I wrote back to Pizza Hut…


A while ago, I wrote to Pizza Hut, just being goofy for the most part… commenting on how Pizza Hut’s sauce rips through me like… well, have you ever seen a cat with its head stuck in something & it flailing round to try to get it out?  Yeah.  It’s like that.

They wrote back, and the message from Mr. Kronenwetter actually raised a little concern for me.  I noticed that some of their foods may contain shellfish allergens, although there is no shellfish to be found on the menu.  If you’ve read the background on my shellfish allergy, you’d know that it freaked me out a little.  I say just a little becuase I’ve eaten there without any allergy-related problems (that I know of)…  so far.

I don’t have a response yet, but I thought I’d share my most recent email to them…

from ERiC AiXeLsyD
to Dave Kronenwetter
cc Ed Holt
date Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 2:17 PM
subject Re: Pizza Hut Incident Eric Aixelsyd
mailed-by gmail.com

Thank you Mr. Kronenwetter,

You are, as of yet, the only representative from Pizza Hut or Yum! Brands that has answered my original query.  I applaud your dedication to service and customer satisfaction.  I used the contact form on the website, and acquired some email addresses from around the web when I discovered that was to no avail.

I am interested in the linked allergen information though.  I do have a severe shellfish allergy, and it concerns me that items with an “•” are notated with the ominous “products are prepared in common equipment and therefore may contain allergen” warning.

More interesting to me are the items marked…

  • SAUCES; All-Natural Pizza Sauce, All-Natural Sweet Pizza Sauce, All-Natural Old World Pizza Sauce
  • TUSCANI PASTAS; Lasagna, Chicken Alfredo, Meaty Marinara
  • APPETIZERS Served with dipping sauce; Breadsticks
  • WS Bone Out Wings; Garlic Parmesan
  • WS Crispy Bone In Wings; Garlic Parmesan
  • WS Traditional Wings; Garlic Parmesan

I see from the menu & nutritional info available online that there’s no shellfish available to order, so the “prepared in common equipment” line really really confuses me.  Am I to assume that the common equipment is in the manufacturing/processing/

canning facility with the sauce?

Are the breadsticks & garlic Parmesan wings listed simply because they’re served with the sauce?  Are the wings breaded alongside shrimp at the factory?  Are the breadsticks marinated in butter beside lobster at the processing plant?

Are the pastas listed simply because they contain the sauce?  But then, there’s the Alfredo… which is a wholly different kind of sauce.  Are the noodles the culprit?  I must say that the whole thing has me befuddled.

Basically, you’re telling me that if I’m allergic to shellfish… I might want to avoid everything that contains pizza sauce …from a place called Pizza Hut?

Also, the text from the bottom may require a little clarification…

The allergen information displayed on this site is based on standard product formulations and is current as of March 2009. Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, and/or product production at the restaurant.

Anchovies (Fish) are offered in many Pizza Hut restaurants. Shrimp (Shellfish) is offered in a very limited number of Pizza Hut restaurants. Customers with concerns should contact their restaurant directly to determine if these ingredients are handled in the restaurant.

Huh?  How is one to be made aware if there are different circumstances regarding  suppliers, ingredient substitutions, revisions, or product production?  I’ve never had a hostess seat me, list the specials, then divulge any information about new suppliers, possible substitutions, or about new preparation methods.  I’ve never seen it written on a dry-erase board inside the door, or in a menu insert.  How am I supposed to be sure that Pizza Hut isn’t going to inadvertently send me into Anaphylactic shock?

Does the second line about shrimp make all the above listed possible concerns no longer a concern… or is that in addition to already existing concerns?

Please, don’t take my questions as lashing out at you personally, but really… can you understand the frustration I have at learning of these menacing shellfish issues?  Certainly you can appreciate the humor of having to go to Pizza Hut only to avoid pizza sauce?  Perhaps the allergen information page needs updated and clarified?

I realize that I am sending a lot of questions your way at once.  I would like to thank you in advance for your time and I hope that you will give all of my concerns some serious contemplation, and perhaps pass it on to others at Pizza Hut or Yum! Brands for their additional input.

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance website, “Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from food allergy. Food-induced anaphylaxis is believed to cause 50,000 emergency room visits and about 150 deaths annually.”  I really don’t want to be one of those 150, or even one of the 50,000 any time soon… but I would like to be able to enjoy some fantastic pizza (without the aforementioned disastrous after-effects).

I look forward to your thoughts!

Inquisitively,
-Eric
world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

I really hope to get an actual response with some clarification.  It is worded/displayed in a goofy manner, don’t you think?

