Quaker

Posted on: Wed, 06/20/2001 - 2:42am
nopeanuts's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2001 - 09:00

I am a mom of an 18 month old just diagnosed with PA. This site is great and I am learning a lot already! It is very overwhelming right now, though, to see how much I don't know.

This may be posted elsewhere, but I wanted to say that I contacted Rice-a-Roni about whether peanuts are in their "natural flavorings." They said no, but there is the possibility of cross contamination with peanuts on ALL of their Quaker products and that they do not list this on the labels!

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 6:48am
TLSMOM's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2001 - 09:00

Hi and welcome.I remember how completely overwhelming it was for me when I first found out about my son's food allergies.At six months I found out about milk and soy. At 11 months, my sister gave my son a peanut butter cookie without my knowledge at christmas time. My son miraculously spit it out and promptly threw his guts out! He has since tested a 4 for both peanut and most tree nuts. I keep him away from all nuts. After my initial shock, it took a long time to get my family to understand the seriousness of my son's situation. Hang in there!! It does get BETTER! I know my son accepts it much more than I ever will. We concentrate on what he can eat and don't dwell on what he can't eat. At least right now at 4-1/2, the fact that he can only eat his own "snack" or "lunch" doesn't seem to bother him. Mostly what he shows is curiosity about certain foods like cheese,eggs and chocolate.Thank goodness it seems he has no interest in nuts or peanut butter. But I know that this probably won't always be the case! But I take it one day at a time, and cope the best I can and try to keep a positive outlook. This has helped my son and MYSELF! As far as Quaker is concerned,I have given my son Rice-a-Roni and he has never had a problem with it. But I know that you are most correct in checking with manufacturers and asking questions!! You will find that you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your child!

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 4:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

