The co-owner of Go Max Go Foods is asking customers to not be alarmed by a Canadian recall affecting the U.S.-based company’s popular line of vegan chocolate bars.
Scott Ostrander told the Straight that the issue is Canada’s rules concerning what products can be labelled “dairy-free”. According to him, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency objected to that label on Go Max Go candy bars after noticing that the packaging warns that trace amounts of dairy may be present due to the use of shared equipment in manufacturing.
“The product is the same as it always was,” Ostrander said today (November 29) by phone from Santa Fe, New Mexico. “There’s no dairy ingredients in it. Any dairy that might be in there is just miniscule trace amounts—just like the statement we have underneath our ingredients states.”
On Wednesday (November 28), the CFIA warned that Go Max Go’s Mahalo, Snap, Buccaneer, Jokerz, and Twilight candy bars and Cleo’s peanut butter cups may contain milk which is not listed on the ingredients label.
The agency issued an allergy alert for products bearing the following lot codes (UPC): Cleo’s (8 99033 00204 0), Mahalo (8 99033 00203 3), Snap (8 99033 00205 7), Buccaneer (8 99033 00202 6), Jokerz (8 99033 00200 2), and Twilight (8 99033 00201 9).
“These products are known to have been distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and may have been distributed nationally,” the CFIA says in the alert.
“There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.
“Consumption of these products may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to milk.”
According to the CFIA, the Toronto-based importer, Lennie Ciglen Distribution Inc., is voluntarily recalling the products.
Go Max Go products are popular with vegans because they resemble Snickers, Crunch, and other familiar candy bars, but aren’t made with dairy or eggs. In B.C., the company’s products are sold at Karmavore Vegan Shop in New Westminster and Sarah’s Place in Victoria.
Ostrander asserted that Go Max Go products remain suitable for vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals, as well as most people with dairy allergies. He noted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no problem with the products being labelled “dairy-free”.
“It’s just a matter of the differences in U.S. labelling law and Canadian labelling law,” he said. “Here’s there’s really no threshold—as long as it’s not in the ingredients. We don’t use milk or any dairy product as an ingredient.”
Go Max Go will comply with Canadian labelling requirements, according to Ostrander. He noted this might involve ordering different packaging for Canadian distribution or placing a sticker over the words “dairy-free” on packages bound for Canada.
“We’re a small company,” Ostrander said. “That’s why something like this, it’s a big deal, because there’s nothing wrong with the products. It makes it sound like a peanut recall, which is not true.”