Much to my chagrin two weeks ago, I fed #2 some angel food cake dowsed in what I thought was non-dairy coffee creamer. After our switch to a dairy-free household, International Delight became my not-so-secret love affair with all things deliciously sweet. (When you are denied chocolate, ice cream, most cakes and cookies, you take what you can get. And it gets very, very tasty with ID.)
The creamer, though, is not in fact dairy-free, though the label states “Non-dairy Ingredients.” It lists sodium casinate, “a milk derivative.” I know, I should have known better. I have no excuse. I was desperate for sweets. I decided to listen to the “non-dairy” claims rather than the “milk derivative.” It was in parentheses, after all! (I know, I know…. No excuses…)
So! I decided to write an open letter to ID and see if we could change a few things.
Dear Ma’ams and Sirs,
I love your creamers. Literally, I use them on EVERYTHING. In coffee, on cake, in milk, on ice cream… About 4 months ago, we discovered that my son was highly allergic to milk. I was nursing, so I, by default, became “allergic to milk.” Your creamers, though, were my salvation. When I couldn’t have chocolate, I had your chocolate caramel creamer. When I missed the cream on my angel food cake, I turned to your sweet cream creamer. When I needed that little push of sweet in an otherwise pasty, flavorless mess of a vegan meal replacement shake, I turned to caramel macchiato. If I’m honest, caramel macciato and I had somewhat of a love affair. Coffees and shakes and cookies and all the goodness I probably shouldn’t have been eaten were paired with its delicious, smooth caramelness.
Until two weeks ago, when I realized that your “non-dairy ingredients” masked a silent lie. How did I realize this, after 4 months of drinking it to my heart’s content? I fed my little man some sweet cream-soaked angel food cake. And he blew up like a balloon.
I know that your label says “sodium casinate (a milk derivative).” I’m fully aware that I probably should have avoided it just out of precaution. But I was desperate. And now I am both chocolate-less and in shock. I don’t personally know all of the legal requirements for posting food allergy information on your bottles, but as a mother, I’m begging you to add milk to your ingredients list. A simple “CONTAINS: MILK” would have kept me from 4 months of poisoning my child.
Again, I’m not blaming you. You have it labeled on your bottles as a milk derivative, but you’ve got to admit: your creamers are AWESOME! It’s heart-wrenching to walk past them after I’ve gotten my eggs, staring at their beautiful colored containers and knowing that, at least for right now and if I ever have a child again, I cannot taste their wonderfulness. Instead, I’m stuck with the ever-flavorful vanilla and chocolate options of the non-dairy milks…
Not because you have to, but because you love us customers, will you consider adding an allergy warning onto your list? While I’m well-versed in most milk by-products, I’m still new to this, and I’m sure many other parents with new food allergies have probably made this same mistake. Even better, would you think about possibly making a truly dairy-free creamer? Not only would you have the undying appreciation of all milk allergic folks, but you’d appeal to all of the vegans out there! (I’m not sure about the rest of the country, but my hometown is crawling with them….)
Anyway, I love your creamers, and I will be buying them again as soon as I’m done nursing, though they will be drunk in the wee hours of the night, safe from little boy fingers and tender little throats.
Stevie Matus, an avid creamer fan and guilt-ridden mother
International Delight’s parent company called within 30 minutes of my sending them this letter. I am amazed. Though I have no idea whether it gets flushed into the netherfield of bureaucracy, the man on the other end took all of my information, #2’s reaction, and my suggestions calmly, politely, and apologetically. It was awesome! So, whether they change it or not, I am still an ID lover.
I HOPE they change it. And while I am trying to be fair and polite myself, I DO think that an ingredient that could hurt my allergic child should be labeled. Legally, if it’s less than 0.05%, they are not required to label it. Gosh… that’s a potent 0.05%!
Overall, though, ID was helpful, concise, and very concerned for #2’s welfare. Kudos to them! Drink creamer, y’all! Unless you’re allergic. Then… Don’t.