angry letters to supermarkets

Posted on: Sun, 08/15/2004 - 9:40pm
williamsmummy's picture
Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

A couple of months ago, tired , frustrated after food shopping , I dashed of a letter which I sent to every MD of the major supermarkets in the country(UK).
The letter invited the MD to come shopping with me ( hopefully during summer hols , so all four kids could 'help'!) and have had some positive feedback.
sainsburys are rather cool. MD has arranged for my local store manager to escort me around shop, and he will give a report back to the MD Justin king.

I will get back to this thread and let you know how it all goes.
I wish the other supermarkets would be more helpful. In fact one has not bothered to reply, so I wont go shopping there in a hurry.
One didnt read my letter and take note of the bit that says 'life threatening' and sent me a letter all about there products for those with food intolerances.
Another said that labeling was out of there hands, and here, have the egg and nut free food lists. ( yeah right , every tried shopping with one of those? what a pile of you know what!)

I plan to send copies of the letters to the anapylaxis camapign, and am asking every one to consider bombarding there local supermarkets with letters,then the buggers cant ignore us!!!

just try it, at the very least getting anger and frustration out on paper has been rather good fun!


Posted on: Tue, 08/24/2004 - 12:11pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I recently wrote to the coprorate offices of Vons (Safeway) and today got a reply.
[b]Dear XXX
Thank you for yor recent correspondence regarding your son's peanut allergy and the availability of bulk peanuts at the Culver City Pavilions store.
Your letter has reached the Customer Service Center. Due to the serious issue involved we have forwarded your comments to our corporate Product Selection and Retail Operations Department for attention.
If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Center XXX XXX XXXX and refer to contact # XXX. One of our associates will be happy to assist you.
Thank you again, Mrs. XX, for writing and for bringing this to our attention.[/b]
I thought that was a pretty decent response. I also spoke directly to the produce manager yesterday and he told me he would be speaking to his superior and I should expect the bulk peanuts to be gone soon.
I guess it is a matter of one small step but I feel good someone is listening. We'll see if they act.

Posted on: Tue, 08/24/2004 - 5:25pm
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

That does sound promising! Would you like to share a copy of your letter?

Posted on: Wed, 08/25/2004 - 12:39am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Good idea, this was my letter. I usually would not refer to my husband but I thought this time it might do the job. If they are not motivated to act on my letter alone then using my husband's name might help.
[b]Dear Vons/Pavilions
I am a customer in your XXXXXXXX, California Pavilions. My husband is a physician in XXXXXXXX and well known and respected in the area.
Our son is 19 and allergic to peanuts. A peanut allergy is a fatal allergy. If he touches, inhales (particles from or the odor of peanuts) or eats a peanut he can die, very quickly. He carries a self-injectable form of epinephrine and an antihistamine to use if he is exposed to peanut. Once he uses this medication he then has to call 911 and be treated at an emergency room.
Exposed to peanut might be just smelling peanut butter or walking through the produce section of your XXXXXXX Pavilions store.
You sell peanuts in a bulk bin and along side the bulk peanuts you sell peanuts pre-packaged in plastic bags.
One day I was walking through the produce section and noticed a very young employee scraping out the peanut bin with a piece of cardboard. There was peanut dust everywhere and shells littered the floor. If my son had been with me he would have ended up in the emergency room. Quite possibly near death.
I mentioned this to you in a previous letter and received no response.
I wonder why you find it necessary to sell bulk peanuts.
Yes, my son carries a burden of personal responsibility and must always ascertain if a certain environment is safe for him. If I buy produce in your market and that produce is contaminated by the peanut dust and particles my son could die. Yes, I inspect and wash my produce before I feed it to my family but I cannot take that sort of chance with my son

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 3:02am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Peg541, thank-you for sharing your letter. [img][/img]
The open bushel baskets full of peanuts in the grocery stores have always been something that has bothered me, but I have never spoken with anyone about it or written any letters about it. Another thing on my PA "to do" list and with all of the difficulties I've had with the schools in the past two years, something that could easily slip my mind.
What Jesse does is simply avoid the aisles in the produce department when there are peanuts out there in open bins.
However, I do feel it is something that I can begin to tackle now and I do have a grocery store that I shop at almost daily that does have the open bushel baskets of nuts out, so certainly I can write to them.
Your letter may also help the person who was upset under Main Discussion about the bins in the grocery stores.
Thank-you. [img][/img]
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 3:27am
MQriley2's picture
Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

