Monday, September 09, 2013

UNREAL Candies - Reactions

There's a post on UNREAL's facebook page in which Robyn O'Brien, the well-respected author of "The Unhealthy Truth", states that UNREAL is corn-free and safe for those with corn allergies.

Screenshot from UNREAL's FB Page

As much as we like what she's doing with food and educating people about the dangers of the current food system, we do want to make sure that those with a corn allergy do not take her advice here.

UNREAL is corn-lite at best. It looks better than 99% of the candies out there which can be deceiving for people with a corn allergy. Their candy does still contain traces of corn, and is not safe enough for someone with a corn allergy.

Several people with corn allergies have tried their products and reacted. Please use caution with their products!


Adam Melonas said...
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Adam Melonas said...

We take food allergies very seriously here at UNREAL, and our products are unequivocally, 100% corn free. If you take a look at our ingredients labels, every ingredient is very commonly corn-free. You might see powered sugar listed, which sometimes contains traces of corn. At UNREAL, however, we had the producer of that particular ingredient reformulate the powdered sugar to remove the corn starch, using a tapioca starch in its place as a "flow agent." We've had many people with corn allergies write us to share their positive experiences with our chocolate candies. I apologize for any misinformation you may have received previously, and hope you will give UNREAL another try as there are absolutely no traces of corn in our products. - Adam Melonas, Co-Founder of UNREAL

Violets said...

Hi Adam,
I'm curious about the milk powder, the prebiotics and the vanilla extract. I've found all three to be problematic in the past.
Corn allergies are very complicated; I wish there were more research into them so that we could understand why even non-protein derivatives of corn cause issues for some of us.

V Y said...


I don't think anyone is saying your company intentionally is doing people harm.

On our sister blog where we talk about news and advice to a corn-free life, we talk about company's claims of corn-free.

"As I've posted once before, we don't believe that companies are using false corn-free claims in order to do harm, but merely that they lack understanding of what constitutes corn-free and/or that their suppliers are not well informed."

It is extremely difficult to get a product, let alone a mass made product, to be 100% corn-free.

I do appreciate your company trying, but when we have multiple reports of reactions in the corn allergy community, we can't in good faith advise others to eat it.

As Violets has said already, there are ingredients in your products that are highly subject to contamination.

Vanilla extract is almost always corny. Even if it's labeled "Corn-free". Generally what corn-free means on vanilla is that it was extracted using corn alcohol, then the alcohol was evaporated off and replaced with something else. This process still leaves traces of corn.

Sometimes corn-free vanilla is mixed with glycerin from corn as well.

Our version of corn-free is that it doesn't in any way shape or form come into contact with corn or any of corn's various derivatives.

C. Willick said...

It could also be one of the washes... I was wondering if lactic acid or citric acid (these are both corn despite the names) or something like that was used on the peanut line... and also 99.9 percent of all vanilla extract is made with grain/corn alcohol. or it could be something in washing the equipment. However, usually I don't react to anything of that level. I can tell you that I have no other allergies other than corn, and I do react to some of your products.

Rose said...

Adam - I have not yet tried your product on my daughter who's corn allergic. A friend of mine and I tried asking for information on your facebook page once. We were told it was corn free. When we asked for details about things like the vanilla our post was ignored. I took that as a bad sign.

If you could provide the specific details on the food sources of each of your ingredients that would be a start in the right direction.

(To put things in perspective my daughter once had a reaction to organic carrots. After much discussion with the very nice people at the farm I discovered the wash water used contains corn derived citric acid. )

Anonymous said...

Dear Adam,
Thank you.
We really appreciate your taking the time to comment. I'm sure you understand that our main concern in regards to our allergy is safety. As a few people mention some of the ingredients come into question when we are considering if the product is corn-free. There are many ways that a product can become contaminated by corn though that have nothing to do with the ingredients in the product...the equipment, what you clean with, how it is packaged etc. all matter. This is not an attack in the company or your product. I'm quite happy that the product works for others with allergies. Though I personally can't eat your products, the traces of corn are little enough for me that my boyfriend can eat a candy bar that tastes good to him and can still kiss me without fear of killing me. For that I am truly grateful.
Thank you again for your time.

Cmd586 said...

Adam, thank you for commenting on here. I would LOVE to try your product. I am not as sensitive as some corn allergics, but I have found that I cannot use anything with vanilla extract in it. I can use ground vanilla bean and do fine with homemade extract that uses potato vodka. If you can assure me that corn alcohol is not used to make the extract in your products, I would be happy to give them a chance.

