Near East Rice Pilaf

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2001 - 11:48pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My 2 year old daughter had about a tablespoonful of Near East Spanish Rice Pilaf. Instantly 2 hives appeared. I know they also make a rice pilaf w/ almonds. Has anyone else had this experience. I've just e-mailed them requesting a breakdown of "spices" and "natural flavors".
She usually eats only foods I prepare from scratch. This is our first time we have dealt w/ a contaminated product. Although it was only a few hives, I feel sick over this.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2001 - 1:05am
jamieb's picture
Joined: 05/01/2001 - 09:00

Please post what they say re: the spices and natural flavors ingredients. I buy Near East often but have not given it to my PA son.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2001 - 2:34am
margaret's picture
Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

A copy of an email that I received from Near East in December of 2000:
"Thank you for contacting us about NEAR EAST Rice Pilaf.
The most common food allergens are peanuts, nuts, shellfish, fish, egg,
wheat, milk, and soy. Our ingredient listings include any ingredients made
from these foods if we are aware of their presence at the time the packaging
information is developed. However, it is important we let you know a
variety of products share production lines within our plants and our
ingredient suppliers' plants. This makes it extremely difficult for us to
guarantee that our product is completely free of any particular allergen.
We've taken great care to provide the most accurate information available on
the package's ingredient listing, but we are not able to make any specific
recommendations to you.
We thank you for your interest in our products and hope this information is

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2001 - 9:47am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I just sat down to after dinner and I saw this posting. What amazes me is that I am deathly allergic to peanuts and just ate some near east pasta. The thought of what you just wrote has scared me, only because I just had near east. Thanks for your insight.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2001 - 10:55am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thank you for posting that letter from Near East. You got a better response than I did.
A rep immediately called me back instead of e-mailing a reply.
He asked me a dozen questions before he would give me a response to my questions. (e.g. Did you have to administer the epi-pen? Was a doctor notified? What else did she eat, drink?)He was obviously noting everything down. I'm sure they get questioned about this alot since his questions were so precise.
He then said ran down a list of every spice I have ever heard of and said they "may" be in there ingredients. He also said he was unable to give me what "natural flavors" consists of. Put me on hold for 5 minutes and said they don't have that information but they can tell me it doesn't include peanut or nuts.
He said it definitly could NOT be contaminated from their machinery from the almond rice pilaf. I asked again, specifically, "Are you telling me they are not run on the same machine?
He said they are run on the same machine but if there was any chance of "may contain traces" they would note that on the box. I let him know that being run on the same machine DOES MEAN "MAY CONTAIN"
He said someone would be contacting me via mail. I expect to be getting that same form letter as above.
Their response leads me to believe they've had this happen in the past and they're possibly afraid of a lawsuit. Now if they can just be afraid enough to list "may contain nuts" I would be much happier.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2001 - 12:02pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I crossed Near East off my list a while ago. A friend with a child who is peanut and tree nut allergic had called them and asked them similar questions. The rep told her that anyone with a severe allergy should avoid their products, since they are all run on the same equipment.
This was about a year ago. Perhaps they have instituted a new "allergen program" or have changed their manufacturing practices. However, I don't think they have from the sound of the information they gave you.
When we went to Mt. Sinai in June, Dr. Sampson mentioned that we should be very careful about the "smaller manufacturers." I am interested to see if they give you any further information.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2001 - 12:27pm
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I hate to be contrary, and not defending this particular company, but I disagree that running food on the same machinery automatically means that it "may contain." If the company is sanitizing equipment between runs and if they are adhering to good manufacturing standards then I would buy their products. It is the lazy companies that slap "may contain" on everything. This limits our choices about what to eat and "may contain" ends up meaning nothing. If we insist on "may contain" warnings on everything made on shared equipment I think we'll all end up eating Vermont Nut Free chocolates for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh well, I have to admit that sounds pretty good!
Anyway, the point I'm (trying) to make is if we will only eat things made on dedicated non-nut lines, our diet will be severely limited. I don't know of any major manufacturers who can guarantee nut-free dedicated lines.

Posted on: Thu, 09/13/2001 - 5:17am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I don't know what other people think constitutes a "may contain" labeling. But to me using the same machinery is it.
How am I supposed to guess at who sanitizes there machines well? I think it's up to the manufacturer to note "may contain" on their labels. And then it's up to me as the consumer (neurotic or not) to decide if I'm am comfortable w/ my daughter eating those items. My daughter's diet is "severely limited" but I wouldn't have it any other way. She's the only 2 year old I know who will pick raw broccoli over a cookie.
Since her (very minor)reaction seems to be caused by this contaminated machinery, I feel even more strongly about it.
Even if it was cleaned well, we all know how the skin of a peanut can easily get caught up in your tooth it could just as easily get caught in the machines. And it wouldn't mean they were careless.
I don't believe it's careless companies who write "may contain" on their labels. I feel it's a company who is telling me the truth. And I will make the decision for my family based on my comfort level. No matter how
much this limits our choices.
A limited diet I can live w/, not having my daughter around, I can't!

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