SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Kellogg’s is changing the ingredients in some popular products. But some parents who have children with peanut allergies are worried that it could be a recipe for disaster.
Sharon Wong does everything she can to ensure her kids never come in contact with a peanut.
Just being around peanuts can cause a very severe reaction for him,” Wong told KPIX 5 ConsumerWatch.
But now, the Bay Area mom and food blogger is worried that an old snack, could pose a new threat. Last month, Kellogg’s announced it would start adding peanut flour to eight varieties of its Keebler and Austin sandwich crackers. Products that didn’t contain peanuts before.
“You’re not going to be expecting peanuts in there – and that’s the risk,” Wong said.
Dr. Robert Lustig of UCSF Lustig contends there’s no nutritional reason for the change. Peanut flour is last ingredient listed. The amount so small it’s inconsequential, unless you’re allergic. “If you have a peanut allergy this is a very big deal,” Lustig said.
“If every food company decides to do the exact same thing – we could have a food crisis on our hands,” Lustig added.
The change is also a concern for food blogger Dave Bloom, who speculates the change is due to a new law.
“I believe they are doing this because they don’t want to comply,” Bloom said.
The Food Safety Modernization Act takes effect in September. Among other things, requires food companies to do more to insure allergens, like peanuts, are not in products that are supposed to be allergen-free.
“Rather than comply with those rules, it’s easier for them to add a trace amount of peanuts,” Bloom said.
Kellogg’s calls the accusation “completely false” and said it already complies with the new law, though it admits the change is because the products are now being made on the “same line as food made with peanut ingredients…”
Allergy aware parents have now started a petition hoping Kellogg’s will reconsider.
“I’m concerned they may add peanuts to more products,” Bloom said.
Concerned parents said until now these snacks have been popular with kids and schools because they are peanut-free. They worry some may not realize Kellogg’s has changed the ingredients.
Kellogg’s now said it will not add peanut power to the Austin crackers, just the Keebler ones.