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The mystery of Annie’s Naturals ketchup

Submitted by on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 No Comment

I regularly recheck labels on products, even if we’ve been buying them for years, because you never know when ingredients or manufacturing processes are going to change.

It had never occurred to me to check the Web site as well. I know now, though.

One lesson came courtesy of The Nut Free Mom’s blog post on discrepancies she’s noticed between ice-cream cartons and manufacturers’ Web sites. The other came when I was poking around Annie’s Naturals Web site and happened to notice that, online, the ketchup carries a peanut warning. As of last month, though, there is no warning on the bottle labels.

Annie’s ketchup is a staple in our house. It’s expensive, but it’s the only brand I’ve found without garlic. Before I discovered Annie’s, I’d tried making ketchup for garlic-allergic Big Guy, but the results ranged from inedible to pretty bad.

I emailed the company to find out which was correct, the label or the Web site. The Web site, the company said. But with a big caveat.

The company said its food-safety programs are audited regularly and that handling of the Big Eight allergens – wheat, soy, egg, peanut, shellfish, fish, milk and tree nuts – follows strict protocol that includes washing equipment after one of those allergens is processed.

So, even though the ketchup is processed on charged equipment, I feel comfortable continuing to use it. It doesn’t meet my gold standard – an allergen-free plant – but at least I know they wash equipment between runs.

I’ve been fooled before, though – just weeks after Van’s assured me that it took similar care to prevent cross-contamination, it had a recall for allergen-contaminated products.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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