We’ve been a fan of Ocado since diagnosis. The website provides detailed product descriptions, with an ingredients list and allergen information. They have also attempted to provide a “nut free” filter, allowing you to whittle down your search results to show only the nut safe options. I’ve grumbled in the past that the filter does not pick up every safe product. However, whilst an imperfect tool, it is the best online supermarket I have come across so far, for nut free grocery shopping.
We shop there week in, week out. Invariably ordering their mini breadsticks, which my children love dunking into houmous. This week, we were heading for a playdate at a friend’s house. I’d promised to bring along some nut safe supplies for my two. When stood in her kitchen, I had a tense moment when I went to open the mini breadsticks tub. It now bore the warning:
“May also contain nuts, peanuts…”
Although the packet hadn’t yet been opened, I was annoyed with myself for letting contraband food into our nut free house.
Don’t rely on websites: always check the label
Back at home, I checked the product description on the Ocado website. The allergen information now read:
However, the description on the Waitrose website still stated (as at 22 July 2014) that the product is suitable for those avoiding nuts:
Indeed, the mini breadsticks are still listed on the list of Waitrose Own Label Products Suitable for those Avoiding Nuts and Peanuts (March 2014 version).
So, the addition of the “may contain” appears to be a recent change which the Waitrose website and safe product lists haven’t yet caught up with.
Why the new “may contain”?
My next thought was: WHY has this changed? Have the ingredients source or manufacturing arrangements altered? Or is this another example of a supermarket updating its labelling to comply with the new allergen labelling laws coming into force from December, and apparently seizing the opportunity to slap on a “may contain nuts” warning at the same time?
I have written to Ocado to ask what prompted the change (and to see if any of their own brand breadsticks remain nut safe). Update hopefully to follow.
Checking labels: rule of three
This experience is a reminder to always check the label. I remember reading an article where one allergy mum described how her family has a “three times” rule. They check a food’s ingredients label:
- When they take a product off the shelf in a supermarket;
- When they unpack the shopping at home; and
- Before the product is opened.
On this occasion the label change was spotted in time. However, the breadsticks incident has given me a jolt to also remember to double check the ingredients as I add to basket and when I unpack the shopping too.
Update (28 August 2014): Ocado’s reply
I’m pleased to report that Ocado have now advised:
“This product is currently being re-designed and once the re-design is complete in the autumn, the declaration should change to ‘may contain traces of sesame and milk’. We will be taking out any reference to nuts and peanuts.”
So, it seems this product is only temporarily off limits. I’ll report back as and when I spot the new look packaging (with no reference to may contain nuts and peanuts) online.