With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

22 February 2013

Open Letter to Oreo

Dear Oreo,

Every day, more than 10% of the visitors to Food Allergy Buzz come in search of allergen information about Oreos. On any given day, they may search for:

Oreo and peanut/treenut allergy
Oreo food allergy information
Oreo unsafe food production
Oreos peanut free
Do Oreos contain nuts
Are Oreos peanut tree nut free
Are Oreos nut free
Are Oreo cookies made with tree nuts

Most of the questions pertain to the presence of peanuts and tree nuts. It's easy enough to read the ingredient list on the package but the mystery lies in what goes on at the factory where Oreos are made. Other consumers like me have probably noticed the Peanut Butter Creme Oreos, Double Stuf Peanut Butter Creme Oreos, and Peanut Butter Oreo Fudge Cremes on supermarket shelves. It's not surprising that consumers managing peanut and nut allergies wonder: are "regular" and non-peanut butter Oreos made on the same machines or in the same facility as these peanut butter varieties?

I have written to Oreo a few times over the years and received a helpful reply in 2012, but it still left unanswered questions about the presence of tree nuts in the Oreo production facility and Oreo production lines as well as which, if any, of the non-peanut butter varieties of Oreos are produced in a facility where peanuts or peanut-containing products are present. For individuals managing food allergies, risk of cross-contamination is important since some individuals do react to trace amounts of their allergen-to-avoid. A research study in 2007, entitled Consumer attitudes and risks associated with packaged foods having advisory labeling regarding the presence of peanuts determined that 6.5% of pre-packaged foods made in shared facilities contain peanut protein. 

I am hoping this public letter to Oreo will help draw attention to these questions. It would be immensely helpful for those managing peanut and nut allergies, as well as other food allergies, to be able to access more information about the presence of top 8 allergens at the Oreo manufacturing facility. Ingredient information isn't really enough, especially when there are so many peanut butter varieties of Oreos. I'd be pleased to help Oreo put these questions to rest once and for all. After all, Oreos are "America's Favorite Cookie"!

Thank you for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,
Jennifer B
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