Kellogg’s Responds to Petition with Even More Dangerous Plan

Now – three weeks after quietly issuing a bombshell announcement –  Kellogg’s has finally issued an official response to the #NoPeanutFlour petition. Read it and it becomes evident that the company hastily threw together a plan in an effort to dampen the anger and concern that has is welling within the allergic community.

The response, as sent to SnackSafely.com by a Kellogg’s representative, reads as follows:

Dear Parents,

Several weeks ago, we let you know that we would be updating the allergen labels on some of our Keebler and Austin Sandwich Crackers to reflect an ingredient change we needed to make to the product.

On behalf of all of us at Kellogg, I want to thank you for your emails, Facebook messages and phone calls. Many of you who have children with food allergies told us that our sandwich crackers made without peanut products were some of the only products left that your family could purchase with confidence. As a mom myself, ensuring we make safe food for all families is something that is deeply important to me, and I am sorry that we disappointed you.

As we told you when we first announced the change, we’ve been exploring ways to make a sandwich cracker that parents of children with peanut allergies can buy. Today, I want to share with you that we will be making our Austin Grilled Cheese Sandwich Crackers without peanut products. They will be available in stores starting in September. We will also continue to work towards providing more options for your family in the future.

We look forward to sharing more details with you as we get closer to having this product on store shelves.

Your feedback has been valuable to us and we hope to continue our conversation. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-962-1413 or email us by clicking here.

Sincerely,

AnneMarie Suarez-Davis
Vice President, Marketing, U.S. Snacks
Kellogg Company

To understand what Kellogg’s is really saying, let’s parse this response point-by-point:

  • The company plays a circuitous game by claiming they must change the labeling “to reflect an ingredient change we needed to make to the product.”  But they give no details as to why they needed to change the product in the first place, responding as though they were somehow forced to substitute the cheapest and most allergenic alternative they could find.
  • Kellogg’s engages in classic misdirection by claiming the concern they’re hearing from the food allergy community is that these crackers are “the only products left that your family could purchase with confidence.But that isn’t the concern at all. We are concerned that the company is adding peanut flour to existing crackers that were already considered “safe” by many in the community, leading to the very real possibility that caregivers will miss the new ingredient addition and continue feeding them to children with peanut allergy as they have done for years. Kellogg’s plays dumb and knowingly sidesteps this issue entirely, but they couldn’t have missed it; it’s the crux of the petition, which now has over 21,000 signatures.
  • The company then engages in a clumsy, patronizing attempt to placate the community by promising to remove the peanut flour from the Austin Grilled Cheese Cracker variety in September after adding it now. But they make no claim that this purported solution – supposedly concocted to address the needs of those with peanut allergy – will be manufactured in a facility that is peanut-free. And what about that need they had to add peanut flour in the first place? Does it mysteriously abate in September? The Kellogg Company’s solution to making this issue go away is to add fuel to the fire by offering a cracker variety that will be “safe” after the company taints it with peanut flour and removes it months later.

    If peanut allergic children weren’t endangered enough by the original plan, the company is happy to play Russian roulette with them by reintroducing a variety that may or may not contain peanut flour depending on when you visit the market.

Kellogg’s response is entirely unacceptable and leaves the most important question unanswered: Is this a prelude to the company adding peanut flour across their vast product line?  We believe it is, the beginning of a much larger process that will see Kellogg’s “fortifying and enriching” other products with peanut flour in an effort to raise the protein and lower the content levels of their foods as cheaply as possible.

Here is our response to the Kellogg’s representative who forwarded us the letter:

Thanks for your message.

I read Kellogg’s response delivered by Ms Suarez-Davis via FARE. Kellogg’s plan does nothing to address my concerns and will only exacerbate the confusion within the food allergy community and the members of the non-allergic community charged with their care. Please be aware that since the letter was posted on FARE’s site, the rate of signatures garnered by the #NoPeanutFlour petition on Change.org has accelerated, indicating the community’s concerns remain as well.

I would prefer speaking with a senior Kellogg’s representative who has the authority to explain the thinking behind the peanut flour introduction, will disclose the company’s plans for the future introduction of the allergen across other product lines, and can address my immediate concerns about the present dangers to the community introduced by this action.

