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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:37 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Nova Scotia
This may be helpful to some.

Regarding No-Name and Pres Choice products, I call them almost every week to check out products because my son's daycare uses a lot of No-Name products.

The company's labelling practices are inconsistent, this is because they use different manufacturers for their various products, and the manufacturer of each product decides what to use for labelling. Many of us in allergy-world only buy products from manufacturers we know to have good labelling policies. But No-Name will not say who the manufacturer is for any of their products; this would generally make No-Name a No-No for us. Basically, when you deal with No-Name, you don't know who you are dealing with in terms of manufacturing.

Having said that, I have found calling No-Name directly to be very helpful to me in deciding what we can eat. When you call them looking for info on specific allergens, they can look it up on their computer and tell you a) if the allergen is in the facility and b) if the allergen is on the same production line. You must provide the phone rep with the barcode from the product.

This info is also up to the manufacturer to provide, so in some cases they may not have it in their database. In some cases they are able to find more info and call you back, approx 1-2 weeks though. I would say about 90% of the time I've called, the info is available immediately.

Initially I thought calling all the time would be too much. But I have found it to be really helpful, and it only takes 3 minutes. Some examples of calls I've made which have really helped me to make decisions:

Many times when I've called, I have been told my allergen is not anywhere in the manufacturing facility. This is a very reassuring thing to hear from a real person!

One time I called about a product and the phone rep told me there are peanuts manufactured in the same facility "but if the manufacturer felt it was an issue, they would have included it on the label". Thanks but no thanks. The manufacturer could be Joe Blow, so as much as I would like to think they would take all precautions, I don't "know" for sure, and I need to know.

Yesterday I called about No-Name fruit cocktail. The info was not readily available. They are going to call me back. The product is manufactured on another continent. I have decided not to use it. I don't know what allergen-related practices take place in other continents.

Hope someone may find this helpful.

_________________
6-yr old son: anaphylactic to peanuts; asthma
1-yr old daughter: No known allergies


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Here's another thread about President's Choice labelling: http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/vie ... php?t=1073


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:37 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Nova Scotia
Thanks, I thought I had read something before but when I tried to search today I only searched No-Name, not Pres Choice. duh

_________________
6-yr old son: anaphylactic to peanuts; asthma
1-yr old daughter: No known allergies


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 Post subject: Presidents Choice
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:54 pm
Posts: 10
Location: ONTARIO CANADA
I have actually stopped purchasing Presidents Choice or Loblaws brands. I had sent an email asking in general if they mark allergen warnings on their products, or how they mark them. I was told to call the 1800 number between certain hours of the day for a reply. I was not impressed. The web site specifically states if you have any questions to email them and a rep will reply. Unfortunately my day is rather full and it is extrememly difficult to find the time to call them and wait on hold for answers. I mentioned this to them, and was advised they could not give ime any nformation via email, as they needed the specific UPC codes to do so. I advised I did not have a specific code to give them as I just wanted to know their policy on how their products are marked. I don't buy anything unless I know for sure it's peanut free, otherwise why even have it in the house. It was suggested I go to the grocery store, or the next time I was there to jot down all the upc codes I would be interested in and then call them. I let them know that as their customer it was inconvenient to do this, especially when you have a 2-1/2 year old who is not interested in being there in the first place. Needeless to say I ended up having to tell them, not to worry anymore, if they as a company were unable to provide the policy to me via email, or a list of their products that didn't contain peanuts, I would just remove them from my grocery list, as this was alot more convenient than jotting down their product upc codes for them. Manufacturers such as Dare post all their products that are peanut/nut free online, and they don't seem to have any problem letting their customer know their company policies.

_________________
SON 3-1/2 W/PEANUT ALLERGY


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
I actually just had a positive experience with President's Choice/No name. I had called to ask about pastas that may be safe for our family. At first she told me that she needed a specific UPC code in order to help me, but after I explained that I wanted to know which of their dried pastas would be safe for someone with severe egg allergy, she took the time to search through the info given by several of their manufacturers and was able to give me a list of pastas that are either made in a facility without eggs or on a dedicated line. I was really pleased with all of the time she took with me, and how detailed the information she gave me was.
On other occasions calling about various PC products I have received similar customer service.
Of course, I do agree that it would be far better for them to have consistent labelling, and that Dare does a great job of labelling and posting info online(one of our fav. allergy friendly companies).

