I asked for more information on the fact that Dryers Loaded Maxx Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Dough ice cream is labeled as "nut allergen free" on the website when it contains peanut oil and chocolate chips (a processed in same facility ingredient). This was their response which I don't fully understand, and I will not be buying their products again.
Dear Ms. Delikat,
Thank you for your email regarding your purchase of EDY'S Loaded Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. In an increasingly health-conscious society, it is my pleasure to respond to your question regarding our products.
We do not have dedicated machinery for nut allergen free products. Each claim is specific for each product on the ingredients listing. The designation of "nut allergen free" is used on our web site, not the packaging, and would include all nuts. We offer this information as a courtesy to our consumers.
Our manufacturing facilities comply with federal and state regulations regarding food safety and handling. While designated lines are not used for manufacturing products that contain allergens, such as nuts and wheat, we do employ specific procedures to prevent allergen materials from getting into non-allergen products. These procedures include monitoring packaging materials to assure the correctness of product type. All production equipment receives thorough cleaning, rinsing and sanitizing. Comprehensive inspections are performed on key production equipment after allergens have been run and the production lines are cleaned.
The statement "Manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts and nuts" is not required under FDA regulations. If a manufacturer states this on their package it is considered over-labeling by FDA requirements. Dreyer's and Edy's Grand Ice Cream make the choice not to over label.
Each finished product and each ingredient that goes into the finished product is reviewed to determine what precautionary labeling maybe needed on our finished product label. This review process is based upon our finished product production process and how our ingredient vendors process the ingredients that we procure from them. In that review process DGIC determines if precautionary statements are necessary, then determines what the appropriate communication that is needed on the label. I hope that this information is useful to you and I appreciate your taking the time to contact our company to share your concerns. Please watch your mail for coupons that may be used towards future purchases of EDY'S.
Denise Kadar Consumer Response Representative
Ref # N2162341
By gw_mom3 on Feb 5, 2009
They didn't even answer your question at all. I don't trust them and never have.
By berniepappas on Feb 5, 2009
Sounds like a nonchalant response to a serious issue.
By saknjmom on Feb 10, 2009
Highly processed oils like peanut oils are not considered under the food labeling laws. Additionally companies are not REQUIRED to label for cross contamination. Additionally, there are no fda guidelines for calling something peanut or allergen free. (there is an excellent article about this in FAAN's current newsletter. FAAN gives advice to never assume any of the Free Of claims and that you should consult the manufacturer for details of their facilities to determine if you feel a food is safe. Just because there isn't a cross contamination warning, that doesn't mean there isn't a chance.
By jenniferbfab on Feb 6, 2009
That's typical for them
By jenniferbfab on Feb 11, 2009
Thanks saknjmom for pointing out the lack of no guidelines for labeling "-free" foods when it comes to allergens. That's one of my soapbox issues.
Seems more often than not, "peanut-free" means "contains no peanuts as an ingredient" but does not address the cross-contamination issue. Just read those labels and ask all the questions you need to, to make your determination about whether a product will work for you. Hopefully, FDA will make some changes in this regard. It would help food allergic individuals, and manufacturers and retailers too. Everyone would benefit.
By boysmom on Feb 13, 2009
FDA is currently reviewing their food allergen labeling requirements (thank heavens, since they stink), so hopefully they will soon be requiring manufacturers to list for possible cross-contamination. Public comment on the current guidelines closed in January, so hopefully we will hear something soon about any changes. I've gotten responses like this from a number of manufacturers (most recently on Swiss Miss hot cocoa -- don't use it, possible contamination issues!). I love that they basically say "we're complying with FDA requirements, so we don't really care if it's contaminated". My comfort zone is pretty tight right now, so I've been steering clear of these manufacturers.
By gw_mom3 on Feb 15, 2009
IMO that could be good or bad. Like walmart labeling pretty much all of their brand products with may contain warnings when I am pretty sure all of it is not a risk (like the green beans with the peanut warning).