When I go grocery shopping for my family, I always read and reread the ingredients on the packaging. Fortunately many companies now list all of the ingredients contained in their foods, as well as what other foods are made on the same equipment. You can find additional information under the ingredients labeled as Allergy Warning.
This is very important to look for on any products. Cross-contamination is a very serious issue when it comes to food allergies. This occurs when any foods could be contaminated with an allergy causing food.
For example, we avoid deli meat because they also slice cheese on the same machines. And my daughter is severly allergic to milk. This would be considered cross-contamination.
Many companies are making strides in listing the ingredients but there are still some things that could be improved on labeling.
My daughter had a severe allergic reaction to a taffy we purchased at a local gas station. I carefully read the ingredients on the package before allowing her to eat the taffy and they appeared to be fine.
Within minutes of eating the taffy, my daughter said she had a "yukky" taste in her mouth and her throat was starting to hurt. Carlese also said she felt like there was milk in the taffy. I was amazed she actually knew what type of reaction it was. She was having an anaphylactic reaction.
Fortunately we lived within minutes of the gas station. As soon as we got home I gave her an epi-pen and called 911. They arrived within minutes. We headed to the hospital where she was closely monitored for about 2 hours before going home.
The only way to explain the reaction to the taffy with "safe" ingredients listed must have been some cross-contamination issues. It was a very generic brand of taffy.
In the future, I have decided we will not try any new foods unless we are at home. And I will be diligent in calling the company of any unfamiliar brands of food to determine whether or not other foods are processed on the same equipment such as milk or nut products.
Again, you cannot always trust the ingredients listed on packaging. So please always call the company to make sure there are no cross-contamination issues.