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Every day we receive calls and letters from customers that have a concern about possible allergens in our products. Recognizing the need to be able to provide clear and accurate information we conducted an extensive analysis of the issue. We approached the issue from several angles including an in depth review of our processing procedures, a thorough evaluation of our ingredients and consultation with several experts in the field of food allergens. Our review led to the initiation of a comprehensive allergen prevention program designed to minimize the presence of undeclared food allergens in our products.

While we feel that the implementation of this program greatly reduces the chance for allergen cross contamination, it should be noted that we do not guarantee our products to be 100% free of food allergens. To make such a claim would be irresponsible. Furthermore, we recommend you exercise caution should any food company make such a claim. The ubiquity of allergenic food proteins and the potential for cross contamination, although small, still exists. As such, we simply will not make such a claim. However, we do endeavor to minimize this potential through our prevention program. Finally, it is our policy to openly state on our packaging under "Allergen Information" whenever we believe there is likely to be a trace amount of a food allergen in our product even if it is not intentionally added as an ingredient or part of an ingredient.

Allergen Prevention Guidelines

Suppliers of raw materials used by Turtle Mountain Inc. are required to supply a letter of guarantee as to the allergen content of the raw material. These products are then randomly tested to verify this guarantee.

Products containing known allergens are scheduled for production at the end of the production run. This scheduling is documented. Once a production line has been used to produce an allergen containing product, the line is fully cleaned before another non-allergen product is produced on the same line. The scheduling and cleaning is documented.

Whenever legally possible the common term for an ingredient shall be used on the ingredient declaration. We try to include an allergen statement which will provide concerned consumers with further information. Our goal is to label new products and revise existing products as the packaging is updated to include one of the two following allergen statements:

Statement #1:
""Allergen Information: Turtle Mountain adheres to the highest standards of pasteurization, sanitation and kosher certification in the production of this product. This product was produced on equipment that also processes tree nuts, peanuts and dairy products."

Statement #2:
"Allergen Information: Turtle Mountain adheres to the highest standards of pasteurization, sanitation and kosher certification in the production of this product. This product was produced on equipment that also processes tree nuts, peanuts and dairy products. *This ingredient was produced on equipment used in processing dairy products and likely contains trace amounts of dairy."

Statement number two (#2) is used on all products that contain chocolate coating or chocolate chips. Due to the method of processing the chocolate our supplier’s cannot guarantee the elimination of trace amounts dairy protein. As such, we believe it is prudent to state that it is likely there are trace amounts in the finished product. Individuals that are hypersensitive to dairy proteins should consult a physician before consuming one of these products.

The Challenge of Organic Dairy Free Chocolate
We have spent more than two years seeking a manufacturer of quality chocolate that produces an organic chocolate on a dedicated non-dairy line. To the best of our knowledge there is no current option to buy organic chocolate coating that has been run on a dedicated line. However our worldwide search continues.

Why is a dedicated non-dairy line so important? Water combined with specific detergents is the most accepted and effective method for cleaning food surfaces. However, due to the nature of chocolate the presence/application of water for cleaning is avoided. This is due to the fact that water causes chocolate to turn into a gritty paste rendering it not only useless but very difficult to handle. Therefore when a manufacturer wishes to switch from a dairy chocolate to a dark chocolate (non-dairy formula) he/she flushes the system with lots of dark chocolate. Although this goes a long way in removing the dairy it is not 100%. Residual milk chocolate can be hung up in the system. As a result the dark chocolate may contain trace amounts of dairy protein. This residual milk chocolate has little impact on the quality of the dark chocolate but for those hypersensitive to dairy allergens it can be critical.

A dedicated non-dairy chocolate line is dedicated to running dark chocolate. It never runs milk chocolate and therefore the potential for cross contamination is eliminated. There are few production lines of this type in the world and even fewer that run an organic chocolate. Despite this fact, we remain committed to sourcing a dairy free chocolate. We are exploring several options at the moment and are making progress. We believe that in the not too distant future we will be able to provide a dairy free chocolate for our products and to you our customer. We are committed to making this a reality and will continue to pursue this issue until we have a solution.

Turtle Mountain Food Allergen Product Matrix
The main group of food allergens commonly referred to as "The Big 8" is the group of food items that most commonly cause allergic reactions in people. To view this list of Turtle Mountain products that are known to include ingredients that are amongst the Big 8, Click Here.

Want to Know More About Food Allergens? – FAAN
In our search we were introduced to an excellent web site which provides an extensive list of additional resources to learn more about food allergens. If you are concerned that you or one of your loved ones suffers from food allergens The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is an excellent place to start. We suggest you check out their website:

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