I was shocked last week when my PA son was over at grandma's house and she gave him some little Ritz crackers out of a box that have the cheese in the middle. I said I had better check the labeling and she said, " Oh...I have and he always eats these when he's over here". So, he ate like 10 of them and as we were talking I decided to look at the label and the last ingredient listed was just "peanuts". We almost died!!! My son did not have a reaction and now I am getting angry wondering if these companies are just listing "peanuts" as an ingredient to stay safe and cover their butts if they don't use dedicated lines!!! She said that she has never seen that ingredient before. I noticed peanuts listed on Golden Grahams snack bars now as well and both of my PA kids use to eat those up too. Now we can't even eat cheese crackers? What's next, air?
[This message has been edited by Julie (edited February 11, 2000).]
On Feb 11, 2000
Golden Graham sent an advisory to FAN a few months ago. They added a peanut butter flavor graham cracker to the lineup, apparently not on a dedicated line. The ritz bits have an identical tiny size cracker with PEANUT BUTTER in the center. I was concerned about this and it was on a post on this website. One of the responses was big size ritz ok, but the tiny sandwiches and mini crackers not ok. Shared production lines for the little ones. Not sure which board it was on, maybe the food manufacturers....?
On Feb 11, 2000
Found post. Do search on "ritz", there is some info from Feb 29, 1999 in the food manufacturers (safe and unsafe) board.
On Feb 12, 2000
I had a similar experience several years ago. I arrived at my mother-in-law's house (she was babysitting) and my son was eating the peanut butter variety of these crackers! As you can imagine, I almost died. It was shortly after his first reaction but strangely enough, he did not react. Perhaps there is some unique way that they process these or maybe there isn't real peanut butter in them. My son has reacted one time since so I have always been mystified by that incident! Maybe someone was watching over him! Nonetheless, we haven't touched them since.
On Feb 12, 2000
You know, even if the reason is shared production lines, I still don't think that constitutes them listing an ingredient as peanuts. Does it? I would rather it said, "may contain traces of peanuts". Then, I would understand that it was probably made on a non-dedicated line along with the peanut butter ones. But, for me, to list peanuts as an ingredient on a food item like cheese crackers when in fact peanuts may not have been added as an ingredient is wrong.
On Feb 14, 2000
As it is now, it is up to the manufacturer to decide how to label, some put peanuts as the last ingredient if on shared lines, some put "may contain" some put NOTHING AT ALL! Some put "may contain" only to cover same line and are not labeling with this if there is a chance of cross contamination for other reasons! This is of great concern as we would think that they would be a company that is careful!
For now you really have to know your stuff to stay safe! You need to know what to ask, who to ask, you have to call back many times to see if you get the same answers (often we don't). You have to call often as manufacturers change ingredients and manufacturing processes often. There is a lot to this. This is why we need to have laws that address this so it will be uniformed and we will know what we are getting! If you have not yet become involved to help us get the laws changed contact me! We have been working on a petition with others and we also have a U.S. government agency helping also!
------------------ Stay Safe,
On Feb 14, 2000
I actually called Nabisco today, The woman I talked to was very helpful. She told me that any product manufactured on a peanut line will list peanuts as an ingredient( even though she assured me the line are very carefully cleaned). On the flip side we can feel very safe with all other products knowing there is no contamination!!!!
On Feb 14, 2000
Chris, yes I would like to help you in this if possible. Let me know what you would need from me. I think of anything with this peanut allergy problem is the questions I raise with labeling to be the most difficult. My kids are very aware of their allergy and are very good about watching over themselves, but when this issue of "what do they mean by this?" is on even mine mind, I can imagine how confusing it will become for them. Glad to hear this info from Nabisco. I just e-mailed them about the Ritz crackers and will wait for a response and let you know what I get. My son is now at the point where he only eats snacks from family, which, when you think about it, should be how every kid is when they are young. I still get people who kindly give us bags of wrapped chocolate candy and then look at our kids and say, "Don't worry, we checked everything and there are no peanuts or peanut butter" and the bag is filled with chocolate candies wrapped up with red foil and no ingredients listed!! Happy Valentines Day to everyone and hope that you are receiving safe candy!!
On Feb 17, 2000
This is in response to the recent post regarding Nabisco about ritz crackers. I called them recently and was told that none of their products are run on dedicated lines every time (only sometimes, and they can't say when unless you ask about specific products at specific times), that they clean thoroughly between foods. If they think there is a risk (I suppose from lines that aren't routinely cleaned between foods) they will state it on the label. We have just stuck with their plain Graham Crackers, plain Ritz and Saltines so far, and I still call with each new package. If anyone knows about other safe crackers, I would like to give my kids some variety! Also, we use Gerber Graduates crackers. They are made by Keebler, but in a nut free facility, or so I've been told by Gerber.
On Feb 18, 2000
Isn't that interesting that we both got totally different replies. I was assured if it didnt say "Peanuts" on the label it was a clean , dedicated line. Very Discouraging.
On Feb 18, 2000
Well, since all three of us have called Nabisco in at least the last 3 weeks, we should compare notes. Quite honestly, it really doesn't sound all that different. From what I understand from my phone call and from the other calls is that: Products are not on dedicated lines. I will just assume that for all products by Nabisco. Second, if a product shares a line with other peanut products, it sounds like they are adding "peanuts" or "May contain peanuts" on the ingredient list of non-peanut products. (Of which I voiced a complaint to them in regards to this because it deceives the consumer. I would rather it said "made on peanut lines" or something. I think it throws off people who think there was actually peanuts added to the product) Third, it sounds like they want everyone to be assured that when they do this, they make sure to clean the equipment thoroughly. From that point, everyone can make their own personal decisions if they want to eat Nabisco products or not. Personally, I will avoid those that state "peanuts or may contain" on the listing but will probably still eat those that don't list these warnings. I know it could have the slight potential of contamination, but if it didn't list those at the end of ingredients, I feel fairly safe. I am curious as to how others feel about this? What are your thoughts? I also want to make it clear that I really don't agree with their procedures which is why it is so imperative that we keep them on their toes and ban together to make some laws as Chris had stated earlier. It probably will take the president of one of these companies to have a child with peanut allergies to realize how serious this issue is.
[This message has been edited by Julie (edited February 18, 2000).]
On Feb 18, 2000
I feel like you do...we can only be so diligent in our calls to manufacturers, then you just have to make a decision on how far you're willing to go with this. If it doesn't like peanuts or may contain on the label and you call the manufacturer and they say that the products are made on dedicated lines or lines that are thoroughly cleaned between runs...then I personally feel you have to trust them. Otherwise, our children's choices will be almost nothing. Until manufacturers decide to run products in peanut-free factories (of which a small number do), then we have to make very difficult choices. My curiousity is this...have any of you ever had a reaction or heard of a reaction from eating a product that was not labeled correctly? Does this actually happen? I'm not referring to products that are labeled may contain (we obviously can't risk those).
Please respond...if you have any examples
On Feb 19, 2000
Please see post under media where a graduate student died after eating a "rice bowl" product. Cause of death is pressumed anaphylaxis to peanut. This product was not labelled as containing peanut, but the company makes several other "rice bowl" products that do contain peanuts.