We've been buying Barbara's cereals on and off for a few years now. Today I picked up a box and noted the dreaded "May Contain" warning. When I called, I was told that there were no dedicated lines, and that there never were, but in 30 years they have never had a cross-contamination issue. The customer service woman was very sympathetic as she has anaphylaxed herself, but I'm still ripping mad.
On Aug 30, 2001
I found a box of "Barbara's Brown Rice Crisps" and my box did not have any kind of warning label. After reading your post, I was concerned that my box was an "old" box that might not have new warning labeling on it.
So, I e-mailed Barbara's cereal. I even specifically said that someone else had seen a box of Barbara's cereal (unsure which) that had the warning. The e-mail reply was that "All Barbara's products are run on dedicated lines. In factories where there is a risk of cross contaimination from nuts, dairy, etc. the box contains the appropriate warning."
Being still leary from what you had said, I called them. The lady was very nice and told me that they were paranoid about cross contaimination at her company because many of the folks who work there also have family with nut, soy, dairy, and gluten allergies. She said that several facilities produce the rice crisps cereal and depending on which facility, then there may or may not be the warning. If the facility has any allergens that might produce cross contaimination, then the warning label goes on the box. If there's no risk of cross contaimination, then there's no warning label.
I asked about my box maybe being "old". She said that they have had this warning labeling in place for a long time and the shelf life of their cereal isn't long since they do not put perservatives in, so my box would be free of all nuts, etc.
We got talking about grocery stores and I mentioned Whole Foods. She said not to complicate matters, but at stores such as Whole Foods, I would need to check the box each time I bought the cereal. She said that sometimes a grocer such as Whole Foods will get a shipment from a facility that would not have the warning label and other times, they will get a shipment for the same cereal from a different Barbara's facility that would have the warning label. It all goes down to which facility produced the cereal.
So, I hope this long explaination helps. Oh. When I called, I also was told that the cereals were on dedicated lines so at least that confirmed the e-mail response from them. I guess it's always good to check and double check. Warmly, Julie.
On Aug 30, 2001
We stopped buying Barbara's products 3 yrs ago when we found out about our son's PA. I am still not sure about them since Going Nuts was told there are no dedicated lines and Julieb was told there are dedicated lines. Why are we always getting mixed responses from these companies? One would think that the more "health conscious"/ "health food" type products and stores would become more allergy aware!