no peanuts, welcome! Although I had not wanted to post here anymore, I had come upon your thread because I was checking on a Quaker thread of my own that I placed on the board last night under Manufacturers.
Finding out about PA is overwhelming. The wonderful thing is that you have found this website. You will find answers to all of your questions, no matter how silly you may think they are. You will find caring, compassion, concern, encouragement, understanding and information.
You'll also find, and it doesn't matter if you're new to PA or simply new to this site, that this site itself can be overwhelming. You may have to step back and recognize what's important for you and your child. You'll get it all sorted, believe me.
After reading your post earlier tonight, I sent out a group e-mail to PA parents/people that I am in contact to see if they can help provide Quaker/Rice-A-Roni information to you that is U.S. specific.
I have always maintained that if 10 of us were to call a given manufacturer on a certain day and asked the same question of 10 different Customer Service Representatives, we may end up with 10 different answers to our questions.
I know that you're new in dealing with this and it can be very difficult dealing with manufacturers. What I do (and this doesn't mean everyone has to) is I contact the manufacturer by e-mail rather than by telephone. This way I have what I consider a written response to my inquiry and a name to go with that response.
If you look at the Manufacturers section of the board, I just posted last night about Quaker Sweet Crunch cereal and the e-mail I received from Quaker about the safety of this particular cereal for PA people. However, this information is Canadian specific.
If the information you did receive to-day is true, it is actually quite frightening. We have a Take Action part of the board where you could suggest that someone organize an e-mail writing campaign to Quaker U.S. to determine if they are, in fact, not labeling their products for the possibility of cross-contamination.
My concern for you especially, is that given the information from one customer service representative, you may be writing off a whole line (or lines) of food products for your child that you don't have to. I would want such a statement as was made to you, in writing, in the form of an e-mail.
Aside from asking other PA parents/people to help out with this, especially since you are new to the board, I am going to contact Quaker U.S. tomorrow (if my migraine has decided to leave) and see what response I get from them. I will post the response in this thread for you.
Also, I strongly urge you to visit [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] There, you click on their Food Allergies heading and it will give you a direct link to Quaker U.S. - that's how I contacted Quaker Canada the other night, through visiting the [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] website.
It's really important for ALL PA parents/people in the U.S. to know if they are putting their children or themselves at risk by eating Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco treat [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] ) or Quaker products.
If you do look at the response I received in response to my inquiry re one particular cereal, you will see that it is safe for my PA son to consume, with no risk of cross-contamination. But again, this is Canadian specific. We always use Quaker products. Also, after reading this very disturbing information, I checked a box of Rice-A-Roni and found that here, in Canada, it is VERY clearly labeled and I have no doubt that I do not have to question Quaker Canada further regarding their practices.
However, U.S. and Canadian companies often deal with their labeling of products differently when it comes to food allergies.
What is particularly upsetting about this is that most of the Canadian companies that are labeling properly are owned by American companies that are not labeling properly.
Actually, while I'm still up and going, I will go to the [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] site and see what I can pull off there.
I know this response itself will probably overwhelm you, and that was certainly not my intention. It's just that if you think about what you were told when inquiring about Rice-A-Roni, the implications are great, if this is, in fact, true.
Also, the other thing that I do do if I absolutely have to deal with a manufacturer on the telephone is that I get the Customer Service Representative's name, which I post here, and I also post the telephone number that I called.
If you would like to contact me off-the-board, please feel free because I am quite willing to organize an e-mail campaign for Quaker U.S. without involving too much posting on my part on this site.
I feel kinda bad, because I'd like to deal with you being new to PA and you being overwhelmed by it all and yet, in the same post, you kinda threw a bomb in there too!
It would have been good also, if the Quaker information had been posted separately so that people could have responded to your newness (is that a word?) with PA and your feelings and then the Quaker issue separately.
Let me go and check out the [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] site (have I linked that up well enough in this one post alone? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) and see what Quaker U.S. information I can pull off there.
I'm actually really hoping that you just caught a Customer Service Representative who was terribly ill informed. The financial repercussions alone for Quaker and Rice-a-Roni if this is true would be astounding.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 4:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Okay, here is the information that I just pulled off from the [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] website (I am sure Mr. Kinsley will not mind).
Company:
Quaker Oats Company (information last updated February, 2001).
Subsidiaries (If Any):
Food Allergy Safety Measures:
In Canada, allergy alerts are consistently placed on product packaging of all "at risk"
products.
In the USA, Quaker states that they comply with the FDA's recommendation that
potential food allergens be specified in the ingredient listing even if the product may
contain only trace amounts of the ingredient due to potential cross-contamination on the
food production line.
Contact Information:
In Canada, call 1-800-267-6287 for further information, or visit the Quaker Oats Canada
website by clicking on this link.
In the USA, call 1-800-494-7843 for further information, or click here to view a listing of
the contact numbers for specific product lines on the Quaker Oats international web site.
If you look at what is written about the Canadian Quaker Oats Company and then the U.S. Quaker Oats Company, it would appear that it is fairly clear that Quaker Canada is labeling properly. The wording of the Quaker U.S. information is not as straight forward and does leave some room for questioning, I think.
Again, please let me e-mail Quaker U.S. tomorrow and see if I can get a definitive answer from them.
I think that's the other thing that I needed to mention. Although it can tie the board up terribly, I like to post about a company's products individually - i.e., I find out how safe ONE product is at a time (usually the one we're about to consume) so that each and every product from that company is covered in some way on the board.
However, as I said, this can tie up the board. Once you move around a bit, you'll find that there are numerous threads re Chips Ahoy cookies, Oreo Cookies, and then their manufacturers Nabisco and Christie's. So, it can be kinda difficult to find exactly what you're looking for.
But with each company, it is really important to know what products are "safe" and what products aren't, and to have a company's whole product line deemed unsafe and not labeled properly is really really scary. That's why I'm back in here now posting because this would simply not leave my mind tonight.
I don't think any of the links that I transferred over from the [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] site will be clickable from here, but at least it gives some basic information from which we can start to figure out whether Quaker is "safe" or not.
Also, I wanted to say that in no way should you feel badly about posting what you did.
If it's true, you don't know how many people's lives you could have had a positive (and reaction free) effect on.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 4:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

no peanuts, sorry, just me again. I did go through the board as best I could, without doing a search for archived information re Quaker and only came up with two threads under Manufacturers.
I re-raised both of them to the top of the Manufacturers discussion board. In the one thread, you will see that apparently, Quaker is the next company on the list for the Take Action part of the board after the ConAgra campaign is over.
Having seen then, I then visited what I consider a terribly disorganized Take Action discussion board and found that ConAgra is still going strong and there is no mention of any action for Quaker. So, as I was never an organizer of one of the Take Action threads, I am not clear who would be doing this or when.
As I posted above, I would be quite willing to do a similar Take Action campaign, off the PA.com site.
Also, it was interesting to see that Cayley's Mom had pulled off the same information I had from the [url="http://www.nuconnexions.com"]www.nuconnexions.com[/url] site and posted it in one of the other Quaker threads as I just did above.
Hopefully, Wednesday, because I did re-raise those threads and they will be Daily Topics, as will this one, perhaps we can begin to get a more definitive answer or course of action to perhaps take.
Again, please, I would love to hear from you off-the-board. As I stated originally, had I not been in here checking on my own Quaker thread and seeing yours, I would NOT be posting here tonight as I have stopped posting except under Manufacturers and in the Smarties thread I run under Main Discussion well over a week ago.
It was just that your news was SO disturbing to me that I even considered posting again.
My original response to you, many many hours ago, I chose to delete. However, my mind would not settle and I realized that despite my not wanting to post here right now, I can't see a person new to PA, new to this site, and finding out such a thing being left there kinda alone. That's just not me.
Let's see what happens tomorrow and I will e-mail Quaker U.S. Again, I would love to hear from you off-the-board as it was/is my intention to do all of my work re PA off-the-board.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2001 - 9:54pm
Claire's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

