Recently, I spoke with the clerk at a health food store and learned that she’s peanut allergic (I get into allergy conversations everywhere I go). We got on the subject of protein bars, and she told me that SimplyWhey bars are peanut and nut safe. I bought a bar and felt excited about her recommendation, though of course I decided to look into their safety myself. Unfortunately, they are NOT peanut OR nut free, though they were in the past.
Specifically, the Simply Whey bars USED TO be made in a peanut and nut safe facility. Unfortunately, the company has now introduced a NUT BASED whey bar, and their website clearly discloses this allergen notice:
“ALLERGEN NOTE: We can no longer guarantee that Simply Protein Whey bars are peanut and nut free. This is being reflected on the packaging – any bar with our new logo Simply Protein Whey (we added “Protein” to the name) may or may not contain nut/peanut ingredients and/or be made in a facility that has nuts/peanuts…Always read the ingredients and allergen list to know what is accurate for the specific bar you have on hand.”
The problem is that while their website has a clear warning, the packaging has NOT been updated properly and the changes made to reflect their new allergen status are far too subtle. Can you see the difference in the bars below? We’re to notice that the new unsafe bars contain the word “Protein” in the name, while the older safe bars do not.
When I informed the store clerk of this change in packaging, it took her a few minutes to see the difference and determine that one flavor of Simply bars she has in stock is no longer peanut or nut safe. I’m grateful that I was able to advise her of this, since she’s extremely allergic to peanuts and was relying on Simply Whey bars as a nutfree snack.
It’s not only the name change that’s too subtle, the other changes to the packaging are too. That is, the safe bars had “Peanut Free” printed on the side of them, and the new bars do not. I submit that a typical consumer cannot be expected to notice this change. I see that their soy free statement has also been removed, but I have not investigated the reason why.
I’ve saved the most dangerous error or omission for last. The Simply Bar website tells us to Always read the ingredients and allergen list to know what is accurate for the specific bar you have on hand, but the new bars do NOT disclose on the label that they may contain traces of peanuts/nuts. In fact, the ingredient/allergen statement is exactly the same as it was on the safe bars. This is VERY dangerous, since they are labelled for traces of other allergens, and the omission of a statement about peanuts/nuts would lead a well informed label reader to trust that these bars are safe when they are NOT.
Please, Simply Bars, update the labels on your new Simply Protein Whey bars to include the statement that they may contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts. When products made in facilities that use peanuts or nuts have been tested, almost 9% of the products (most notably nutrition bars) pick up enough allergen to potentially cause a life threatening allergic reaction, and I know that you care about the health and safety of your consumers. You have labelled your new banana butterscotch bars properly to disclose cashew butter in the ingredients and to also include a statement that the bars contain tree nuts and may contain peanuts, soy and sesame. It’s one small step to add a “may contain” peanuts/nuts statement to your other whey protein bars (which are delicious by the way) so your consumers can make safe choices. I trust and hope that you will see this article and do so, and I thank you in advance.
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