Recently, I had a look through the Burt’s Bees website after a customer called to order my private label nut oil free lip balm (the product has now been discontinued). She and her allergic daughter had been using a lip balm that contained her allergen, and she couldn’t replace it quickly enough. I was shocked at the number of food allergens contained in their products. I found almond meal, almond oil, pecan shells, macadamia nut oil, wheat germ oil, soy bean oil, cows’ milk, and other food allergens. This makes me cringe as the parent of an allergic child.
Almond oil is in 13 products: The citrus facial scrub, baby bee diaper ointment, almond milk beeswax hand cream, hand salve, mama bee nourishing body oil, beeswax and banana hand creme, super glossy lip shine, lemon butter cuticle cream, honey lip balm, radiance night creme, baby bee fragrance free shampoo & wash, beeswax lip balm tin, and sun protecting spf 8 lip balm.
Source: http://www.burtsbees.ca/SearchResults?storeId=10201&catalogId=12452&langId=-12&query=%22almond+oil%22&ddkey=http:ProgressiveSearch Accessed 27 September 2011
Here is the ingredient list from the baby shampoo, which thankfully discloses almond in English, in addition to its Latin form, which is prunus amygdalus dulcis:
“aqua (water, eau), decyl glucoside, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, glycerin, sodium cocyl hydrolyzed soy protein, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, avena sativa (oat) kernel flour,, aniba rosaeodora (rosewood) wood oil, coriandrum sativum (coriander) fruit extract, cedrus atlantica bark oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, xanthan gum, citric acid, glucose, sodium chloride, sodium benzoate, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, linalool
Source: http://www.burtsbees.ca/natural-products/hair-shampoos/baby-bee-fragrance-free-shampoo-wash.html Accessed 3 October 2011
I was very surprised to find “pecan shell powder” in the ingredients of the citrus facial scrub. This is in addition to sweet almond oil, finely ground almonds, oat kernel flour, orange peel powder, grapefruit extract, soybean oil, nutmeg, cloves, rosemary, and canola oil. That’s a huge list of food allergens that could easily be overlooked in a facial scrub! You can read the full ingredients list by clicking here.
Macadamia nut oil is in the shea butter hand repair creme, along with sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, soybean oil, canola oil, and vegetable oils.
Source: http://www.burtsbees.ca/natural-products/hands-and-feet-hand-moisturizers/shea-butter-hand-repair-creme.html Accessed 3 October 2011
Wheat germ oil is in three products: baby bee nourishing baby oil, mama bee nourishing body oil, and the peppermint foot lotion. Again, I appreciate that the allergens are disclosed by their English names, but I am surprised to see so many food allergens in the products. To view the foot lotion ingredient list, click here.
Soybean oil is in 37 Burt’s Bees products. Some of the products that include soybean oil are the ultra conditioning lip balm with kokrum butter, lip shimmer, hand slave, lemon butter cuticle cream, baby bee nourishing baby oil, baby bee diaper ointment, beeswax lip balm tin and tube, tinted lip balm, super glossy lip shine, baby bee fragrance free and original lotion, and the radiance body lotion. To see the full list of soybean oil containing products, click here.
For those who are dairy allergic, cows’ milk is in six products: naturally nourishing milk & shea butter body wash, improved naturally nourishing milk & honey body lotion, almond milk beeswax hand creme, baby bee getting started kit with buttermilk soap, improved soothingly sensitive aloe & buttermilk lotion, and baby bee original lotion.
Source: http://www.burtsbees.ca/SearchResults?query=milk&storeId=10201&catalogId=12452&langId=-12&ddkey=http:ProgressiveSearch Accessed 4 October 2011.
Here is the naturally nourishing milk & shea butter body wash ingredients list, which contains nonfat dry milk, also referenced by its French name, poudre de lait écrémé : Aqua (water, eau), decyl glucoside, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, glycerin, parfum (fragrance), coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sine adipe lac (nonfat dry milk, poudre de lait écrémé), butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), xanthan gum, glucose, citric acid, sodium chloride, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, benzyl salicylate, amyl cinnamic aldehyde
Accessed 4 October 2011
The Aloe & Buttermilk lotion contains buttermilk powder, also referred to as butyris lac. It’s also in the Baby Bee Original Lotion, which also discloses it as babeurre en poudre. When I search the Burt’s Bees site for buttermilk (rather than milk), also added to the search results are the Baby Bee Fragrance Free Lotion and the Fragrance Free Shea Butter & Vitamin E Body Lotion. These were not included in the search results when I searched “milk” alone.
Source: http://www.burtsbees.ca/SearchResults?query=buttermilk&storeId=10201&catalogId=12452&langId=-12&ddkey=http:ProgressiveSearch Accessed 4 October 2011
If you have food allergies and still plan to use these products, please read the ingredient lists with great care. If you do find a product that doesn’t contain your allergens, please also make inquiries about the risk of cross-contamination by contacting Burt’s Bees. Their contact information is here: http://www.burtsbees.ca/u/contact-us.html
If you’re wondering if substances applied to the skin can cause anaphylaxis, they can: “When trying to determine the cause of an anaphylactic reaction, physicians and patients generally consider substances that had been ingested or injected, but may fail to consider agents that had been applied to the skin. However, the systemic absorption of many topically applied substances is well known, and in fact is used as the drug delivery system of choice (via transdermal patches) for such items as nicotine, scopolamine, and hormone replacement therapy. It must therefore be remembered that any topical application that is capable of causing systemic absorption is also capable of provoking systemic IgE mediated allergy—and not just cell-mediated contact dermatitis. Click here to the full article by Dr. Jeffrey Miller.
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