This is a bit of a messy picture but just about sums up a recent morning I had!
|Yes, the cakes burned in the oven and I resorted to 'shaving' them!|
It should have been a lovely start to the day - I planned to bake with 'Baby'. Nothing special, as I had plenty of other stuff I needed to do, so it was just a quick Hale & Hearty (gluten free) chocolate muffin mix. Made with dairy free margarine, they are usually 'fail-safe' mixes, for me.
All was going well, until I suddenly came to the realisation that a nasty smell was emanating from my daughter and it was an unmistakeably pooey one. In the middle of mixing everything together, I hurried 'Baby' along, shoved the muffins into the oven and whisked her upstairs for a nappy change.
Unfortunately, the delay was my downfall, her nappy had leaked and it soon became apparent that a bath was in order. Hence my cakes burned and had to be shaved - resulting in the mess above.
It didn't take me long to work out what was behind this disastrous nappy. The day before, whilst out in town, I'd noticed a product in the health food shop that I had heard about via Twitter. Marketed as 'Vegan' and 'Dairy Free', I believed it to be milk free and therefore 'safe,' so I neglected to read the ingredients until 'Baby' was someway through.
Aaagghh!!!! I couldn't believe it what I saw! 'May contain milk!'
Fortunately, for us, 'Baby' does not have anaphylactic reactions to milk. So I knew that if it did contain milk it was not going to be fatal for her, 'just' uncomfortable. Even more fortunately for us, she does not react as immediately, (or as violently) as she used to, Nonetheless, we don't like seeing her suffer the consequences of ingesting milk accidentally.
Now, I accept it is my own fault - I should always check, BUT I was under the (obviously somewhat mistaken) impression that as Vegans are opposed to the consumption of animal products (including milk), 'Vegan' products were a pretty safe bet for my dairy free 'Baby'.
Increasingly, I'm becoming aware that this is a bit of a grey area. Some products purporting to be Vegan carry the May contain... catch-all statement and it appears that there are Vegans who seem happy to take their chance with such products. If this is you, I'm not 'having a go,' honest, but I'd like to suggest that you are consuming more milk than you realise. If that's not a problem for you, then fine, but for us...
'Baby' (who has rather a sensitive little tummy) tends (as on this occasion) to react to these products more often than not - the only two that seem to be happy exceptions to this rule, are Betty Crocker ready made icing and Hotel Chocolat 'Vegan' chocolates. Knowing that some people are even more sensitive than 'Baby' to milk traces, I am prepared to accept that others may choose to disagree and still avoid these products too. So you may well wish to reconsider which products you buy.
If you're a manufacturer of goods and resorting to this, May contain... warning, then I'd like to suggest that you consider testing your products to make sure. You may actually make more sales this way - if people know they can trust what you say, 'on the tin' as it were.
As for me, I'm going to continue to do my best to avoid any more products that may contain and that means reading the labels more carefully in future - including products that claim to be 'dairy free'!!
Postscript: Funnily enough, just as I was in the middle of writing this post (they take me ages, these days - 'Baby' does not give me much time to myself), I discovered that another allergy mum was writing a similar post about 'May contain...' warnings relating to nuts. Come on food manufacturers, do us a favour.... please???
Please note: More information on Food Allergy Labelling can be located on the Food Standards Agency website. The following link is particularly important as it outlines the new rules regarding food labelling that are soon to become law in the UK. These rules apply to food bought in shops as well as food sold in restaurants. I really recommend familiarising yourself with the changes, especially if you are 'gluten free' as this labelling will disappear.