Monday, March 23, 2009

Update: Complaint letter to Sara Lee

In case any of you want to complain to the company about its recent (and unannounced) addition of milk to several of its breads, you can do so here. Feel free to use my letter as a template. Here it is:

To whom it may concern:

I am writing because my 4-year-old daughter is severely allergic to milk and, without warning, you recently changed the ingredient labels on several of your breads to say that they now contain milk. Previously, the ingredient labels did not list milk. For years, we (including not only myself, but my mother and mother-in-law) have purchased your bread because it was safe for my milk-allergic daughter. We were loyal customers but, because of the recent change, we have had to switch brands to find a new bread that is safe for her.

Last year, your company began adding milk to its wheat hot dog buns. Prior to this, you notified the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), the leading food allergy group in the U.S., and had it issue a Special Allergy Alert to its members warning that Sara Lee planned to begin adding milk to its wheat hot dog buns. I saw this alert and became aware of the change.

There was no such alert issued before your recent change to add milk to several of your loaf breads, including Sara Lee Honey Wheat Bread and Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious Bread (whole wheat, multigrain, and oat varieties). Thankfully, I caught the change yesterday after I picked up a loaf of the bread to put it in my shopping cart. However, another family may not be so lucky - they might feed the bread to their milk-allergic child and the child might suffer a serious allergic reaction.

I am thus writing to complain about two things. First, I ask you to reconsider the decision to put milk in these breads. By doing this, you have eliminated as consumers a very loyal group of families who are dealing with milk allergies and bought your bread because we considered it safe. Second, I ask you to contact FAAN at (703) 691-3179 to notify it that you have added milk to some of your breads so that it can notify its thousands of members, many of whom have milk allergies, of the change to avoid the potential for allergic reactions from eating your bread.

Thank you for your time.



Food Allergy Assistant said...

I called Sara Lee about this last week. We'd been eating their Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious Bread and when I went to the store I found some packages listing milk while others did not.

The rep told me that it depends on where the bread is manufactured and I should always trust the label. I still feel unsettled about this and I've switched breads (although I don't like the taste of the new brand as much!).

Let me know if you hear anything from your letter.

Leigha said...

Thanks for the info, FAA! The fact that you, another commentator, and I have never before seen a package of Hearty & Delicious bread that contains milk until the last few weeks suggests that this is a new thing but the company is not acknowledging it as such. Perhaps the company is now making all or most of that bread at a new location where milk is added. I will let you know if/when I get a response!

AllergyMom said...

I am also upset about Sara Lee adding milk to all their breads and have contacted them. We have used the Honey Wheat variety for many years and now will have to find a new brand to trust.

Jennifer B said...

Good job! I will be interested to see the response you receive.