Pizza Hut’s Intestinal Warfare


If you’ve ever heard me on the subject of Pizza Hut, it all boils down to this…  Pizza Hut = Gastrointestinal Distress.  I have no idea why.  I’ve heard the same thing from many other people when the subject is raised.  I know I’ve gotten into it on facebook not too long ago too.  I enjoy plenty of other pizzas from other chains & from the local shops, all with no digestional discomfort.

I wrote to Pizza Hut a long time ago… and this is all I had to say…

Hello Fine Friends at Pizza Hut,

Contrary to the belief held by your delicious pizzas, my intestines are not a waterslide.  Can you please instruct the   to not use my digestive system as a waterslide park?  It would be very much appreciated!

Gotta go!
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Well, their answers back then were quite dissatisfying, and when I contacted them again via snail mail, my query went wholly unanswered.

Perhaps that’s why I waged another campaign of emails with a vengeance.  I looked up several Pizza Hut and Yum! Brands executives online, found the syntaxt of their respective companies’ email addresses, and fired off a few notes… as well as filled out the webform once or twice or so.

from ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
to Scott.Bergren@yum.com
date Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 8:28 AM
subject Intestinal Warfare?
mailed-by gmail.com

Hello,

This isn’t about a specific incident, but a general observation.  There was nowhere in the webform to indicate that, so I had to seek out some email addresses. I find it quite rude that there’s no general inquiry area, or a contact email address.

As for the purpose of my missive…

I would like to know why your pizza treats my intestines like a water park.  Every time I enjoy your delicious slices of pie, I feel like I have swallowed a hurricane that’s trying to escape via my …well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

I can assure you that I’m not lactose intolerant, but perhaps I’m allergic to something in your sauce or pie?  I don’t seem to have this problem with any other pizza places… chains or local.

Have any other customers written to you regarding gastrointestinal distress of any sort?  My cousin who works in a Pizza Hut in Ohio swears that they use a different sauce there, devoid of the same effects.

Thanks for your time!
-ERiC

Pizza Hut Allergen InformationThe email address experiment seemed to be to no avail.  I’ve either been blocked by IT, spam filters, or wholly ignored.  But, it looks like I did get a bite off of the webform…

from Dave Kronenwetter Davekronenwetter@aurorahuts.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
cc Ed Holt edholt@aurorahuts.com
date Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 9:16 AM
subject Pizza Hut Incident Eric Aixelsyd
mailed-by aurorahuts.com

Dear Mr. Aixelsyd,

I was sorry to hear about your experience at the local Pizza Hut. Let me assure you that the ingredients used here in Pennsylvania are the same quality ingredients that are used throughout the country. In most cases our ingredients come from the same suppliers. The following website lists possible allergen & sensitive ingredients : http://www.pizzahut.com/Files/pdf/Updated%20PH%20Allergen%20List%2004.17.09.pdf This website includes our nutritional information: http://www.pizzahut.com/Files/PDF/Pizza%20Hut%20Nutrition%20Info%2010.12.09.pdf. Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions you may have and I will handle them personally

Sincerely,
Dave Kronenwetter

Area Coach
Aurora Huts LLC
412-897-6775
davekronenwetter@aurorahuts.com

Interesting.  Well, at least now I have two good contacts… but perhaps my query will take a more serous and inquisitive turn.

Upon viewing the interesting pdf linked to by Mr. Kronenwetter, I see that a bunch of items there are marked “prepared in common equipment and therefore may contain allergens” in the shellfish column.  I’m not sure exactly why this is, because I don’t recall any shellfish on the Pizza Hut menu, and especially since the items marked are oddly random and specific…  Garlic Parmesan wings, and no others… three different pizza sauces… 3 of the 4 Tuscani pastas, and breadsticks.

I can only assume that these things arrive at Pizza Hut pre-made, and may come into contact with potential allergens at the manufacturing/processing/packaging facility?  Oh well, perhaps I can figure out a way to address this in a goofy manner, yet still yield some positive and enlightening results.  I know that many people suffer from the pizza hut digestion demon, and I really hope it’s not just some sanitary/kitchen issues.

Perhaps this too must move into snail mail territory.  For some reason, most companies seem to treat a real live letter with more respect than an email.

Yum!ballsI thought of Yum! Brands today as we watched Spaceballs…  In the characters Kernel Sandurz and Pizza the Hutt – both now Yum! Brands brands.  Would it be wrong of me to write to them and tell them that Mel Brooks is working on a new special edition of Spaceballs with more scenes, digitally inserted characters and creatures, and better re-vamped special effects… and that they’d like to include more Yum! Brands characters… like Captain Long John Silver and Taco Bell, and some droid sidekicks, A & W?