Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guess we won't be buying Hebrew National franks anymore!

With the recent discovery of my little guy's oregano allergy I've had to reevaluate a few of the things we used to consider safe. Since many of his reactions are delayed (pain, GI troubles, eczema) and what had previously been a mild easy-to-miss reaction is a stronger one when he's already reacting to something else, it's hard to pinpoint what is causing it. Since he's a typical in-to-everything 2-year-old, it's not out of the normal for him to sneak or quickly grab a bite of something he's not suppose to have, so sometimes I'm really not sure what he's reacting to.

One of his favorite things for an occasional lunch is hot dogs. Conveniently the same hot dogs his sisters ate appeared to be safe for him(as long as his were cut into itty-bitty pieces). The package did include the always suspicious ingredients "spice" and "flavoring" on the nutrition label so I emailed to see if they included oregano.

I was less than impressed with their response:

Thank you for your email concerning our Hebrew National® Franks.

As consumers ourselves, we are very concerned about food allergies and want you to be confident in the safety of our products.  I can tell you a bit about the steps we take to address the needs of food-allergic consumers.

ConAgra Foods shows any of the eight Major Food Allergens (Crustacean Shellfish, Egg, Fish, Milk, Peanut, Soy, Tree Nuts and Wheat) on the ingredient list. We also include a 'Contains' statement in plain language on all of our products that contain any of the Major Food Allergens. This is how you know if any of these allergens are present. The 'Contains' statement appears in bold type directly after the ingredient list on the Nutrition Facts panel of our packages.  If a Major Food Allergen is included in a flavoring or spice blend in the product, we always show it in the 'Contains' statement.

Our product formulas may change from time to time, but please be assured that we try to avoid adding allergens to reformulated products whenever possible.  We encourage you to please check both the ingredient list and 'Contains' statement each time you buy a product in case the formulation has changed.
If a Major Food Allergen is not listed in the 'Contains' or 'May Contain' statements, you can be confident the product does not contain that particular allergen.

ConAgra Foods would like to help you with this request to the best of our ability. However, because the information you have requested is considered to be proprietary and a trade secret of ConAgra Foods, we are unable to supply this information.

If you have any allergen concerns outside of the Top 8 Food Allergens, we recommend you do not consume the product and consult your physician.

So, ConAgra foods, I guess I'll take your advice and simply not purchase your product anymore. I understand that a company wouldn't want to disclose their exact recipe, but I was asking only if a single ingredient was present. I can't take away a food my son loved only from him and still let him see other family members eating it, so we'll just have to not purchase it any more.


  1. That is certainly disappointing. :( If you were asking if there was oregano in it, they should have been able to tell you that. :(

  2. You should contact the FDA about this. I'm sorry!! Hugs to the little guy.