I will make myself available when and if Kellogg’s chooses to treat the community with the loyalty and respect it deserves, as John Bryant has outlined in his preface to the Kellogg’s Code of Ethics.

Thanks again for reaching out to me.

Sincerely,

Dave Bloom
CEO, SnackSafely.com

Once again, we call on John Bryant, President and CEO of Kellogg’s to address this issue in an honest and forthright manner to the satisfaction of the food allergy community. We will not rest until our concerns are addressed and will not be satisfied with half-answers and half-baked solutions in an effort to placate that community.

In the meantime, we ask our readers to continue to tweete-mail and voice (1-800-962-1413) your concerns to Kellogg’s, sign and distribute the petition, and share this message with family and friends using the buttons below. We also urge you to contact your local media and become the local champion to this cause!

Let’s convince Mr Bryant he cannot dismiss the allergic community, nor can he continue to run a company that is insensitive to the needs of a vulnerable and growing demographic.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m honestly frustrated reading your articles regarding Kellogg. I understand your complaints and concerns but Kellogg has done nothing wrong other than make products kids with food allergies could into foods they can’t. So what’s the solution? Don’t buy the products. You’re articles are based on assumptions of what Kellogg’s might be thinking and surmising why they made decisions. You think they wanted to cut costs? So what? If that’s the way they want to run their business, then that’s their problem. Just stop buying their products. The petitions and emails and FB messages are not going to make them change the products and they are complying by placing labels on the newly changed foods.

    This seems to be just a bunch of angry parents who depended on a snack food and is angry that they can no longer do so. Is it frustrating for parents with kids with allergies? Yes. Does that mean Kellogg’s needs to change their plans? Absolutely not. It’s time for people to just put their big boy and big girl pants on and find a different company that does do what you want. Or make your own company.

    • I am deeply disappointed by the decision to add peanut flour to the sandwich crackers. This move places many young children at risk of life threatening anaphylaxis. Adding peanuts to a product in which young vulnerable children cannot see the peanut is very dangerous. Even if parents educate their children, school, and their own food selections-there is still a possibility a child can be offered a cracker by a classmate. I am scared for my own young son with a product like this, where even teachers may not realize such a product has peanuts. They are officially losing my business, as well as my extended family’s business if peanut flour is added to the products. Shame on the company, for thinking of money rather than children’s safety. Peanut allergies are one of the most common life threatening allergies for children.

    • CB apparently has no clue that the change that is making parents angry is one that could result in an allergic child becoming seriously ill and possibly dying. Kellogg’s can do what they want in their manufacturing process but unless every parent and teacher is aware of this new change the corporation is putting children at risk. That’s irresponsible on the part of Kellogg’s. If you have not had the worry and fear that goes along with having a child that is severely allergic then you have no idea why this is a problem for millions of consumers.

    • You evidently don’t have to face the issues of every morning waking up any worrying about your child being blessed with another day of life. Life is a very precious thing to some of us! I was told I couldn’t have children. Then I had my boy. Only to find out when he was two mos old his life could be taken at any second! Could you imagine seeing a child accidently ingesting a food allergin, you stand there do what you can, then watch them suffocate to death?!? That is our reality!!!

      Peanuts are everywhere! When we find something safe he can eat it is the most wonderful feeling! There is no medical guarantee a person can survive anaphylaxis! Food allergies, peanut foremost, is growing more and more. We are not a “rare breed”!

      I am disappointed with their decision! As I am sure all you see as ‘mad’ are too. We cannot make them not change the product, but if we don’t let it be heard…then we won’t know if they would ever consider not changing their products.

      I say my prayers every day that they hear us and keep us safe!

  2. Until this allergy affects your family you will not understand how this affects your life. I have a daughter that has a peanut allergy I have read labels on food items for 29 years. I have watched with dismay the number of food items over the years that we can no longer use because they say peanuts or nut products. Try buying chocolates and read the labels and you will see what I mean!! Why use an item like peanut flour when there are other items that are safer and don’t require an epi-pen!!

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