"may contain wheat" - where do you draw the line?

Whether you pick up a box of rice crackers, a bag of jujubes, or a package of raw almonds for that matter... what do you think when you see that little disclaimer at the end of the ingredients list? 

Ingredients: Almonds. May contain traces of dairy, wheat and nuts. Nope, I'm not making this up - actually seen on a bag of raw almonds. MAY contain nuts. 

I get that manufacturers are being cautious - I love it in fact. Their facilities likely make or package a large range of food items that may have made contact with said almonds. I would love it even more if I had a kid with a peanut allergy that went into anaphylactic shock from contact. 

Part of me wonders however if this is the new "dry clean only" label that is put on everything to ensure that no one is culpable. I've hand washed a lot of dry clean only items in my lifetime. In a few years every package containing items smaller than an egg may read "may be choking hazard". Am I taking this thought process too far?

Contamination for someone with celiac can mean a nasty reaction and internal damage (even without symptoms). I'm curious about where you  draw the line when you read this "may contain" statement on packaging.



  1. In Australia, products cannot be labeled gluten free unless they are made in a dedicated gluten free facility.
    If the factory makes a couple of products, and even one contains gluten there is a risk of cross contamination. I see the point, but it puts a lot of companies off the idea of making something special for us InTolerants.
    Ps. I've seen chocolate bars labelled 'may contain traces of crustacea'... Hmmmm lobster flavoured perhaps?

  2. We have similar rules for marking food "gluten-free" in Canada too... but I don't want to limit myself to eating only products marked as such. Almonds should just be almonds. Corn chips should be corn chips.

    I'm happy to read the ingredients on everything I eat. I'm fine with them saying "may contain gluten" when there is risk too. But wouldn't it be nice to have a better sense of the risk. Same facility? Same machinery? On the other hand... perhaps I should just move on. I've had some response to this on the Facebook page for this blog too. I thought that this topic was one that many of us would ponder.