found something that looks like a nut in my Rice Dream tonight

Posted on: Fri, 11/03/2000 - 7:00pm
Mary H's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2000 - 09:00

It is almost 4 in the morning and I can't sleep because five hours ago I found something that looks very much like a piece of almond in my carton of Rice Dream Vanilla frozen dessert. I'm allergic to tree nuts, and my son is PA (as well as allergic to eggs and dairy).

I had read on this site that people were concerned with Rice Dream frozen desserts because of the possible contamination, but after contacting the company I was sufficiently reassured by their response to keep buying it and feeding it to myself and my son. (They said the line was gov't inspected and that they have had no reports of contamination.)

So what do I do now? Do I contact Imagine Foods? Or do I contact the Canadian food inspection agency (I live in Canada)? Or do I contact the appropriate American agency since the product is made in the States? Or all of the above? I am concerned that if I just contact Imagine Foods, they might pooh-pooh the problem. And I am very angry and want definite action.

Advice please!

As a coincidence, I had just spoke to my son's allergist a few days ago, and he agreed that the product seemed quite safe (although of course he couldn't give any guarantee).

Posted on: Sat, 11/04/2000 - 2:25am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I hope you saved the piece that you found, first of all, in case you need to save it to show anyone. I have been so unimpressed with Imagine Foods, yet I continue to buy their products because I don't know of any other appropriate substitutes. Did you know that about a year ago (I think) they had a problem with undeclared peanut in one of their almond flavored frozen rice dream desserts? The thing that upset me so very much about the incident, was that they chose NOT to fund the mailing alert for FAN. I had quite a lengthly e-mail and phone tag session with a woman at Imagine Foods by the name of Mary Swift. I quite passionately explained that their company is largely supported by the food allergic community, and that it felt like a slap in the face for them not to fund the alert. She kept telling me that they are glad that people with food allergies buy their products, but that they are in the business of sellling natural foods products, not as selling food allergy products. This really burned me up!!! You may want to contact FAN with your information, too, but I think that you will need to get it verified somehow. Please keep us informed as to how your situation progresses. I am so glad that nobody from your family had a reaction to the product. Good luck! Miriam

Posted on: Fri, 11/10/2000 - 7:01am
DM2's picture
DM2
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Joined: 04/24/2000 - 09:00

Hi Mary H.
I recently contacted Imagine foods in regards to their Frozen Desserts, The response: I would not recommend the frozen desserts if your child has food sensitivities to: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy.
There is a small chance of cross-
contamination. Unlike the Rice Dream and Soy Dream Beverages and our Imagine Natural pudding Snacks, The Frozen Dessert Pints and Quarts are made in afacility where dairy and nuts are processed. Although the equipment is cleaned and sterilized with the utmost care, {and to FDA specifications}, I cannot guarantee that there would be no possibility of contamination from dairy of peanuts/tree nuts. There is a lengthy explanation but I think that is all we really need to know. I do not feed it to my son. I have purchased the Banana flavored pudding for him. He wasn't crazy about it. I hope this answered your question. My son is also allergic to dairy, eggs,sesame seeds, tree nuts,peanuts.
It sure is tricky finding treats for him. I think the best thing is homemade. Take care. Bonnie

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2000 - 12:55pm
Mary H's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2000 - 09:00

I contacted Imagine Foods in June asking if their frozen product could contain trace amounts of nuts or peanuts. I received a reply that was very reassuring. I have included the reply below, but the short version is that they follow strict FDA and USDA standards and that they haven't had a report of nut contamination in 15 years! Obviously, I was naive to believe them!!!
It is only after I emailed them to say that I found an almond in the vanilla flavour that I received an email that warned of peanut contamination (kind of confusing since I was talking about nuts). Anyway, had I received such information from the company in the first place, I would never have continued to buy their products.
Here is what Imagine Foods first said if anyone is interested.
"The process by which we manufacture all of our products is unsurpassed in the
natural foods industry. Rice Dream Frozen Desserts are made in a fully modern,
state of the art production facility that adheres strictly to FDA and USDA
quality assurance guidelines and cleaning procedures. This includes the meticulous process of thorough cleansing and sanitizing of all our equipment before and after each Rice Dream production run.
"We are very aware of the severe allergies that both children and adults can have
to nuts and nut products. When we manufacture our Frozen Desserts, we produce
the flavors that contain nuts at the very end of our production run. This means
that no nuts or nut products are introduced into our processing system before or during the production of flavors without nuts. We have one flavor that contains peanuts, and this flavor is always produced last. Therefore, none of our flavors are exposed to peanuts with the exception of the peanut flavor itself. After the Peanut Butter Supreme has been run, the thorough cleaning and sanitizing process begins.
"... In 15 years of producing Rice Dream Frozen Desserts, there has not been a case of nut contamination in any of our non-nut flavors."
Mary

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