Here is the letter that I sent to our commissary.
My name is **********. I am a *********** resident and a wife of a USMC Drill Instructor. We have lived here in ******** for about a year and a half and I have been shopping at the commissary almost every week. I felt the need to contact you about the [b]peanuts[/b] and the [b]tree nuts[/b] throughout the store. Of course, the reason for my interest is because my six year old son has life threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. I do not know if you are aware of how severe and serious these allergies are and at the bottom I will provide information that will give you appropriate and quick information about the seriousness of it.
I am a daycare provider and I usually shop at the commissary on the exact same day every week due to my hectic schedule. I have to take my own children with me most of the time because of my husband's work schedule, until recently. I have had to go through the hassle of finding appropriate care for my son so that I could go grocery shopping due to all of the peanuts and tree nuts throughout the produce section and in other areas. Due to the placement of the nuts, I am now limited to the amount or type of food that I can purchase through your store due to the cross-contamination factor and this is very disappointing to me.
Last week, I decided that I would try the commissary one more time. For the past few weeks, I have been getting my produce at other stores. I have not been able to buy vegetables or fruit at the commissary in awhile. To my amazement, the nuts had been moved from one bin to now in between different the lentils, the grapes, and by the tomatoes, in bags, and in bins. I couldn't believe it and I thanked my lucky stars that I did not bring my son that day. I picked up a tomato and there was broken peanuts and shells under them, they were on the floor, and mixed in with other vegetables. It is all I could do to not request to speak with a manager, but I have learned to control my emotions because not everyone sees this the way that I have to see it.
The man that works in the produce, bless his heart, he is so polite and kind to everyone he sees. But, I watched him rake the peanuts from the top of the produce shelf to the bottom so that they would look nice and neat, then he went to fix some vegetables, and then he went and patted some little boy on the head and was politely talking with him. Had that been my son, it would have killed him. He was just passing the dust and oils from one thing to another and it will never come off until he washes his hands with soap and water.
You see, going out in public, eating, shaking someone's hand, kissing, hugging, like giving a child a loaded gun for my son. Trying to prevent exposure is our most important goal for many reasons. Preventing exposure will prevent an attack as well as give him the chance to possibly grow out of this horrid disease. Unfortunately the precentage of growing out of this allergy is low if any. As well as my son, exposure to children under the age of three that are not allergic has increased in todays times so much so that the allergy has doubled. Our food is limited so much from cross-contamination, possibility of, or contains the allergen itself that fruits and vegetables have always been a safe and healthy alternative. I am not asking for you to completely remove the items, although this would be nice, but contain them in a closed container and not one that is near other open foods. I know that I am not the only military family that has a child with this allergy and I know that the commissary is not the only store that does this. I will also be speaking with the manager of Wal-mart over this very same issue. I know of one parent that had written to her Wal-mart and they complied by moving the bin. This was not good enough so they totally did away with the open peanuts and only allowed those in bags. I am hoping to get the same results.
Below is some information that I thought would be interesting for you to know about the allergy. I apologize in advance for the length, but it is really hard to explain this in one paragraph.
[b][i]What is food allergy?[/b][/i]
The immune system mistakenly believes that a harmless substance, in this case a food item, is harmful. In its attempt to protect the body, it creates specific IgE antibodies to that food. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals and histamines in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.
[b][i]What is anaphylaxis and its symptoms? [/b][/i]
Anaphylaxis is sudden, sever, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction that can involve various areas of the body (such as the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular system). Symptoms occur within minutes to hours after contact with the allergy-causing substance, but in rare instances may occur up to four hours later. Anaphylactic reactions can be mild to life-threatening. The annual incidence of anaphylactic reactions is about 30 per 100,000 persons, and individuals with asthma, eczema, or hay fever are at greater relative risk of experiencing anaphylaxis. In the U.S., food-induced anaphylaxis is believed to cause about 30,000 trips to the emergency room and between 150 to 200 deaths each year. Individuals who are allergic to foods and have asthma are believed to be at a higher risk for developing an anaphylactic reaction. A recent study showed that adolescents, who have peanut and tree nut allergy and asthma and don't have quick access to epinephrine, EpiPen, during a reaction, are at highest risk for a fatal reaction.
An anaphylactic reaction may begin with a tingling sensation, itching, or metallic taste in the mouth. Other symptoms can include hives, a sensation of warmth, asthma symptoms, swelling of the mouth and throat area, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms may begin in as little as five to fifteen minutes to up to five hours after exposure to the allergen, but life-threatening reactions may progress over hours. Some individuals have a reaction, and the symptoms go away only to return two to three hours later. This is called bi-phasic reaction. Often the symptoms occur in the respiratory tract and take the individual by surprise.
[b][i]What types of reactions are there?[/b][/i]
Contact, Ingestion, and Inhalation of specific allergen.
[b][i]What is cross contamination in general? [/b][/i]
Cross-contamination occurs when a safe food comes in contact with a food allergen such as peanut, tree nuts, seafood or milk, For those with severe food allergies, eating even the slightest trace of an allergic food can cause a potentially life threatening or fatal reaction. Although not everyone with a food allergy is this sensitive, it's still important to be very careful and follow precautions. Example: Cereal that is made on the same machinery as a product that has the allergen in it. Peanuts stored next to another open product.
Thank you for your time and I hope that you can find or are willing to find a solution to this problem so that we may enjoy the benefits of your commissary.
Renee asthma/EnA
Quinton: PA/TNA/Soy/EnA/Severe Asthma/whole egg/onion/cocoa bean/chicken/turkey/string beans/potato
Mykiaja: EnA/asthma
Taylor: EnA/asthma

