Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts are now affecting a large number of our children and young adults. A survey published by the Food Standards Agency in June 2011 found the “May Contain” warning messages were leading to complacency and confusion amongst consumers, particularly young adults. Bath and North East Somerset is an area with a large student population and chocolate is a favourite student treat.  A shopping basket survey of “grab” samples was undertaken, in total 36 samples were taken and submitted to Worcestershire Scientific Service for analysis. The chocolate originated from 12 manufacturers/producers these included small local companies and some market leaders. All were tested for traces of peanut, hazelnut, almond and walnut. Of the 35 with “may contain” warnings, 5 (14%) had traces of nuts not listed in the ingredients, one (3%) was contaminated with peanut traces the others (11%) with traces of tree nuts. The majority contained no traces of the nuts for which they were tested.

 

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