Whole Foods Market announced a voluntary recall of two flavors of 365 Everyday Value Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cremes
According to FDA.gov, Whole Foods decided to remove from their shelves the "365 Everyday Value Dark Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cremes and 365 Everyday Value Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Sandwich Cremes because the products may contain undeclared milk or tree nuts (coconut)."
To date, two allergic reactions have been reported, but it doesn't sound like those reactions were seriously life threatening. It's also unclear as to how the milk and/or coconut got into either batches of cookies. However, it sounds like the issue was caught early enough and all impacted batches have been removed from the shelves at Whole Foods.
Long story short, if you, your family or customers don't have an allergy or intolerance to milk or coconut, there's no need to throw out your boxes of cookies...but (if you know me) you know I couldn't just end the story right there. This whole recall announcement inspired me to touch on a few points as it relates to the food business and working with customers with special dietary needs and preferences.
Food Allergies are nothing to play with. Here are a few basics.
Now that you're in the food service industry, it is SUPER important for you to be educated on items such as proper product labeling and best practices to avoid cross-contamination of equipment and tools.
In general, when dealing with customers who have special dietary needs, it's a good idea to find out why they're requesting a menu that meets a certain requirement. Let's be honest there is a big difference between someone wanting to exclude an ingredient because of preference and someone needing to avoid an ingredient for health or religious reasons.
There are all kinds of specialty diets these days such as Vegan, Gluten Free, Keto, Vegetarian, Paleo, etc. etc. As a business owner, you have the right to choose whether you create products that meet any of those dietary requirements. You shouldn't feel pressured to do something that you're not confident doing, especially when food restrictions are involved. Also, when it comes to special diets you should definitely make sure to charge appropriately.
In the Sugar Coin Academy, we have a few pricing trainings that explain the role cost and perceived value on the price of a product. At this point when so many small businesses aren't catering to the specialty diet market, there is a ton of opportunity for those of you who are willing to offer items that meet those requirements. My main recommendations are to develop an understanding of your cost and make sure to cross all of your t's and dot your i's. By that I mean, make sure you have the right labeling, you know how to organize/clean/separate your equipment and tools, and you have recipes that actually meet the standards.
If you want to move into a specialty food niche market, I encourage you to (1) do your research if you want to learn more about the different types of restrictions, and (2) connect with an experienced mentor who can provide guidance when you have questions. Also...a little further down, I've included an infographic from a Corporate catering platform that had some great articles explaining various dietary restrictions and related terms.
When you check your boxes, here's what to look for.
If you happen to have a box of either types of cookies from Whole Foods, make sure to check your boxes, especially if you, your family or your customers have an allergy to milk or coconut. If you need to take the cookies back, Whole Foods is offering a full refund for those who bring in a receipt.
According to the Company Announcement posted on FDA.gov, "The Dark Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cremes may contain milk that was not declared on the package label; the product can be identified by the UPC 9948247605 and best by dates through May 1, 2020. The Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Sandwich Cremes may contain milk or coconut that were not declared on the package label; the product can be identified by the UPC 9948247606 and best by dates through May 9, 2020."
Eight Most Common Food Allergies via https://www.orderin.com.au
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About the AuthorCydni N. Mitchell (aka Cyd) is the bakery and Sweet Business Coach behind Sweet Fest®. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sweet Fest® is an online company that supports the business needs of the Sweet Community in the areas of professional development, marketing and branding. By trade, Cyd is an accountant & financial analyst with a Masters from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the organizer of The Ultimate Sugar Show, a baking and sweets trade show in Atlanta, GA, and she is the Co-Founder of the Sugar Coin Academy, an online business academy for business owners in the baking and sweets industry. Learn more.