Monday, September 17, 2012

Dairy free sliced deli meat

Wow, I am impressed by our supermarket. For all the negative press there is in Australia about our big supermarkets dominating the market, I am grateful for the large systems they seem to have in place.

Our son is anaphylactic to milk, egg, peanuts and tree nuts. That means that although he can eat beef, lamb and chicken, it always has to be cooked by us. I am terribly thankful that he can eat wheat, so we can have sliced bread (although I am very particular about exactly which brand we get in order to avoid cross contamination). So far, our son can have Nuttelex (a dairy-free margarine), some jams and also vegemite on his sandwiches. But I am always a bit sad that he can't have a ham sandwich like the other kids... or more sad, that I can't just get some deli meat from the shops to save cooking.
I bought some prepackaged Coles Sliced Roast Beef (2x50g) the other day for my husband and noticed with surprise that the allergen list did not include milk, eggs or nuts. Normally pre-sliced meat from the deli is always at risk of being contaminated by cheese especially since they use the same machines to slice the meat. However, because this product is pre-sliced and pre-packaged, en mass, at some other location, there was a chance it could be safe for our son to eat. There are labels and then there are labels. This product is made in Australia, so that does give me some assurance. However, there's nothing like contacting the company directly to find out. Any company that does not get back to me is off my list. If they can't take the effort to answer my question about allergens, then it's likely they can't take the effort to do a lot of other things too, like making sure there is no cross contamination.

I sent an email off, and got a message on my phone a few days later stating that the sliced meat was most likely contaminated with dairy products. This was what I would have expected, so I sent off another email suggesting they fix the labeling of their packaging to reflect this. A few days later, I get another phone message stating that they were unsure of the accuracy of their previous comments and would launch an investigation to address my question. (You'll notice that there's a lot of phone messages... that's my fault since I can never put baby down in time to actually answer the phone). Anyway, two weeks later, the phone rings again and this time I answer it. The lady confirms that after a full investigation, there should be no risk of milk, egg or nut contamination, and in fact their initial customer information was incorrect. Wow, that's customer service. All that effort for one customer (although probably also to ensure there's no risk of litigation). Still, I'm impressed, and I'll be even more impressed if my son actually decides he likes it :-)



1 comment:

  1. Please note, this product does contain wheat... go figure...

    ReplyDelete