I have written previously about my youngest son’s sensitivity to artificial food dyes. Last night we had yet another unexpected encounter with a colorant and, after just a few hours of sleep, I am once again on the phone to a large, multinational company about their decision to add (unnecessary) dye to a food product.
When your child is sensitive to artificial food dyes, you read every label. You watch for terms like “Yellow No. 5”, “Allura Red” and “Annatto.” You have a mental list of foods that are “safe” and you check new products with suspicion. You live in hope that food manufacturers will come to understand that consumers care about this issue and there would be a competitive advantage to those companies that vow to avoid dyes.
Yesterday my husband offered to do some grocery shopping. He asked what we needed and I mentioned that we were pretty much “out” of cereal. He came home with Kelloggs Frosted Flakes. The sugary cereal is not one that I eat but it has been a “safe” food for my son. He’s an active sixteen year old and he eats many times a day. On occasion, he enjoys a bowl of cereal before bed.
Unfortunately, for some completely unfathomable reason, Kelloggs has changed the recipe since we last checked. The box of cereal that was once safe, now includes color.
Why oh why would they change their recipe and add color to a previously “safe” product?
After checking the label on the Frosted Flakes box, I telephoned the Kelloggs toll free number (twice) and got a busy signal each time.
I went to their website and was required to sign up for an account in order to leave a question. I signed up for an account but was unable to input my true birth year because of a glitch on their website. For some reason, you cannot scroll to a birth year prior to 1995 AND if you aren’t of age, you aren’t allowed to ask a question. Mmmmmm. How convenient is that?
Despite busy signals and an uncooperative website, I was committed to my mission.
I tried the phone number again and ended up at a Call Centre in the United States. Their list of (Canadian) Frosted Flakes ingredients does not include color. Rather odd… I left my name and number and asked them to get me the information and call back. I also pointed out the problem with (not being able to answer a question on) the website.
Next, I went onto the Kellogg Canada Facebook page and the response I received astonished me! (See above) I have never encountered this sort of resistance to answering a consumer question.
I expressed my amazement and guessed Annatto. They responded as follows, “Hi Carolyn. Could you provide us with your contact information via Private Message, so we can contact you directly and help answer your questions.”
I have one question. I want to know WHAT COLOR IS IN CANADIAN FROSTED FLAKES.
It is now more than twenty-four hours since my inquiry. I have provided an email address via Facebook DM and they have seen it. Their response was a follows, “Thank you for providing us with your contact information. We’re following up with our labelling team. We will get back to you as soon as we have this information.”
They have not replied to yesterday’s telephone inquiry so I called them again today. Today they asked for the Best Before Date and the UPC on the package and then I was asked to tell them what colorants my son is sensitive to. Frankly, I don’t think that should matter. I do not understand why they can’t/won’t tell me the name of the colorant.
Anyhow, I gave them a list of natural food dyes and they say that I will hear back from them. I explained that I am very disappointed in Kellogg Canada Inc.