I was perusing the free from aisle in my local Waitrose today when I saw the following product withdrawal sign.
If you are having trouble reading the sign, it states the dairy free chocolate covered raisins by the Fabulous FreeFrom Factory have been recalled due to a few batches showing positive results for milk.
I phoned the distributor, VBites, and was told they had been instructed by the manufacturer to recall the products.
This led me to phone the manufacturer, Winning Ways Fine Foods. I spoke with the wonderfully-helpful Deborah who gave me all the information I asked for (and some I didn’t).
Deborah explained how a batch of the product had tested positive for trace amounts of casein, a protein found in dairy milk. The quantity was 12.6 parts per million, an almost undetectable level. But because the company is so fiercely protective of their dairy free claims, they ordered an instant recall of the positive batch and two subsequent batches to be on the safe side.
The batches recalled have the Best Before Dates of End Jan 2015, End Feb 2015 and End March 2015. Deborah stated that even though the risk of allergic reaction is incredibly low, the company decided to take drastic measures by recalling all stock that had the slightest chance of containing traces.
Deborah told me that she, along with her colleagues, has been devastated by this recall. The company can only surmise that their dark chocolate that is certified as completely dairy free was melted in or stored in a container that had previously been used to hold chocolate with traces of dairy.
The company is asking anyone with the product featuring the above mentioned best before dates to return them for a refund.
I do feel sorry for Winning Ways Fine Foods as I know how detrimental to a professional reputation a recall can be, especially when the products in question are marketed at the free from sector.
I commend Deborah and her colleagues for the decisive and prompt action they have taken to ensure the tainted product was recalled as quickly as possible. They are assuring all customers that they are doing all they can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Rest assured vegans and dairy avoiders. The Fabulous FreeFrom Factory dairy free chocolate covered raisins are once again suitable for cruelty-free eaters and the dietary sensitive and we should support wonderful and thoughtful companies like Winning Ways. Rejoice!