Friday, July 10, 2009

Latest Food Allergies Blog Carnival plus a Wilton Update

Check out the latest food allergy blog carnival at Go Dairy Free. It has lots of great entries from food allergy bloggers about all types of topics, from recipes to the social aspects of living with food allergies. Also featured is my post Food Allergies and Restaurant Anxiety.

And now, onto another topic. I recently posted about Wilton (the cake decorating/supplies company) and how I was going to ask them to create a "nut-free" line of products such as icings, cake decor, etc. I sent them a very nice, positive e-mail stating that I'm a Wilton user and fan, but that they are basically missing an untapped market by offering so many products with nut allergy (and other food allergy) warnings. I asked if they could provide dedicated, allergy-safe products to their growing audience and promised them customer loyalty if they did so. Right?? We would all be thrilled.

I heard back from a nutritionist at Wilton today--unfortunately, they did not address this question. I received a rather defensive statement outlining their allergy labeling practices and how they go "above and beyond what the FDA requires." OK, that's wonderful, but my question about offering dedicated allergy-free products went unanswered. I wrote another e-mail and will hopefully be forwarded to Products and Marketing. If not, I'll contact them again.

Interestingly, they said they do thorough cleaning, keep certain lines separate, etc. But according to this nutritionist, Wilton will put a nut allergy warning on a food even if there is a "slim to none chance it became exposed to peanuts or tree nuts." I don't know what this means. Did one of the plant workers eat a Reese's in the last 6 weeks? Or are peanuts being processed near other foods that don't contain nuts, making it possible one could get mixed up into those otherwise "nut-free" foods? Their explanation still leaves me unclear on that one.

But in any case, that's irrelevant. I asked them if they'd consider creating dedicated, nut-free products--they answered a completely different question, not the one I asked. I have to say, they have been the most "circular" and confusing in their responses, more so than any other company I've contacted. And I've asked questions of a lot of food companies by now--believe me. They also gave me a wishy-washy answer about vanilla extract a few months ago. Ask them a straightforward question--you get an answer filled with mixed messages.

Too bad--I hope some company has the foresight to create dedicated allergy-free cake/cookie decorating products. Something tells me that it won't be Wilton.


Linda Coss said...

Unfortunately, the corporate run-around really doesn't surprise me. Keep trying! We'd all love to see safe products from this company.

Unknown said...

Thank you very much for your work.
I am a grandmother of six years of celiac child, the problem with food companies is large.
You should not have a mandatory labeling law?
sonia gluten free