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 3:48am
jessica77's picture
Joined: 06/21/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for posting your letters. I have the same problem at a large grocery store chain where I live. I plan to send a letter as well, but was wondering who you addressed the letter to? Store manager/produce manager/etc? Thanks for motivating me to action!

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 5:02am
MQriley2's picture
Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

I looked up the store manager, but the store manager told me that he forwarded to the district manager and then the food inspector.

Posted on: Fri, 09/17/2004 - 2:42am
williamsmummy's picture
Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

My trip around the supermarket took place on wednesday, and my local store manager had instructions to report back to the MD of sainsburys.
I met the manager and he pushed the trolley for me as I took him around doing my weekly shop for my family ( 6) , sadly I didnt get around to bringing my children, but I told him that I had four, and sometimes took them shopping with me during the summer hols.
I went to every section and pointed out the areas that I couldnt buy anything from, the deli, the bakery etc.
Pointed out inconsistant labeling of one of their own products.( thank you Nick for pointing out that one!)
I explained at the begining the total list of williams food alleriges, and the normal family shopping needs that we have like everyone else.
He took plenty of notes, and seemed shocked when I explained that for some products I look for the address on the packet as well as the nut warning, as different factories can produce an identical product , one with a warning and one without.
I randomly picked up some ice cream cartons( food list hidden in over six different languages in very small print on a shiney tub!) and asked him to find the warning and he had to pause and fumble for his glasses!
At every single section , I spent time explaining what little choice I had, and the allergy alise that is of little use to those with IGE allergies.
That if I wanted to buy organic or go to a health food shop, that too was barred from us because of the warnings.
The manager promised to send a report, and I will wait a couple of weeks and them follow up a letter to the MD, to see if he has heard anything, and what useful infomation they have gained from me.
I have kept all corrospondance and will photo copy it and send it to the anaphylaxis camapign so that they have a record .
I am still waiting to hear from one supermarket, and if I can find the time will write again to the other supermarkets who have not had the decency to even read my letter properly in one case, and explain to another the pointless inch thick separate lists of egg and nut free foods.
I did enjoy myself , and only started the letters after a frustrating time shopping , but think it was well worth the effort.

Posted on: Mon, 09/20/2004 - 10:55am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Peg541:
[b]I recently wrote to the coprorate offices of Vons (Safeway) and today got a reply.
[b]Dear XXX
Thank you for yor recent correspondence regarding your son's peanut allergy and the availability of bulk peanuts at the Culver City Pavilions store.
Your letter has reached the Customer Service Center. Due to the serious issue involved we have forwarded your comments to our corporate Product Selection and Retail Operations Department for attention.
If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Center XXX XXX XXXX and refer to contact # XXX. One of our associates will be happy to assist you.
Thank you again, Mrs. XX, for writing and for bringing this to our attention.[/b]
I thought that was a pretty decent response. I also spoke directly to the produce manager yesterday and he told me he would be speaking to his superior and I should expect the bulk peanuts to be gone soon.
I guess it is a matter of one small step but I feel good someone is listening. We'll see if they act.
Today I was shopping at this same store and the bulk peanuts are gone. I found the manager and he told me they will not be coming back.
Very nice response, I can't wait to tell DS.

Posted on: Mon, 09/20/2004 - 3:40pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Bringing up to top.


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