Bad news for ice cream lovers out there — especially those with nut allergies. There has been a major Ben & Jerry’s recall, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, has announced a recall on their Coconut 7-Layer Bars flavor sold in bulk containers, as well as individual pints of Chunky Monkey. Essentially, these flavors have been recalled because they may contain tree nuts that are not listed on the ingredient or allergen list. The concern is that these packages may inadvertently contain tree nuts — namely, almonds, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts.
According to the release, an undeclared nut was found during production and, though there have not been any reports of illness or adverse reaction, the company has been investigating the issue, has remedied the situation, and is recalling the products “out of an abundance of caution”.
Now, the packages do contain the warnings that the ice cream "contains walnuts" and "may contain other tree nuts," but because of the potential severity of tree nut allergies and sensitivities, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As the FDA explains, those with nut allergies can have "serious or life-threatening" allergic reactions if they consume these foods.
If you think you may have been affected, the FDA recall notice gives more information about how to identify packages that have been affected, using the best by dates and the UPC numbers:
“The affected Ben & Jerry’s Coconut Seven Layer Bar bulk product is sold in a tub containing 2.4 gallons with a Consumer UPC of 076840104246 and best by date of SEP1520BJ4. The affected Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey pint is sold in a pint tub (473 mL) with a Consumer UPC of 076840100354 and best by dates of AUG2820BH2, AUG2920BH2, or AUG3020BH2.”
As most customers would presumably not be buying 2.4-gallon tubs of Ben & Jerry’s — though, now that I know they exist, I might start trying to get my hands on them — chances are that more people may have the Chunky Monkey pints in their freezer. If you do have products matching these labels in your freezer, Unilever is asking that you discontinue use of the product (aka, don't eat it), keep the container, and call 833-236-1237 if you need any more information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Obviously, if you have any concerns health-wise, it’s always best to check with a medical professional.
Ben & Jerry’s has a huge fan base — including vegans like me who live indebted to their huge range of vegan ice cream flavors. In fact, their ice cream is so powerful it’s even inspired an ice cream pint lock. But nut allergies are no joke, and those with allergies rely on proper labeling to keep themselves safe. Although it’s upsetting to see recalls like this, especially when the dangers around nut allergies are so severe, it’s heartening to see that the company is being so cautious and voluntarily taking steps to ensure the health and safety of their customers. For more information, check out the FDA's post about the recall here.