Go Max Go Foods says its chocolate bars are still vegan despite Canadian recall

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      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.”

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      Nov 29, 2012 at 4:41pm

      To have both sides here is what the manufacturer wrote on facebook about this: "let's clear this up. canada has an issue with our labelling. canada say's we can't say "dairy free" on our label if there is even one part per million of dairy (a trace amount). we've got an allergen warning saying trace amounts of dairy (& other allergens) may be present in our bars. canada say's we can't say "dairy free" on our label if there is even one part per million of dairy (a trace amount). okay...not so bad. what's very disturbing to us is that an article was written about our bars being recalled because they contain milk. one word on that...WRONG! this is about labelling requirement differences between canada & the u.s. the author didn't contact us first to get details & wrote something that is blatantly untrue. sad. we are vegan. we wouldn't produce a product that isn't vegan. we do not manufacture an allergen free product. we'll be changing our labeling to make canada happy. that's the scoop. please share this info with everyone so that everybody has the facts (or truth as the case may be). gotta say we're a tad ticked off. if you're going to write a story about us, please do your homework....mmmkay?"

      GO MAX GO!!!


      Nov 29, 2012 at 5:21pm

      I've worked in food development for over a decade. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that their product meets the regulations to sell food in Canada. Part of these regulations relate directly to claims on the package. Often producers from the US or other countries will only look formating the ingredient statement, nutrition facts, and declared weight to the Canadian format. Claims, such as the dairy-free example above, are not always considered and end up remaining on the package. Unfortunetely, if you are caught the result is a public recall. Hopefully, this company has learned a bit more about their Northern neighbours and understands that a different country = different rules. Best of luck to them.

      Martin Dunphy

      Nov 29, 2012 at 10:15pm


      The CFIA, a government body, issued a news bulletin/allergy warning and we reported it, as a responsible news outlet should do. The writer then contacted the company to get its side of the story (please read the article before making incorrect claims about what the Straight did or didn't do).

      Finally, if you are claiming to be a company representative, as you do in several places in your rant/post, please identify yourself.
      It would lend at least a modicum of credibility to your claims.


      Nov 30, 2012 at 3:23pm

      I actually had a reaction to these bars. My only allergy is a severe anaphylaxis to milk products, and the only conclusion I can come to is that they're somehow getting a cross-contamination issue. I contacted the company thru Facebook initially, and all my posts got deleted. I reached out through Twitter and got told to "shut my piehole" and I have sent an email that has gone unanswered.

      The company member in the past has been rude to reviewers that are not vegan, so this is not a one-time event. Google CandyBlog's reviews of their bars and read the comments "Susan" made. They even said "Just because she (me) says she had a reaction doesn't make it true"!!! Who has time to make things like this up?

      They also say they don't promote being Dairy Free, yet it's on the labels of the bars, as well as on their website and on giveaways on dairy-free websites! As someone who is a huge advocate for those with allergies and anaphylaxis, I thought I should get my story out here about this company and my experiences. I had an allergic reaction, and I would like to make others with severe milk allergies aware that this product may not be safe for you.

      Nicola S

      Feb 13, 2013 at 9:02pm

      Meaghan, I really wish I had read your comments before tonight. Tonight, my 6-year old son who has an anaphylaxic reaction to milk products, consumed the Snap candy bar which is clearly labeled diary-free and vegan and had a severe reaction. I think the labeling on these bars is incredibly irresponsible and infuriating. These are absolutely NOT vegan nor dairy-free.

      amy vegan

      Apr 23, 2013 at 9:05pm

      another good reason that all vegan food should be manufactured in all vegan facilities