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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Just a brief update (sort of).... I emailed Nestle about 2 weeks ago. I sent them a polite letter with the concerns I have discussed (wider dissemination of their follow up letter RE the recall and the peanut/nut free wording issue). Their automatic reply stated I would receive an answer in 3 business days. I'm still waiting...

It would be nice to get some kind of acknowledgement, even if it's just a form letter. Anyway, if they do reply, I'll let you know.

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16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
No reply as of yet. This time I emailed Corporate Affairs directly and requested a response. I'll keep you posted.

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16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Ok here is the update so far. I received a response for the Manager of Corporate Affairs at Nestle Canada, but she really didn't answer my questions. To recap, here is my initial email (or rather, the one I sent again after I never heard back from them):

I sent this email on May 31 through your online contact form and have not yet received a response, even though I requested one. Therefore, I am sending it again.

------

I read Nestle's response to the voluntary recall of Coffee Crisp snack size bars in Anaphylaxis Canada's 2006 spring/summer newsletter (see below). Firstly, I would like to ask if Nestle plans to issue a press release, as I did not see anything about it in the Media Centre. If not, I would like to know the reasons why there has not been wider dissemination of the update. Secondly, as Nestle is a company that manufactures peanut and nut free chocolate bars for the allergic consumer, I would like to point out that peanuts and nuts are two different things (a peanut is a legume and the others are tree nuts). When you state that your facility is "nut-free", it does not imply that it is also peanut-free. While the difference may seem negligible to some, it is quite an important distinction for those who are allergic to both tree nuts and peanuts. In addition, it also shows Nestle's lack of awareness on allergies, as you are not using the proper terminology. Those who live with allergies know how crucial wording, lists of ingredients and allergy warnings are... and therefore place much emphasis on written information that is clear and accurate. If you want to gain (or regain) the trust of the consumers who purchase your peanut/nut-free products, you need to be aware of this difference and demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about allergies. I would appreciate a response to this letter. Regards, ---

NESTLE RESPONDS TO RECALL NOTICE

"Following the one consumer complaint that resulted in a recall of a single batch of COFFEE CRISP SNACK SIZE BARS, we have conducted a thorough investigation. We conducted extensive testing on product made before, during and after the production of this batch and found no traces of any peanut protein in any of these tests.

At the same time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has also conducted their own investigation and again, no traces of peanut protein were found in any of their follow-up tests. Similarly, the CFIA toured our nut-free production facility, reviewed our processes and found no issues of concern.

Since this one consumer complaint on a production run of over 600,000 bars, we have not received any other complaints and therefore consider this an isolated incident. At Nestle Canada we are confident in the rigorous processes we have in place to support our peanut-free promise for our snack size bars while this product is within our control."


NESTLE'S RESPONSE:

Hello ---:
First of all our apologies for not replying sooner but I do not appear to have a first note from you. In terms of the recall of one batch of Coffee Crisp Snack Size Bars, I assure you that country-wide communication was executed. When a product is recalled, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sends out a press release to all media. There was much coverage in a large number of radio, television and print media. Similarly we worked very closely with Anaphlaxis Canada and the Allergy and Asthma Information Association to ensure their members received the notification. As well we did (and still do) have the press release posted on our website www.nestle.ca in the Media Centre.

In terms of the differences between nut and peanut allergies I assure you that we are very clear on this and our communication to consumers is clearly that we manufacture these snack size bars in a peanut-free facility. We certainly do not allow nuts of any type into our facility but due to the fact that there is no available test for all nut protein on the finished product, we do not claim to be nut-free, only peanut-free.

Our quality assurance practices are of the highest level in the industry. I'd be happy to share more details if you would like and please feel free to contact Anaphlaxis Canada as well as they are very clear on our policies and practices and are well aware of our commitment to consumers with allergies.

Thank you for your comments.

Catherine O'Brien
Manager, Corporate Affairs
Nestlé Canada Inc.


MY RESPONSE:

Dear Ms O'Brien,

Thank you for the response. Unfortunately, it did not answer my questions. My email referred not to the initial press release for the recall but to the FOLLOW-UP statement you made with Anaphylaxis Canada. I will repost it:

NESTLE RESPONDS TO RECALL NOTICE

"Following the one consumer complaint that resulted in a recall of a single batch of COFFEE CRISP SNACK SIZE BARS, we have conducted a thorough investigation. We conducted extensive testing on product made before, during and after the production of this batch and found no traces of any peanut protein in any of these tests.

