In yet another undeclared food allergen recall this year, Trader Joe's announced last week that one of their mochi ice cream products may contain undeclared peanuts. The company issued a voluntary recall on the "Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream" produced by Mikawaya and sold nationwide in their stores.
Since the recall, all affected products have been removed from store shelves. Consumers who may have purchased the mochi affected by the recall can return the product to any Trader Joe's store for a refund. However, individuals who do not have allergies to peanuts are free to consume the product as it poses no other health risk (other than being ice cream).
A Surprising Recall Origin
While recalls over undeclared peanuts are not uncommon, this mochi recall was prompted due to one consumer complaint. According to the FDA, one consumer found peanut butter in their chocolate mochi, and since the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup has already been invented, the consumer just reported the inconsistency to the company.
Interestingly, while there are numerous flavors of Mikwaya Mochi, only the "chocolate chocolate" flavor suffered the peanut contamination. Consumers can check the product's UPC and lot number to determine if they have an affected product. Affected products will have the following numbers:
For individuals with peanut allergies, it can feel like both a blessing and a curse to hear about all the undeclared peanut recalls. While it is frightening to hear about peanut-containing products being misidentified as peanut-free, it is comforting to know that the law, and society in general, now understands that peanut allergies can be life-and-death matters.
If a consumer suffers an allergic reaction to a foodstuff that contains peanuts when the label does not say it contains peanuts, that consumer may be able to bring a legal action against the food manufacturer.
Wait... What's Mochi?
Mochi is a Japanese sweet treat, traditionally eaten around the Japanese New Year. It generally consists of sweetened rice cake that is flavored. It can be shaped, or rolled into balls, and decorated or left plain. It is available in a wide assortment of flavors. Traditionally, mochi does not contain ice cream. Mikawaya, and many other food manufacturers, have popularized mochi stuffed with ice cream.