Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Haigh's responds, or: I just can't explain

But here's a lil' sumthin' sumthin' - I got a reply from Haigh's, but didn't notice it for a while because it landed in my Trash. Here was my original moment of glory.

I really can barely reply. The logic is so, so twisty-roundy circular. But it's nice to know that my email was discussed in a management meeting; God I feel special (actually, one time I wrote a letter of complaint to a company because I had been misinformed by staff about the vegan status of their products and was quite huffy, and they forwarded my email to all stores to let them know that there had been a problem - not in a bad way, just to inform in case they had any other queries - but they left my full name on the bottom of the email. And how do I know this? A friend of mine who is a manager in that chain rang me!)

Dear Rachel,

Thank you for your email. We understand what you are saying, however due to new standards of labeling we now have to list milk as an ingredient. We have not added milk, but as we produce both the milk and dark product on the same machinery, we have to list it as an ingredient.

To declare on labels “may contain traces of milk” the product must contain a specific amount of milk. Unfortunately our dark chocolate products contain above this particular level, therefore due to the new standards we need to include milk on the ingredients list.

Dark chocolate was never intended to be a pure vegan product, or dairy-free, as there are trace amounts of milk in all of our dark chocolate products.

The listing of milk as an ingredient in our Dark chocolate is at the bottom of the ingredients list, as it would only be trace amount, and it varies from batch to batch.

When the labeling changes came into effect we did place notifications in all of our stores for quite a few months.

Your email was discussed at the recent Management Meeting and this issue is constantly under review, but at this stage we are following the guidelines as provided by a government department.

We will advise you if there are any changes in the year ahead.

Best regards,



meveg said...

So frustrating! As you showed in the last post, there haven't been any new government guidelines!

Louise said...

"at this stage we are following the guidelines as provided by a government department."

...and which department would that be?? sounds like they themselves don't even know.

lisa said...

As they note a 'particular level' write back and ask them what the level is, and what specific guideline lays out that level. They might re-discuss in their Management Meeting (caps because it is Very Important, of course).

Kristy said...

I still don't understand why other companies can put traces of milk, and they can't?

Johanna GGG said...

they seem a bit surprised at the idea that you might consider any of their products vegan - obviously haven't heard of accidentally vegan food :-) Maybe you could brief them on this for the next Management Meeting

Mandee said...

Well it's good they replied but their reply is frustrating.

I still don't understand why dairy is being singled out while peanuts is a more serious allergy.

Liz said...

Late to the party, I know, but I just wanted to say that Haigh's got rid of all peanut products about 4 years ago because they were worried about allergies, so their reaction to the milk thing is no surprise!

When I asked about the milk thing at Haighs they told me that almost every product arrives at the stores in bulk and they package it at the shop (break up the blocks by hand etc).
They use the same scales and gloves and apparently a lot of employees don't bother changing gloves or scales between handling milk chocolate and dark chocolate, hence a bit of contamination. Maybe if they packaged it up at the factory it would be less of a problem?