At the same time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has also conducted their own investigation and again, no traces of peanut protein were found in any of their follow-up tests. Similarly, the CFIA toured our nut-free production facility, reviewed our processes and found no issues of concern.

Since this one consumer complaint on a production run of over 600,000 bars, we have not received any other complaints and therefore consider this an isolated incident. At Nestle Canada we are confident in the rigorous processes we have in place to support our peanut-free promise for our snack size bars while this product is within our control."


It is this particular FOLLOW-UP statement that I am inquiring about. Why was the follow up statement not disseminated at the same level as your initial press release? Many people in the allergic community wanted information on the follow up to the recall. As far as I know, this statement only appeared in Anaphylaxis Canada's 2006 spring/summer newsletter. There has been no press release and it is not on your website. I would like to know the reasons for this.

Also, you did not address my concern about the "nut-free production facility" on this particular statement. Again, I refer to the statement above, which erroneously states "nut-free" facility. You say in your response that your facility is only peanut free (not nut free) and that you clearly communicate this to your consumers. However, you can see from the statement above that this is not clear. The statement should have read "peanut free", which brings me back to my point about improper terminology and how it reflects on Nestle's allergy awareness. I hope you can understand that in the allergic community, there is a very real difference between tree nuts and peanuts. The term "nut free production facility" in Nestle's statement above is therefore misleading and inaccurate because it is, as you say, only peanut free. I wanted to point this out so you could be aware of it in future communications. My goal is not to criticize but to provide constructive feedback.

I would appreciate a response to this email.

Kind regards,
---

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Awesome advocacy work :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Nestle and Air Canada are being taken by "storm"!!!! :lol:

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15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
:lol: Thanks Helen and Nicole. I find it strange how some of the replies people are getting from these giant corporations are actually not replies to the question asked. They really should take the time to read the message properly. It's frustrating because we keep having to write back and insist on an answer.

I've had to do this with Nestle, Duncan Hines, Air Canada... *sigh* Sometimes I wonder if they're just too busy and don't really read the message or they just don't really understand the issue of allergies.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I noticed this when I wrote a letter to US Air as a part of a campaign started on another site... everyone who wrote about peanut allergy got the same form letter. I wrote again, and I think I got a form letter again...but a different one. But the letters did have an impact and they changed the policy. I was impressed that someone from USAir called me to tell me of the policy change. (Although perhaps we had a better chance of changing the policy because USAir previously did not sell peanuts....but when they merged with another company, they adopted the pro peanut policy of that company. So USAir didn't change their policy per se--they just went back to the previous one. I would bet that some folks at USAir were never happy with the decision to sell peanuts...I don't know, but that is my hunch after speaking to a company representative who called me to tell me of the policy change.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Well, I wouldn't mind so much getting a form letter... as long as it actually responds to the questions asked. Too many times the "form letter" doesn't even address any of the issues I brought up. It's almost like they can't be bothered to read the letters in their entirety.

By the way, Corporate Affairs still hasn't responded to my follow-up letter. I'll wait a few more days and then re-send it.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
The US Air letter didn't address specific concerns either....it was so obviously a form letter. It was annoying...at the time I was frustrated and thought that the letter writing exercise was a waste of time....so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that while they may or may not have read all the letters all that closely, they did take into account our concerns in the end. good luck with getting Nestle's attention.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Thanks, Helen. :D

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Here's the reply to my latest email. I finally got a concrete answer although I think Nestle still considers peanuts as tree nuts. However, it is encouraging to see that my comments have been taken into consideration.

Hello XXXX:
My apologies for the delay in replying but I have been having e-mail troubles and am now catching up. Thank you for your comments and the reason for the info from Anaphylaxis Canada's newsletter not being on our website is purely because AC had specifically asked for more info which is why we provided it directly to them. We will certainly take your comments into consideration for the future.

In terms of the reference to nut-free facility it should have said peanut-free for this type of message. As I explained, the facility is nut-free in that we do not allow nuts of any sort in the factory either through our ingredients or by employees but we only guarantee our products to be peanut-free due to the testing challenges.

I do appreciate your comments in the spirit they are intended and thank you for taking the time to write to us. We continue to work closely with both Anaphylaxis Canada and the Allergy and Asthma Information Centre to ensure our communication is appropriate for the allergic community.

Thank you
Catherine

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
My guess is that they didn't really want to draw attention to the whole peanut-contaminated coffee crisp issue on their website....especially since they didn't find out the source of contamination.


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