there.  Seeing that the recipe and factory are nut free, I assumed this is the end of the important information and did not read any further – given I was busy shopping and wanted to get out of there and go home.

I gave the pack of biscuits to Ly’ora who I had taken straight to the supermarket from school and who was hungry.  As a well trained 9 year old, she read the label again before eating and said “Gammie, this biscuit may contain nuts”.  My mistake is something that can be easily done especially when parents/carers have to read the labels of ALL the items they put in their basket when doing the shopping.  On average, what is it??? 20, 30, 50 labels you have to read from top to bottom including the “Allergy Advice” or “May Contain” sections.

Come on, manufacturers, make it easy for us please…

Looking at the label again now, I have questions:

  • How can a recipe be nut-free when an ingredient may contain nut? To me, it is nuts!!!
  • Why mention free from nuts before mentioning the most important part which is “cannot guarantee that our ingredients are nut free”?

Food label regulations have improved over the past few years, especially with Natasha’s Law coming in effect in October this year. There is still so much more we need to do to make it easier for people to read the allergens that may be present whether known or unknown!

Morale of sharing this story:

  • No matter how ‘on point’ one is, one needs to be vigilant and thorough always when reading labels. I would pride myself as being up there in being careful, the label caught me.
  • Manufacturers, please, please, please let’s make it clear and easy for the people with food sensitivities and allergies to quickly identify an allergen that may be present in the food. Let’s not wait for the law to force us to do so.