Philly Cream Cheese, Pecans: Food Allergens
First and foremost, I want to assure you that as part of Kraft's ongoing commitment to its consumers and food safety, we take the issue of food allergens very seriously. This extends throughout our manufacturing process, from procurement of ingredients to production and labeling of our products, and includes the establishment of clear procedures to control and communicate the presence of potential life-threatening allergens in our products.
I welcome the opportunity to explain our allergen labeling policy so that you will consider Kraft products with confidence in the future. When labeling products we always identify the major allergens as outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (milk; eggs; fish; crustacean shellfish; tree nuts; peanuts; wheat; and soybeans), and we are in full compliance with FALCPA labeling requirements. Kraft also labels for additional allergens or substances of interest including celery, mustard, lupin, mollusks, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppyseeds, cottonseed, all sources of gluten and sulfites in levels over 10 ppm. We have added consumer-friendly language to complex ingredient names on our labels to help consumers, especially children, easily identify the key ingredients that could cause major allergic reactions.
We know that some people may be very sensitive to even minor traces of an allergen and understand concern about potential carryover between products that are manufactured on shared equipment. If the presence of one of these allergens, like peanuts, may be unavoidable despite all the precautions we take, we label the product as follows:
"ALLERGY INFORMATION: MANUFACTURED ON EQUIPMENT THAT PROCESSES PEANUTS."
Our labeling informs consumers clearly about the potential carryover and the exact allergen that may be present. However, we believe that this type of "may contain" labeling should be used judiciously -- only when an allergen could be present despite all precautions to prevent it. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises that "may contain" labeling should not be used in place of good manufacturing practices that include cleaning of equipment.
In addition to providing allergen information on our labels, Kraft continues to work towards improving the clarity of that information. To that end, we are in the process of developing plans to enhance allergen labeling on a global basis. This may take the form of a "contains" statement (e.g., "contains wheat and milk") or bolding allergens within the ingredient statement, depending on available label space and government requirements in the country in which the product will be sold. During the course of the next year, we will be focused on this effort, which will include introducing new products to the marketplace bearing the enhanced allergen labeling and adding the enhanced allergen labeling to existing product labels on an ongoing basis.
As always, we encourage consumers to carefully read the product labels and ingredient facts panels, consult the kraftfoods.com website and/or contact Consumer Relations with any questions related to allergens. To assist with your personal dietary needs, we suggest you contact a physician, registered dietitian or allergist.
To locate a registered dietitian in your area, please contact the Consumer Nutrition Hot Line at: The American Dietetic Association (ADA).
Another organization that you may want to contact for more information on food allergies is:
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network 10400 Eaton Place, Suite 107 Fairfax, VA 22030-2208 800-929-4040 FAX 703-691-2713
Associate Director, Consumer Relations
Upshot: I finally got the direct answers to my questions from Kraft via Twitter and the answer was: "Those two particular items are made in the same manufacturing facility, but are produced on different production lines. No products with nuts are made on the Whipped line. And we have strict measures in place at our manufacturing facilities to ensure that there is no cross-contamination when we produce products with allergens."