Is Kellogg’s Putting the Allergic at Risk to Avoid the Costs of the FSMA?

By now, you’ve likely heard that Kellogg’s is adding peanut flour to eight Keebler and Austin cracker varieties that previously bore no peanut warnings. The company’s plan, reckless and irresponsible as it is, puts many with peanut allergies at risk who will unknowingly ingest or come in contact with a snack they’ve assumed was safe for years.

The questions we’ve been asking – “Why?” and “Why now?” – have been ignored by the Kellogg Company, who will only answer that they “needed” to make the change and that “it was a hard decision.” We assumed this cost-saving move was implemented to raise the nutritional value of the products in as cheaply a manner as possible, but a more likely explanation has come to light that not only explains the “Why?” but also the “Why now?”.

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The Back Story

In January 2011, the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed to address a number of issues and improve the safety of our nation’s food supply. Last September, the final component of the FSMA was approved called Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food, which we’ll refer to as cGMP. Large companies have until this coming September to implement cGMP directives.

CGMP raises the prevention of allergen cross-contact to the same level of importance as prevention of other food-borne dangers. Though this is a promising change for the food allergy community, companies may incur some extra cost to document and implement all of the cGMP directives in order to remain in compliance with the new directives once the September deadline arrives.

The Why and Why Now

So why does Kellogg’s need to add peanut flour to their cracker line – and by doing so endanger people with peanut allergies – and why now? We surmise they are doing this to circumvent these new FSMA directives which were intended to prevent allergic reactions, not cause them.

Kellogg’s evidently processes peanuts in the same facility as these crackers are manufactured, though they do not disclose this fact with voluntary advisory warnings on the label. By adding a small amount of peanut flour to their cracker varieties and listing peanuts in the ingredient list, the company stands to save the cost of having to comply with the FSMA provisions.

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The Result

We surmise the Kellogg Company – in a move to save costs – “needed” to make this manufacturing change now in order to maintain their profit margin once the FSMA requirements go into effect. If so, it is likely the company may be planning to announce similar changes to many other products in order to avoid the costs of complying with the cGMP directives.

The implication is that peanut flour and other allergenic ingredients may be added to many other products depending upon the mix of allergens processed at each manufacturing facility, posing a hazard to individuals with a variety of food allergies.

What You Can Do

Tell Kellogg’s their actions are unacceptable by signing and distributing the Change.org petition that has already garnered over 23,000 signatures. Become the local champion to this cause by contacting your local TV and radio stations, newspapers, and websites. Tweet, e-mail and voice (1-800-962-1413) your concerns to Kellogg’s.

Get involved now before the entire food production landscape changes!

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15 COMMENTS

  1. As I have directed my thoughts to them directly I will once again repeat myself by saying it’s Stupid on there part! I can buy there products to keep on a higher shelf from my poor allergic granddaughter give her different snacks , But I will no longer buy any product that is or has any part of there manufacturing

  2. As a school nurse, I am shocked at this decision. I am suggesting a full boycott of all Kellogg’s products. Their decision is motivated by corporate greed; let’s hit them where it hurts the most, their bottom line.
    #boycottkelloggs

    • Couple the fact that peanut flour being added to Kelloggs products and the fact that EpiPen’s went up in price 600% to pay that corporate salary of $16 million dollars, or peanut allergic children are now at major major risk
      I am a School nurse of 30 years now retired

  3. Carole
    I am done with Kellogg !!!!!! How could they put the children and infact anyone who has peanut allergies
    to such a risk ? I will pass the Kellogg products in the store and suggest to others to do the same as often as possible.

  4. I’m done with Kellogg !!!!!!How could they risk the lives of children or for that matter anyone who has found their products safe before and to take such a stupid move knowing of such a danger it is to so many. I will pass by the Kellogg products and tell others of their ridiculous change of Kellogg Products

  5. Well that’s sure one way to solve any cross contamination issues! Contaminate the product in the initiall blend! So what about the human beings who may be sickened or even die from eating the finished product. Money is the bottom line and ultimately has the largest influence in decision making. Good-bye Kellogs products!!

  6. Hi, Thanks so much for sharing this information. I am so disgusted and disappointed with Kelloggs.

    Have you thought about organizing a boycott on Kellogg’s products? Seems profits are their top priority, so let’s hit ’em where it hurts.

    Also, could you explain a little more about what you think their rationale is? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just update their labels to say “main contain traces of peanuts” than to actually add peanut flour? I know that would still eliminate the crackers as options for people w/ peanut allergies, but it would have been better than actually adding peanuts.

  7. Only a relatively small percentage of people suffer from allergies – genuine allergies! Most people will have no problem with the new composition of the product. Companies are in the business of making a profit, not to pander to people’s illnesses and allergies and every whim of what people claim or believe they can’t tolerate. For Kellogg’s the segment of allergic customers just isn’t worth the extra cost to comply with new regulations. That is fair. It’s a business decision.

    Most allergies go away if a person introduces the food they are allergic to in very small doses, increased over time to give their body a chance to learn to digest it. True allergies are most common in children. Kellogg’s isn’t a food that should be fed to children in any circumstance. Most of these crackers have no food value. So why eat them anyway?

    Rather than petition and fight against these supposedly “big bad companies” it would be better to read the labels and choose foods that actually have a nutritional value fit for humans and especially children.

    Stop whining and start eating with a bit of intelligence.

    • Wow. Your comments are not based in fact at all. It’s unfortunate that others share your disdain for those with food allergies. An inconvenience or annoyance to you could cost my son his life. I am vigilant about reading labels and understanding what is in the food that I feed my son, however, when a previously known safe food becomes potentially lethal to him and many others with allergies, it is not inconvenient for us, it’s truly life threatening. Good for you if you or a loved one is not burdened with being food allergic.

  8. I am an older adult, having had food allergies all my life. Allergies are on the INCREASE, not decrease, and I question your resources . I react to even a minute amount of eggs or shellfish-anywhere from extreme diarrhea and vomiting for hours on end to anaphylaxis. Using your logic, the times I have been exposed to my allergens means by now I should be allergen free. I do nor regularly eat processed foods , however, on the rare occasion I eat out, there is the real danger of cross contamination. Most servers are unaware of what is in the food and even some chefs are clueless. Witness eating at an Applebees at a lake area an ordering a cheese quesadilla. Nowhere was chipotle mayo listed on the menu but I discovered it while eating. The manager stated he didn’t believe mayo had eggs and then went to check while I started my Benadryl. He came back stating it was “just egg whites” . Now Regula, I am sure you will turn the deed back on me for going to Applebees. You are truly clueless. The point is that some companies are not listing these incidental allergens and sometimes that is all it takes. Please educate yourself with true facts instead of assuming allergic people are just head cases.

  9. So these are products already processed in a facility that processes peanuts? In that case, they weren’t really safe in the first place.

  10. As someone who has multiple allergies, but not nuts, I have NO sympathy. My children have been trained since toddlers to only eat food that “remembers where it came from. ” commercial crackers never fit that basic standard. So many better choices exist.

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