Thank you for your time and efforts.

Diane said...

We haven't tried them as our daughter is allergic to a lot more then corn- and I noticed a few ingredients we have to avoid.

Just wanted to say I appreciate UNREAL trying to be corn-free and recognizing it is an issue. I also want to thank the corn-allergy community for working so hard to keep track of what is safe and what isn't. It is a hard thing to make our Country aware of how dangerous corn has become, after all, our economy is heavily dependent on Corn production. Manufacturers have hidden corn in almost everything these days, and sadly, they don't even know how corn contaminated their products are.. Corn allergies are a rapidly growing serious concern because those allergic to corn aren't just allergic to the protein, but to ALL parts of corn..

Too many packaged food companies don't realize all the places their suppliers can contaminate foods with corn and put a lot of us at risk. I don't blame them in general, most of the Allergy Associations refuse to provide any advocacy for those with corn allergies- so there is no guidance provided to manufacturers about how to make their products truly safe.

I did not see anyone mention that maybe there was corn contamination from packaging? That happens frequently enough.

Thanks everyone for working hard to try to make this corn saturated world safer for those with corn allergies- According to the Allergy Associations the only truly safe way to handle a food allergy is complete and total avoidance of the allergen. That makes hidden corn that much more dangerous.

Shannon D said...

There are so many ingredients that are likely corny in some way. Almost all vanilla is made in corn alcohol. How is the vanilla made? What about the milk powder - is it enriched or does it have any vitamins added to it? Are the peanuts sprayed with any pesticides that have anything corn-derived? Unfortunately, we've learned the hard way - through severe reactions that take days to recover - that most people don't understand just how complicated and far-reaching corn is; it's in almost everything.

Adam Melonas said...
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Adam Melonas said...

Hi all – Thank you very much for the candid responses and commentary. While we cannot give exact sources on all of our ingredients, we can tell you that we use organic vanilla extract from Madagascar, and the alcohol used in processing it is from barley – not corn. In addition, UNREAL uses dairy products (protein & milk) that come from grass-fed cows, not grain-based (as is the case with much of the dairy cattle in the US).

In terms of our equipment, we have always been transparent about the risk of potential peanut contamination through our packaging since we pack our products on the same equipment that packs our peanut products.

Hope this helps and thanks again for your comments/questions!

Cmd586 said...

And your salt? Can you tell us if it is iodized? Iodized salt has dextrose in it, generally, which is a big problem for most of us. Thank you.

V Y said...


Do you know how your peanuts/nuts are processed? Roasted blanched ? Do they have mold inhibitor before you get them?

Also, how is Fructan sourced?

I do appreciate your willingness to answer our questions, and some of our readers may do fine on some of your products.. but we have had a lot of reported reactions so we won't be putting them on our corn-free list.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Adam Melonas for candidly answering's a rarity! I find that I react to your candy unfortunately, BUT it's wonderful to have a non-GMO treat that I can give my kids at parties...thanks!!

Doodle's Mom said...


Thank you for being open and responding to our concerns. I can assure you that it is fairly rare to find someone that is willing to step up to the plate to do so. However, in addition to my son's life threatening corn allergy that nearly took his life as an infant we also are completely gluten and gluten containing grain free as it is an allergen for the two of us as well. If your alcohol is sourced from barley in your extract do you not feel that that statement is problematic for those of us that have severe reactions to any gluten containing item including anaphylactic shock, like in myself, where my blood pressure drops dangerously? A test for ppm/ppb is one thing, but actually stating a product is gluten-free when it can very literally cause people harm and issues (especially if they do not have corn allergy and 'assume' as often is the case that if something is 'gluten-free' and has an extract that the extract must by default be corn based) My comment is sincerely not meant as an attack, but yet an honest comment I would like to make to you since you are doing the honest and right thing by actually listening to concerned consumers that would be more than willing to tout the wonders of your product if it could be made safe for us. A lot of us have children that are outsiders, can't attend school at all due to the limitations of the allergy, can't go to fairs, festivals, birthday parties -etc. So, having one singular treat that could be purchased that was truly safe is something I for certain would drive many many miles to get my hands on just so that my child could have a 'normal' moment that he witnesses others in person and on tv have - the simple feat of having a neat little treat wrapped in a cute little package without fear of epinepherine and the ER.