nopeanuts, I recieved an email from someone that used to post here on this site,and got some valuable information for you regaurding the quaker products. I am wondering if you could email me and I could forward you this information. The reason being is so that when I type it out i will not miss anything she wrote to me. Please feel free to mail me. thank you claire

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 3:36am
BCUZILUVHIM's picture
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Joined: 03/17/2001 - 09:00

As I am posting this information, a representative of Quaker is reading this forum. She will also be reading the posts in the Manufactureres forum. I called Quaker this morning and got a very quick response. I spoke to Susan and she works in the Hot cereals department. Here are the hightlights of the conversation:
*Quaker understands and takes these allergies very seriously. They are not out to hide anything or to put anyone at risk.
*On rare occasions a line may be switched and information is available on this if you call the 800 # on the packages of the product.
*Flavorings and seasonings are obtained from various manufacturers and Quaker keeps a journal/allergen book on what items are in each companies "natural flavorings" etc. Quakers suggestion is to call on every item (the 800#) if you have questions or suspicions.
*Quaker contends that they do follow the FDA regulations.
*If a line is switched (rarely) it is not put on the package but the machinery has been thoroughly cleaned, again call 800# if any suspicions.
*Quaker was talking about being more proactive in highlighting allergens but now that the merger with Pepsi is going on this is probably going to be put on the back burner.
*I spoke to a representative in the hot cereals and she tells me that 2 of their oatmeals have nuts and these are produced at the end of the week then the machinery is cleaned and checked for residue. Plain and nut free hot cereal is made on this same line.
*Someone comes in every few months and speaks to the company about allergies. This person will be at their site in a couple of weeks. The representative suggested that she bring this site (PA.com) to his/her attention and they will address our concerns directly here on this site. I will follow up in a week or two to make sure this is followed through.
Eventhough I only spoke to someone in one department, she did seems very helpful and understanding. I truly hope that they do have someone post here so we can put some of our fears to rest. As I said, the rep went on this site while I was on the phone with her so I know they are reading our concerns.
Hope this helps. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 4:26am
nopeanuts's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for all your responses. I am sorry to have posted the Quaker info on the Introductory board. I see now that there is a manufacture board. I just wanted to give a little more information re: Quaker. They sent me a follow-up letter and here it is:
Thank you for contacting us about Rice-A-Roni Beef Flavor. We do our best to provide accurate information so that you can make informed choices about the products you purchase.
ACcording to the information available from our ingredient suppliers, peanuts and tree nuts are not part of the ingredients used to make this product. However, it's important we let you know that many of our suppliers use the same equipment to make a variety of ingredients. Products share production lines within our plants as well, so we can never be sure that there are not traces of peanuts and tree nuts within this product. Since product formulas are subject to change and ingredient infomration may be updated, we recommend that you continue to review the ingredient statments on the packages in case peanuts and tree nuts are added as an ingrdient in the future.
Annie Dolan
Consumer Response Representative
I hope this information is helpful!

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 4:27am
nopeanuts's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for all your responses. I am sorry to have posted the Quaker info on the Introductory board. I see now that there is a manufacture board. I just wanted to give a little more information re: Quaker. They sent me a follow-up letter and here it is:
Thank you for contacting us about Rice-A-Roni Beef Flavor. We do our best to provide accurate information so that you can make informed choices about the products you purchase.
ACcording to the information available from our ingredient suppliers, peanuts and tree nuts are not part of the ingredients used to make this product. However, it's important we let you know that many of our suppliers use the same equipment to make a variety of ingredients. Products share production lines within our plants as well, so we can never be sure that there are not traces of peanuts and tree nuts within this product. Since product formulas are subject to change and ingredient infomration may be updated, we recommend that you continue to review the ingredient statments on the packages in case peanuts and tree nuts are added as an ingrdient in the future.
Annie Dolan
Consumer Response Representative
I hope this information is helpful! I will email Alternative to Mainstream and Claire tonight (my son is waking up!)

