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 Post subject: El Peto tapioca starch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
short version of this message: for the next little while people who are corn, potato, or soy allergic should be careful with El Peto tapioca starch
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Had a very stressful day allergy wise! Stopped off at the Specialty Food Shop at the Hospital for Sick Children (I love that store---and I ask one nutrition question each time I go :) )

I consider whatever I buy from that store to be "safe" and I guess I trust the companies which produce products that are sold there. I often buy El Peto products----tapioca starch is a staple for me. I also buy their white rice flour.

Got home....was going to bake with the tapioca starch....poured it into a bowl. The colour was slightly different. I took a little taste (okay, that was really stupid) and spit it out immediately. It wasn't tapioca starch :shock: ....the telltale sign: had sugar in it. After taking a closer look I could see the sugar granules.

I was kind of panicking (okay, maybe more than kind of). I don't actually think I had a reaction....but they do sell mixes with soy. I did experience some chesttightness...could have very well been stress! With soy I've always gotten an itchy/tingly mouth/throat immediately...and this didn't happen. I spent a lot of time on the phone---called the Specialty food shop, El Peto, the Food Inspection Agency.

I was very impressed with the person with whom I spoke at the Food Inspection Agency. (Some of you may remember that I wasn't so impressed with the person from the CFIA with whom I was corresponding this summer....maybe it is better to call rather than to email them)

The product manager at El Peto thinks that it might have been the corn free muffin mix...a product with soy flour would be more yellow he said. I hope so because the muffin mix is free of major allergens (although some people like me are allergic to potato starch...but I'm not majorly allergic)

All this is kind of upsetting because it isn't like there is anywhere else I can turn to for tapioca starch....I rely on El Peto!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
It looked different so you tasted it!? That does not sound like something you would do Lisa :wink: .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Oh Lisa, that's too bad! How scary for you! I have to hope that this is an isolated event. Human error can occur, and the allergic community can suffer - it sounds like this was likely the case for you today. I'm glad to hear you were okay. We must be able to buy products in the store to prepare our foods. For example, even though I make our own bread, I must still buy the flour, the yeast, etc. etc. I have to have some faith in our food supply. I know from all your posts that you are not the type to buy prepared food, so you are definitely very careful. Whenever a mishap occurs, we can always learn from it, and we won't repeat it. Thanks for sharing this.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
saskmommyof2--well, I wasn't thinking all that clearly. What was uppermost in my mind at the time wasn't...I wonder if I might react, but...darn! it's rice flour (rice flour is a slightly different shade of white than tapioca starch and has a different consistency). I tasted it so I could affirm that it *was* rice flour before taking it back to the Specialty Food Shop. It was a bit of a shock when I found out that it wasn't...

Thanks for the support, Julie. Initially I didn't think I would want to buy El Peto products again.....and I wonder about possible cross-contamination with soy. But you're right, we have to trust companies to a certain extent. And if I can't have tapioca starch that will limit my baking options! I went ahead and opened my other box of tapioca starch (which actually was tapioca starch). I'm impressed by the way that the company is handling it----when I called they passed me on to the owner who was quite concerned. She actually believed me....and reflected that maybe they should change their packaging because all of the boxes look identical and have identical pictures on the front. Then she wanted me to talk to the production manager so he would be fully informed (that conversation didn't go as smoothly, however). My mom--who buys El Peto products for one of my sisters--called me yesterday--she had gotten a call from El Peto. Apparently, El Peto had called the health store (in the niagara area) to get a list of phone numbers of customers who order their products. They wanted my mom to check which lot of tapioca starch she had in her cupboards and explained the potential problem. So they are taking this very seriously! I feel confident based on this that this won't happen again and that they understand allergies. I could perhaps call to ask about the possibility of cross contamination with their soy products....but I don't know if I'm going to worry about it as the last time I had a small amount of soy the reaction wasn't so severe. (egg or nuts would be more of a concern)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Hi Lisa,

I have just recieved this.

Quote:
ALLERGY ALERT - UNDECLARED SOY IN EL PETO PRODUCTS BRAND TAPIOCA STARCH AND FLOUR

OTTAWA, March 23, 2006 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and El Peto Products Ltd. are warning people with allergies to soy protein not to consume El Peto Products brand Tapioca Starch and Flour described below. The affected products contain soy protein which is not declared on the label.

The following El Peto brand products are affected by this alert:

Product
Size
UPC
Lot Code

Tapioca Starch
Gluten Free Wheat Free
500 g
7 72573 29064 4
6053 20
07 02 30

Tapioca Flour (Starch)
Gluten Free Naturally
900 g
7 72573 29164 1
6053 20
07 02 30

Tapioca Flour (Starch)
Gluten Free Naturally
2.5 kg
7 72573 29264 8
6053 20
07 02 30

These products have been distributed in Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

There has been one reported illness associated with the consumption of these products.

Consumption of these products may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to soy.

The manufacturer, El Peto Products Ltd., Cambridge, Ontario, is voluntarily recalling the affected products from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

[/quote]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
thanks for posting this. I haven't gotten the official recall yet through anaphylaxis canada---but the Canadian food inspection agency called me this morning. They acted on this very quickly! It was probably easy to figure out--it was so obviously *not* tapioca starch.

turns out that the "tapioca starch" was gluten-free muffin mix which contains soya flour + powdered soy milk! I'm now wondering if I actually did have a reaction. I am very allergic to soy. When I was a kid, my throat would get itchy as soon as I took 1 mouthful of soy milk or something contianing soy protein + I would start vomiting (projectile vomiting sometimes). Several years ago, I accidentally had some pepperoni containing soy protein--my throat started tingling right away and I had my mom pick the ingredient list out of the garbage. I felt nauseous after I found out that it was soy, but I'm not sure if the nausea was because of stress due to the reaction or whether it was because of soy. I took Benadryl and had my mom drive me to the hospital in case the reaction progressed---we sat in the parking lot for awhile and when nothing happened we returned home

I was probably fortunate that the taste I took was very small and that I spit the muffin mix out. Still, I probably did injest a very small amount. I had some chest tightness for a period of time---not so much that I was gasping for breath or anything...but breathing was definitely a bit more difficult. At the time I thought it could have been stress---but who knows. I know this isn't sounding good--I had better discuss with my allergist when exactly I should be taking the epipen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I did talk to El Peto about the possibility of x-contamination. Apparently, they package the soy flour containing mixes in the same area as the other flours. The person I spoke to advised me that I should perhaps find another supplier of tapioca starch if I have a severe soy allergy. I am concerned---flour has a tendency to fly everywhere.

I did a bit of research and found out that Ener-G makes tapioca starch. They do run tree nuts on the line but they seem to have a strict allergy policy in place:

http://www.ener-g.com/news/

I'm not sure which way to go. On the one hand, tree nuts are much more of a concern to me than soy....but on the other...soy is also something that could potentially require an epipen and I'm not convinced that the El Peto tapioca starch is safe. What do people think? If you were me, would you buy El Peto products or Ener-G? (not buying tapioca starch is not an option.)

Even if I don't buy El Peto tapioca starch, I will probably continue to use their sorghum flour...until I find another supplier. (any ideas welcome!)


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