Updated: Nov 9, 2019
I have been struggling to find foods that are both #peanutfree & processed in a peanut free facility. So I’ve created a website where you can see my lists for No Peanut foods, foods that are safe for those of us with a peanut allergy & Do Not Eat, a list of foods to avoid due to the risk of cross contamination from other foods with peanuts made in the same facility.
I began creating my lists by looking at the food brands I had in my own pantry. I had a unopened box of Back to Nature's Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers. I looked on the box of crackers, and on the Back to Nature website, to see if I could find out if the facility that the crackers are made in is peanut free. The Back to Nature website states that "any items that are labeled Peanut Free do not contain peanuts and are made in a peanut free facility" I visited my local Venice Whole Foods location and checked the Back to Nature products, and I could not find any with the "Peanut Free" label. I reached out to Back to Nature and they responded to my email saying that they needed a "UPC code and photos of the top, bottom, front and back of the package" to answer my question. They did not tell me which of their products, if any, are made in a peanut free facility. I replied to their email, sending them the requested photos of the box of Harvest Wheat Crackers, since this was the only product in my pantry and thus the only box of Back to Nature food that I could photograph. I asked them, 'are the Harvest Wheat Crackers processed in a facility with peanuts? Do you manufacture any products in a peanut free facility? If so what Back to Nature products are processed in a peanut free facility.' I was very disappointed with their response. Here is their response:
Thank you for taking the time to contact us at B&G Foods.
As per your inquiry, please know that the Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers are made in a facility that does produce products that may contain peanuts and tree nuts. To avoid cross contamination, we employ the use of Good Manufacturing Practices which require if any of the top 8 allergens (Dairy, Eggs, Fish, Shellfish, Tree nuts, Peanuts, Soy or Wheat) is run on a line, the line must be cleaned and evaluated prior to running a product that does not contain the allergen. Since ingredients and facilities may change from time to time, always check the label on a specific product for current ingredient and allergen information.
Thank you again for reaching out and for being a loyal consumer.
Alex Corporate Consumer Affairs B&G Foods, Inc.
The email let's me know that those crackers are not safe for me to eat, and are made in a facility with peanuts. But, they still did not answer if they manufacture any foods in a peanut free facility. It is disappointing that they could not just tell me weather or not any of their products are produced in a peanut free facility. Back to Nature foods are on my Do Not Eat-Peanuts in Facility list because they failed to answer my question.
What I am finding, as I reach out to more and more companies, is that many larger brands do not understand the seriousness of food allergies, or choice to ignore it. They need to leave the choice of risking eating something processed in a facility with peanuts to up to the consumer. They need to always state any cross contamination risk on the package with a 'may contain' list. Informing me that the risk cross contact is low, as Back to Nature and many other brands have, is condescending, and incredibly unhelpful. I do not want even the smallest possibility of going into anaphylactic shock by cross contact. Until the FDA changes the food labeling law when it comes to allergens I choose to not consuming anything where there is any chance, however remote, of any cross contact with peanuts.
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