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Lack of Communication By Nature's Path Is A Huge Let Down, But Trader Joe's Continues To Win Me Over

Posted Feb 03 2009 1:00am
Early last week I visited the FDA Peanut Butter Recall webpage to see if there were any additional products placed on the list since I had last checked. To my shocked surprise, Trader Joe's had just recently added several of it's granola bars, including their Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated Granola Bars, to the growing list of voluntarily recalled products. Among their other granola bars, the Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated Granola Bars are a standard part of our school snack rotation and we just so happened to have a box sitting in our pantry ready to be loaded into future lunchboxes. Given the fact that up until this moment I prided myself on being on top of this recall you could probably imagine how I was now kicking myself having completely overlooked this possible threat to my children's health. I immediately contacted Trader Joe's and asked them what my next steps should be. After just a couple of rings I was greeted with a very pleasant human-being who welcomingly shared additional details regarding this recall and while still behaving cautiously, attempted to comfort me by telling me that to date there had not been a single case of salmonella sickness reported as the result of these granola bars.

Given what continues to be revealed on a daily basis about this extensive peanut butter scare and the fact that I blindly overlooked these granola bars, I decided to have a much closer look at the products I've been feeding my family. Another product that I as a result of a recent Costco run had tons of in my pantry were the Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars in chocolate and peanut butter flavors. Envirokidz is actually owed by Nature's Path. After going to the Nature's Path website and learning about a recall on one of their other products, Peanut Butter Optimum Energy Bars, I decided to contact the company directly to confirm the safety of the Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars in Peanut Butter. Unfortunately, unlike my positive experience with Trader's Joe's consumer affairs, I was unpleasantly ignored at Nature's Path. Rather than a human voice I was greeted with a very long telephone message. After staying on long enough to find out whom I should speak with regarding this matter I was then sent to another long telephone message that asked me to leave my concern along with a return telephone number and/or e-mail address. While I did as instructed and was ensured a reply by the company it has now been just under a week and I have not heard from anyone at Nature's Path.

Given the gravity of this peanut butter recall and the fact that children's lives might be at potential risk, I am utterly disappointed with the complete lack of attention I've received from Nature's Path -- a company I've been a loyal and supportive customer of for quite some time. While I will continue to seek attention from Nature's Path, as a form of rebellion I've decided to throw out any remaining boxes of Envirokidz Crispy Rice Bars I currently have at home and will not purchase additional products from Nature's Path at this time.

It all comes down to the fact that as parents we need to take the lead and a stand for the health and well-being of our children. In these confusing times, here are several rules I plan on following going forward:

  • Until this scare settles down, check the FDA Peanut Butter Recall homepage regularly. I'm not exaggerating when I say new products are being added to this list DAILY. Don't assume that just because a product has not been recalled yet it is safe to eat.

  • When all else fails, check company websites and read their newsroom section for any potential recall information. If you are still not satisfied contact the company directly and do not give up until they address your concerns.

  • Lastly, avoid peanut butter and peanut oil products, especially if they are uncooked. They now believe that some of the peanut butter products from Peanut Corp. have left their faculty contaminated since January of 2007.

  • Find alternatives to the peanut butter products you've been using. My kids are enjoying almond butter and I also have plans to try sunflower and cashew butter (by the way, both are sold at Trader Joe's)
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