Cookies and Non-existent Milk

By Eloy Santa Cruz

Majority of individuals are able to enjoy an immense variety of foods and cuisines from around the globe to whatever mother is making at home, but that is not applicable for everybody. Many individuals suffer from allergic reactions to a number of food items, from nuts to cinnamon, and even dairy. As someone who suffers from lactose intolerance, it can be rather strenuous to be constantly vigilant over every food item ingested throughout the day.

From reading every ingredient list to asking every restaurant to prepare their plates without dairy, such precautions must be taken in order to have a continued state of good health. This, of course, isn’t always the case. As a human being who makes mistakes, dairy will sometimes be accidentally ingested, and although there are medications for such a situation, it can be noticed too late for any medication to take a proper affect. Yet, through the continued sifting through ingredient lists, one is able to notice which food items naturally don’t have dairy and which do, which helps out in the long run.

As far as the actual ingredient list, every food item must acknowledge on their list any ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction, which benefits individuals like me who rely on that announcement. Normally, this announcement tends to be at the end of the ingredient list in bold letters, which advises the consumer what type of allergens the product contains. Additionally, they may announce that the product contains allergens or that it was manufactured on or near equipment that contains allergens. Yet, as these food companies are run by human beings, there is always room for error in any stage of the process (making the food, packaging, delivery, etc.). Such situations may lead either to a controllable minor issue to a full-blown nationwide recall on a mistake. One such case was a recent recall on two types of Oreo cookies. Oreos are widely known to be a naturally dairy-free cookie, and that applies to majority of the different types of Oreo cookies, but not to all; and this recent Oreo recall by an Illinois-based company highlights the upmost importance of companies announcing ingredients that may cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.

The Illinois-based company, Mondelez Global LLC, issued a nationwide recall of two kinds of its Oreo Fudge Cremes products because the snacks contain milk, an item not listed among the ingredients that can cause serious or life-threatening reactions in people who are allergic. By nationwide, the recall was issued in the United States and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas. Now, although Mondelez Global LLC has received only one report of an allergic reaction so far, this mistake isn’t a matter of six grams of fat rather than eight, but more so a matter of whether eating an Oreo may kill you or not. While the products themselves do have an advisory statement on the label saying that the snacks have been “manufactured on equipment that processes milk”, it failed to state that the product itself contains dairy, which is anything but a slight mistake.

The company itself has yet to issue any type of refunds, but they did advise consumers who have this product should not eat it and should discard any products they may have. They further added that customers can contact the company’s Consumer Relations department to get more information about the recall. While the recall is too early to view the repercussions that may arise from it, the fact that the company failed to even mention any types of refunds may signify the lack of importance the company acknowledges when it comes to allergic reactions that people may have. Neither did the company advise of any possible refunds in the near future, which seems indicative of the company saying sorry rather than fixing their mistake. Of course, it tends to be only the individuals that suffer from allergic reactions that tend to take the matter seriously, but that shouldn’t become the norm when such reactions may boil down to a life and death situation.

In any case, this is only one of many recalls that have occurred and may continue to occur not only with Oreos, but a number of other food items. While recalls are something that is impossible to prevent, the measures that these companies take during a recall should showcase not only the acknowledgment of the recall, but furthermore should display the company’s awareness of it being an issue that may affect someone’s life, such as failing to state present allergens. While we, those who suffer from allergens, may want such an outcome from companies over said recalls, the old saying goes to show that beggars can’t be choosers.


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