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 5:13am
babyjakesmom's picture
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Joined: 04/23/2001 - 09:00

I had called Quaker specifically about the Old-Fashioned Oatmeal. I was told that the Old-Fashioned and 1-Minute Oats are run on the same lines, that these are the only 2 products continuously run on these lines, and that they are on a different floor than any peanut containing products. Since I am so new to this, my question is: If a company uses peanuts in other products but are handled in the manner I have just described, is it safe to use, for example, the Old-Fashioned Oatmeal, or should I be avoiding any product made in any facility that processes peanuts?

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2001 - 6:21am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

BECUZILUVHIM, wonderful work you did to-day re this. I really think you got a more definitive answer to the Quaker/Rice-a-Roni situation. Also, it was excellent that you were able to get the representative to check out this website while responding to you.
Claire, if you have important information to share from another member with no peanuts about Quaker, don't you think it may be important information to share with ALL members of the PA.com site as there are many more people involved in eating Quaker/Rice-a-Roni products than just the one person who posted?
If you are uncomfortable posting the information that was sent to you, I would be pleased to post whatever it is you did receive, on your behalf.
Do you know what I'm trying to say? If the person who contacted you has important information re Quaker, it's important to all of the people posting here, not just the person who originally raised the question.
I have an e-mail of yours to answer anyway, so I will ask you the same thing in my reply.
babyjakesmom, welcome! I saw your question in your thread under Manufacturers. This is a question that relates to your "comfort zone", which, if you're new to PA, you haven't really been able to figure out what that is yet. There is a percentage listed somewhere on this board indicating if a product is labeled "manufactured in a facility that has peanuts" showing the chances of that product actually containing trace peanuts.
You may actually have some difficulty in getting your question answered because it does involve different comfort zones, which differ greatly among all of us, but are equally respected.
I had posted several months ago about Christie's products in Canada, and I know the factory actually has peanut products in it.
However, there is a concrete barrier between the portion of the plant that contains peanuts and the portion of the plant that doesn't. Do I feel comfortable feeding my PA son Christie's products? Absolutely. Would someone else? Maybe not.
From what you have indicated, if the peanuts are on a different floor all together, I would feel comfortable purchasing those products. However, that is only ME and I can not speak on behalf of any other person except myself and how I choose to control my own son's PA. You will find people that will say that NO, they would not feel comfortable and they will be able to give you valid reasons as to why they don't.
I think you understand what I'm trying to say. I know that this probably hasn't been of much help to you at all.
I think in saying that I feel comfortable letting my PA son eat Christie's products (they do not have a "made in a facility" warning), I only feel comfortable because he has not had a reaction to-date to any of their products because of possible cross-contamination from beyond the concrete barrier.
Again, it would be great if you were able to find out the percentage to see if you feel comfortable with that. For example, if a product reads "may contain trace peanuts", there is a 18% chance that the product does, in fact, contain trace peanuts. So, it's almost a 1 in 5 chance that your child may consume a peanut product (or trace thereof).
Based on this knowledge, I feel, for myself and my son, that eating a "may contain" product is like playing Russian Roulette.
However, as with the "made in a facility" warning, there are many people posting here that do feel comfortable allowing their children to eat "may contain" products.
If you're new to PA, it's all really hard to decipher all at once. For me, my comfort zone is based on the severity of my son's allergy and how many reactions he has had and to what. I also recognize places where my comfort zone could be tightened up and actually greatly.
no peanuts, from the response you received re the one particular Rice-a-Roni product, I would say that they're simply reiterating that the product is "safe" at this point in time but you have to continue to read the label in case they do make a production change in the future. This is always the case with label reading and that's why you have to read labels of products that you've bought for years. But, there response would seem to indicate that the Rice-a-Roni product you questioned in particular is "safe".
However, there is no mention in their e-mail about Quaker products ALL being cross-contaminated and that makes me think again that it was one particular customer service person who gave you incorrect information. I don't think you need to apologize for posting it in the Introductions board - it was VERY important information to get posted and it doesn't matter where you posted it. The thing I was concerned about, for you, was that the Quaker information was a bomb striking, and it took away from the support and encouragement you should have been able to receive had you simply posted about yourself, your child, and the diagnosis of PA. Do you know what I mean? If you had posted separately about the Quaker situation, then this thread wouldn't be focusing on Quaker, it would be focusing on you and how you can deal with PA without feeling overwhelmed. That's important too. But, by no means should you EVER apologize for posting valuable information you received from a manufacturer about something as serious as possible cross-contamination of ALL products.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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