Monday, January 17, 2011

Food Allergy Product Recalls – How to Get Them

by Kelley Lindberg

This week, I have received a couple of automated phone calls letting me know that Kroger’s Value Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips have been recalled due to undeclared milk. These are the chocolate chips I buy at Smith’s grocery stores here in Utah, but the recall is nationwide at all Kroger grocery stores. (If you have any of these chocolate chips with “Best By” dates in 2012, take them back to your grocery store for a refund.)

I got this recall phone call because I use Smith’s Fresh Values loyalty card when I shop, so I guess their database showed I’d purchased this product, and they added me to their auto-call list. I appreciate being notified this way.

This got me thinking about recall notices. It’s not always easy to find out about recalled food products, and for people with food allergies, it is critical to know about mislabeled products, contaminated manufacturing runs, and the like.

So how can you make sure you’re getting the news you need about recalls? I know of three ways that can help:

1. Use your grocery store’s loyalty card when you shop. Not only do you get discounts, you might get notified when something you bought is recalled.

2. Sign up for FAAN’s alerts. FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) is a leading organization for food allergy awareness, education, and advocacy, and many food manufacturers will let FAAN know when they’re recalling a food product. FAAN then sends alerts out to anyone who’s signed up for those alerts. You don’t have to be a member to get the free alerts. Go to FAAN’s main web page at, and under the red section called “Alerts & News,” click on either “Subscribe to Alerts Feed” or “Receive Alerts by e-mail” depending on whether you want to get the notices via RSS feed or by email. It’s quick and easy, and you’ll get notices promptly. Many of the notices might not affect you, but the ones that do are worth the occasional extra email.

3. Finally, join an email listserv like UFAN (Utah Food Allergy Network), where members keep each other up-to-date on any news they’ve heard. To join UFAN’s email forum, go to their main website ( and go to the section called “Join the Utah Food Allergy Network Forum,” click the link, and follow the instructions.

If anyone knows of any additional ways to keep up-to-date with food recalls, I’d love for you to share your suggestions in the Comments.

Let’s make sure 2011 is a safe and healthy year!

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