Thursday, October 18, 2012

REVIEW: Mary's Gone Crackers! Customer Service

I recently picked up a bag of Mary's Gone Crackers! Sticks&Twigs Pretzels in the Curry Flavor. This was my first time to pick up a product by this company. I was on the lookout for some easy gluten-free snack food for a camping trip and this seemed like a good product to add interest to my repertoire.

Two bites into the pretzels, I started having a niggling feeling at the back of my throat. My allergy reactions generally begin with an itchy feeling in the soft palate, so this was a little weird.  I was unsure as to whether it was an allergic reaction, but assumed it was, considering it was the only thing I was eating at the time.  I took an antihistamine just in case, and a few minutes later my ears started itching inside, so that pretty much told me it was most likely a reaction that presented itself a little differently. I'm glad I took the antihistamine. I've never had an anaphlactic reaction, so don't know what exactly it feels like, but this niggling feeling at the back of my throat did give me cause for concern.

I have been doing quite well with foods lately.

I checked out the list of ingredients and found that the ingredients listed were mostly things I have been eating and doing fine with.   The only thing that I had questions on was the curry powder, as I know it can be made up of any number of different ingredients.  In order to narrow down what it was I reacted to, I decided to contact the company via email.

On first contact, the representative at Mary's Gone Crackers! was hesitant to give me the ingredient listing to their curry powder, instead inquiring as to what my allergies are and then they would tell me if any of them were on their list.

As my readers with multiple allergy experience know, there is no allergy test that tests for every food or substance on the planet. There are false positives and false negatives in the testing in any case.    Additionally, allergy testing only tests for what your body is likely to react to at the time of the testing; people can develop new allergies, and they can have reactions to things that do not show up on the tests.

The most foolproof way to know you are allergic to something is whether or not you have been exposed to it and reacted.  It is far easier to narrow down the cause of an allergic response based on what you have actually been exposed to. Giving my list from my allergy testing a few years ago would have gotten me nowhere, as my body has changed since then.

I explained to the rep my situation and how I really wanted to get to the cause of my reaction to their product so that I can pinpoint the culprit ingredient and know what to watch out for in the future. They consulted with Mary, and responded with a listing of the curry powder ingredients. This was quite helpful to me, as two of the ingredients are things that I don't consume on any sort of a regular basis: fenugreek and cardamom.  With a simple email, my possible reaction ingredients were narrowed substantially; something I greatly appreciate!

Thinking about cardamom and fenugreek, those ingredients are also often in Chai teas, which I have an aversion to. Maybe it's because I am allergic to something in it and is best avoided.  Funny how the pieces come together when a little more light is shed on the subject!

The bummer of the deal is that I should probably avoid most Indian food, or at least have a heightened awareness, should I have it.

The good part of the deal is that I won't have to avoid all of those other gluten-free grains and every other ingredient on the label in order to avoid the weird niggling throat reaction.  I am willing to bet that I would probably be ok with their non-curry products.

All this to say, Thank you, Mary, from Mary's Gone Crackers!, for understanding where I am coming from and being forthcoming with the specifics on your ingredient listing! You've made my life (and the lives of others with similar food issues) much easier!

And on a larger scale, thank you for your whole foods, organic, non-GMO commitment! I plan to give Mary's Gone Crackers! products another try! (non-curry, the next time around) :)

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