In the past couple of years, Americans have lost a lot of trust in the country’s institutions: our government, our media, and now, our grocery stores. Trader Joe’s is recalling ice cream, they announced on Wednesday — specifically, its popular Mikawaya Chocolate Chocolate Mochi ice cream, which may inadvertently contain peanuts. The grocery giant recalled the sweet rice dough-wrapped ice cream balls after a customer reported the presence of peanut butter in one despite the fact that it is not a listed ingredient.
If you have a peanut allergy and you’ve purchased the seemingly benign ice cream, you should probably find something else for dessert. According to the Food and Drug Administration, which is the agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health: “People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.”
The agency also outlined exactly which products had been affected, and how to identify them.
“The affected product is sold in a paperboard box, containing 9.1oz (258g) of 6-1.5oz (43g) pieces with UPC code of 070934990609 and lot number LOT 090-17.” The lot number can be found on the top of the box, as shown in the picture below.
Though Mikawaya has received no reports of illness or allergic reaction in response to the ice cream, Trader Joe’s has removed the offending boxes from its shelves as a precaution. The mochi ice cream balls also come in Vanilla, Mango, and Green Tea Matcha, but the Chocolate Chocolate flavor is currently the only one being affected by the recall.
If you're frantically shoving all of your ice cream into a trash bag while wearing a surgical mask and gloves right now, you may not be alone. Peanuts and tree-nuts are one of the “Big Eight” foods that account for over 90 percent of allergies in the United States (the others include cow’s milk, shellfish, soybeans, wheat and eggs). It is one of the leading causes of fatal and near-fatal allergic reactions, and has become more prominent in recent years. Foodallergy.org estimates that the prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergies more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.
For those who are allergic, consuming peanuts or peanut products triggers anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that can result in an itchy rash, shortness of breath, throat or tongue swelling, and vomiting. The only treatment is epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, which can be injected with an EpiPen.
If you purchased a Mikawaya Chocolate Chocolate ice cream and you have a peanut allergy, Trader Joe’s urges you to discard the product, or return it for a full refund. If you have any questions, you can contact Trader Joe’s Customer Relations, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time at (626) 599 - 3817, or Mikawaya at (323) 587-5504, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.