I’LL KEEP this one short(ish) and not very sweet. You’ve no doubt heard of Alpro, one of the leading purveyors of soya stuff, from milk to yoghurts, cream and custard. For kids battling dairy allergy their calcium enriched products are a staple part of their daily diet. In fact, Alpro is on the list of brands recommended to dairy allergic kids by specialist dieticians and allergists.
As of 2014, Alpro has decided to integrate the production of its nut and soya factories, and slap a “may contain traces of nuts” warning on ALL of its soya products.
Three in every 100 children is diagnosed with a milk allergy; three in 100 children is severely allergic to nuts. Most children diagnosed with allergy have multiple foods they cannot eat. So there are a great many children out there who are life-threateningly allergic to both dairy and nuts.
This move by Alpro is robbing them of a key foodstuff – one of the few valuable sources of both calcium and protein that they can eat in sufficient quantities to avoid malnutrition.
Alpro is also an easy and affordable product to source, meaning that schools and nurseries can buy it to prepare allergy friendly lunches for the children in their care. As of 2014, no more. Allergic kids who frankly don’t get to eat out very often – because very few places will cater for them – will no longer be able to have their “treat” of a frothy soya milk in Starbucks, Pret etc either, because these outlets also use Alpro.
This is Alpro’s response to the wave of complaints they have had in recent days:
Thank you for your recent email. We appreciate what a serious issue this is and that parents need to be able to make fully informed decisions, when purchasing Alpro’s plant based products.
Due to growing demand we’re planning to start producing almond and hazelnut products at our sites in Belgium and the UK from the end of 2014. Although this change in production will only be implemented at the end of 2014, we have already started to change our packaging in anticipation of this. This is to make sure that all of our consumers are aware of the change before it happens.
All possible measures will be put in place to avoid any cross-contamination between nut and soya products (this includes maintaining separate flows for handling raw materials and manufacturing, as well as thorough cleaning procedures).
Our Alpro for professional range (produced for caterers/professional food services) will also be produced in the same factory so will carry the same warning.
Once again, we can only reassure you, we are doing everything possible to minimise any potential cross contamination. Please do not hesitate to email or call our customer care team on the number below should you need our assistance in the future.
Now, the thing is, this response is baloney. Either there are proper cross contamination controls – rigorous cleaning and segregation processes that are checked and verified by an independent lab – to ensure no nut trace warnings are needed… or there are not.
Do they not realise that “keeping parents fully informed” in this way is simply informing them not to buy the product? If you have a child with a severe nut allergy and are told there ‘may be traces’ you will not take the risk.
So a few of us have got together to campaign against the move. Either they abandon integration of the nut and soya factories or they introduce proper, rigorous measures to avoid cross contamination – just like companies such as Dietary Specials and Kinnerton do.
Please find our Facebook campaign page here https://www.facebook.com/alprosos?ref=hl and ‘like’ and share it to your heart’s content.
If you have a second to cut and paste the open letter on there and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org you would be doing us a huge favour.
You can also tweet your displeasure to @Alpro_UK using the hashtag #AlproSOS, and post your rude comments on Alpro’s own Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AlproUK
Too many companies are slapping “may contain nuts” warnings on their foods rather than bringing in proper cleaning processes to ensure no cross contamination. We’ve got to start shouting about it somewhere, and Alpro’s decision seems a good place to start. Thanking you extremely much! (PS for more blog posts on this keep tabs on Dairy Free Baby & Me and nutmums.com.)
That wasn’t that short, was it?