Turtle Mountain Ice Cream: Thanks For Not Taking the Easy Way Out!

24 May

It happens all the time. You go to buy some item of food, or someone offers you something to eat, and the label says, “May contain traces of ___.”

You have no way of knowing if the company is saying that just to cover their behinds in case of a lawsuit when in fact there’s hardly any chance of cross-contamination, or if they really mean it and there is a large chance.

Some virtuous allergic foodies (like my little sister), stop there and walk away. Some dumber allergic foodies (me) then wage an internal battle. How lucky do I feel today? How much do I really want to risk it? How much do I really want those cookies? How close is the nearest hospital? (That last one is a joke. Kind of.)

The smart answer is never to risk it, we all know that. But with every other product you see these days carrying that warning label, it can get really frustrating.

Therefore, I was so excited to come across Turtle Mountain products. Instead of just slapping a “may contain” label on there, they go out of their way to make sure their products don’t contain any non-ingredient allergens.

Their package states, “Turtle Mountain applies strict quality control measures in an effort to prevent contamination by undeclared food allergens. To assure our preventive measures are effective, we sample test our products for the presence of dairy, gluten, peanut, soy, tree nut (almond, coconut, pecan, walnut) using state of the art testing methods.”

Their allergy page has a lengthy description of these state-of-the-art testing methods (check it out, it’s really impressive how thorough they are), which include validating the cleanliness of the processing line by collecting samples of the post-cleaning rinse water from each machine and belt, water which is then tested for allergens. “When the line is deemed to be free of allergens the product is produced,” the website says. The site also provides a comprehensive allergen chart for each product and each allergen.

As if that wasn’t enough, most of their ice creams are dairy-free—made from coconut milk instead of regular milk—so they have significantly less fat and calories than regular ice cream (½ cup of the vanilla bean ice cream has 150 calories and 8g of fat, while a ½ cup of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream has 230 calories and 14g of fat).

Their products range from milk and creamer to yogurt and “ice cream” (technically called “frozen dessert”), and they offer both coconut-based and soy-based versions, plus some gluten-free options. Check out the column on the left-hand side of this page for the full list of their products.

The flavor I tried, Vanilla Bean (coconut-based), tasted more like coconut gelato than vanilla ice cream. It was delicious, but very sweet—almost like it was missing a creamy finish and stayed with the same note throughout. When I left some in the bowl to melt a bit, it tasted exactly like a marshmallow.

Photo credit: TurtleMountain.com

I paired it with Frog Hollow pear sauce, though, and it made a huge difference. (I’m guessing even chocolate sauce would do the same, it just needs a complementary flavor.)

To pick some up for yourself, check out their store locator.

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3 Responses to “Turtle Mountain Ice Cream: Thanks For Not Taking the Easy Way Out!”

  1. janice weiner May 25, 2011 at 9:38 AM #

    Totally the difference is between the risk taker and non – risk taker although not a smart move to take any chance. It is unfortunate that companies are most likely covering themselves.

  2. Cristina May 25, 2011 at 9:55 PM #

    I agree with you. There are so many food companies who slap on a label without really knowing if there are traces of nuts, dairy, etc. It’s sad. How can they not know what’s in their own food, especially during the “making of” process? Cross contamination is huge, and I wish more companies took it seriously.

    PS: the cookie dough purely decadent is amazing!!

  3. Rick Weiner May 26, 2011 at 12:06 PM #

    I’ve had it also. Excellent! Can’t wait to have it again.

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