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:44 am 
i often call PC for their products. i have never had a problem with them - they are very helpful and knowledgable - it isn't often that the words 'casein' and 'gluten' are heard, and they all seem quite familiar with both.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
My impression of the 'no name' brand is that you need to call each time . . . because different batch numbers can be made in different facilities.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
That's my understanding as well from what one of my support group members found out. You basically have to call every time to check a product.

PC/No Name doesn't manufacture the foods themselves - the products are manufactured by other companies and then put under the PC or No Name label. So that is why they don't have a list of foods and their ingredients - because the product supplier can change.

I have to admit, we don't buy a lot of their stuff, but I've always found the customer service to be very good. I just call from the grocery store now (from my cell), but I am lucky in that I don't have to take my kids shopping with me. In fact, I refuse to take my kids shopping with me any more!! If I had a toddler in tow, I would be less than thrilled at having to call.

It's intereresting - I had to pick up cookies for supper the other night (we had a visitor) and I was so thrilled to be able to look at the Dare and Mr. Christie options and actually find two new safe cookies (Mr. Christie Ginger Cookies and Dare Oatmeal Cookies). So I agree - it's much less stressful to be able to just read the label and know that the company has a labelling policy in place that you can trust, rather than having to call to check.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Yes, you do have to call and check each new UPC code, even on the same product. I'm about to call again this morning. I couldn't find any of the pastas bearing the UPC codes that she confirmed as egg-safe when I was shopping this weekend. And was it ever a zoo in that store!!! Bumper to bumper shopping cart traffic!

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
I just had a really eye-opening conversation with Isabelle (she identified herself as a microbiologist during our conversation) at President's Choice. She was very knowledgeable and confident in her answers to my questions about their labelling practices. She corrected me when I implied that they do not have consistent labelling practices with regards to "may contains". She said that all President's Choice and No Name products do consistently label for "may contains" where there is a concern of cross-contamination. She said that they take cross-contam. very seriously.
-- In questioning her I gave her an example of a No-name corn syrup I called about the other day -- no warning on the label but when I called I was told that tree nuts were on the same line and that peanuts were present in the plant. She said that that is because there are controls in place to eliminate the concerns of cross-contam. (for example, the corn syrup might be run at the start of the day prior to products with tree nuts and after a thorough cleaning of equipment).
-- She said that if adequate controls were not in place, they would have put a "may contain" warning on the label.
-- She stated that it's important to read the labels each time, that if a product contains a top allergen, it won't have a "may contain" because it will appear in the ingredients list. She was very good at constantly reminding me to "read the label each time". She said that if the product does not contain your allergen(s) or have a "may contain" statement on their product for your allergen(s) (top allergens) -- "it is absolutely safe for eating".
-- She confirmed for me that if a UPC code changes, that means that either the formulation or their manufacturer for that particular product has changed -- BUT -- their labelling will consistently reflect a change in ingredients and any concerns for cross-contam.
-- She said that the service they provide whereby they tell consumers if an allergen is 1. present on the same line or 2. present in the facility, is for consumers information only. She said that they provide this service because everyone's comfort level is different and they want their consumers to have access to this information if they so desire BUT -- any food without labelling indicating the presence of any of the top allergens in the ingredients or with warnings of cross-contam. are absolutely safe for the food allergic.
______________________________________________________________

While I know everyone's comfort level is different, it's really nice to know that in the event that you still want to but can't make that call (say week-ends or after hours) that they stand behind their labelling and that they are monitoring concerns of cross-contam. It's a lot different from my previous understanding of their policies. I'd suggest others call and see what info. they're given. Afterwards I thought about asking her about the "controls" for cross-contam. -- it would be good to explore this further with them to see what they consider "adequate controls". Next time... :wink:


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