Got some cool shots from the Pittsburgh Zoo on Sunday, thought I’d share some of my favorites. Just click on the thumb to see the full-size image:
Did you see my allergen warning sign photos from Dunkin’ Donuts and Giant Eagle? I wrote to both of them to thank them for displaying the signs. Giant Eagle was the first to reply, and now I’ve heard from Dunkin’ Donuts. I submitted the following via webform:
I was in the Dunkin’ Donuts in Dormont this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this allergen warning sign: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/Signs/p_00527.jpg
As someone who has a severe allergy, I found this to be a responsible and proactive decision on the part of Dunkin’ Donuts, and I just wanted you to know that it’s an appreciated gesture.
Thankfully, my allergy isn’t to peanuts, or I’d most likely go nowhere near your fine establishments, much like I currently avoid Red Lobster and Long John Silver’s due to my shellfish allergy.
I did, as the sign suggested, go to https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/nutrition/ in order to see allergen information for some of my favorite menu items.
I also see that you have a blanket *.pdf available showing nutrition information for all of your products. Do you have something like this for allergens in all of your products?
It’s a red flag for me that you have “Crustaceans” on the list, and even expand upon it under the data table with “Crustaceans include, crab, crayfish, lobster, and shrimp.”
Do any of these creepy little sea-bugs show up in any of your products? My curiosity is piqued, my friends!
Thank you for your time, and for responsibly posting allergen warnings. I look forward to hearing from you!
Not dead yet,
Ant they wrote back…
From: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tue, October 12, 2010
Subject: Case# 7577485 – Dunkin’ Donuts
Thank you for taking the time to contact Dunkin’ Donuts.
To answer your questions regarding allergens, the stores should have a printed document available behind the counter that will tell you if any of the allergens required to be listed by the FDA are in our products.
If you call our Consumer Care line, they can tell you as well.
As far as the shell fish listing on our forms, that form is required by the FDA. We have to show it on the form but you won’t see it checked off for any of our products.
I hope this answered your questions.
You can reach us at 800-859-5339 M-F 8:30AM to 5:00PM EST.
At Dunkin’ Donuts we value our customers and are committed to making your visits to our stores a pleasant experience.
Thank you and have a great day.
Customer Relations Associate
Reference # 7577485
It’s interesting how people intemperate the laws… I certainly don’t see standardized allergen information on all food-related websites. I’m glad that companies like this are at least trying to be active in their warning, and hope it’s not just a “CYA” measure.
It’s also interesting to note that I received a the same exact reply to this message at least 13 times, all with the same case/reference number. Weird.
So, remember my allergen warning sign photos from Dunkin’ Donuts and Giant Eagle? I wrote to both of them to thank them for displaying the signs, and Giant Eagle is the first to reply. I submitted this via webform:
I’d like to thank you for actively posting allergen awareness/warning signage. Sunday, I came upon this sign above some chocolate chunk (& other) cookies on a display table at the GE in Parkway Center: http://bit.ly/bg09rX
As someone with a severe allergy to shellfish, I appreciate these kinds of signs… but the all-inclusive sign begs the question: Did these cookies come into contact with any shellfish in the bakery? I hope not! I worry enough about the crab cakes & seafood salad in the deli counters!
Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you!
And their reply:
From: sc autoemail <email@example.com>
To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Sent: Fri, October 8, 2010 9:06:49 AM
Subject: In response to Giant Eagle Incident #: 12702111
ServiceCenter Operator: arabia michele
In response to your recent communication:
Incident #: 12702111
Store: Parkway Center Giant Eagle Hello, I’d like to tha
At 10/08/10 09:06:47 we wrote:
10/08/10 09:06:47 (arabia michele):
Good Morning Eric,
Thank you for contacting Giant Eagle and for sharing your thoughts and concerns with us regarding our allergen signs and the possibility of cross-contamination of shellfish in the bakery.
The sign was generated to alert allergen sensitive customers that our stores do process all allergens. You are correct in your assumption that seafood is not present in the bakery department. We appreciate your feedback and will use it to determine signage needs in the future.
If you have any further questions or comments, please contact our Customer Care Department toll-free at 1-800-553-2324.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact us and please know that we welcome your thoughts and feedback in the future.
Bakery Merchandising Department
Giant Eagle, Inc.
I’d like to see stores become more active in labeling prepared foods, but this is a a start. As noted in the comments on my last allergy post, they are currently doing more than required by law… so that’s a good thing.
Over the weekend I was at two places where I saw these allergen signs, the Dunkin’ Donuts in Dormont, and the Giant Eagle in Parkway Center. Generally when I see these signs it makes me happy that the place who’s taking my money is at the very least aware that there are products that they have on the premises that may cause certain people some discomfort or possibly even death.
In viewing the allergen information online as the sign suggests, I’m glad that a glazed donut doesn’t contain any crustaceans, but I may now have to scour the rest of the site to see if anything does. Ha ha ha.
I gambled yesterday, hoping that the chocolate chunk cookies I purchased didn’t come into contact with any shellfish in the bakery. If I died from eating them, according to this sign, it’s my fault. I was warned, and should have discussed the risks of cross-contamination with my doctor.
You’ll hopefully be glad to know that I’m not dead, and I had a few cookies last night. Wow, I had poor eating habits this weekend. Ha ha ha. Donuts & Cookies.
At any rate, the fact that they simply acknowledge that allergies exist is a great start. It’s sad, but so many other food-service companies go with the “it’s not our problem” mantra. I always thought that Five Guys Burgers & Fries to be very pro-active with their peanut allergy warnings, and I have commented on the Market District in Robinson’s allergen warnings before.
If you suffer from allergies, do these signs make you feel safer, or are they a blanket statement like “No Lifeguard on Duty” or “Park at Your Own Risk”, trying to absolve the poster of any wrongdoing should a mishap occur?
The blanket statement from Giant Eagle seems a little forced, or an afterthought… as I’m sure there aren’t many lobster cookies in the bakery, but then again there just might be. How am I to know? Do I just take this sign as a warning to not eat any food that they prepare? The sign itself is a great thing, but if it were tailored just a little more to the actual product, it might be more comforting.
I know I’m always afraid of the stuff in the deli counter that’s next to the crab cakes or a seafood salad… I don’t want a pasta salad with death-fish in it. Yes, that one little glob of death-juice can kill me. I don’t see any allergen warning signs there where they’d also be appropriate. But, I don’t want to get down on Giant Eagle. They are taking steps in the right direction. Perhaps I’ll even send them a quick email to let them know that as someone who suffers from a severe food allergy, I appreciate the signage.
If you suffer from allergies, have someone in the family that does, or have a friend that blathers incessantly about them (like me), I’d like to hear your thoughts on the signs. Are they a good thing, or a bad thing? Are they proactive or defensive?
What if you suffer from one that’s not a “big 8” allergen but also quite prevalent like corn, peppers, or chocolate?
So, the other night a ridiculous storm that lasted only a few minutes wreaked havoc all over Pittsburgh’s south hills. With the electric out and not much else to do, the fun thing for us to do when it’s light out & no longer raining is to go to the park with a camera. I got some interesting shots of the storm damage as darkness fell, and we ran into a bunch of people in the park from the surrounding area, and we were all quite talkative.
(Is it odd that we have a regular “routine” for when the power goes out?)
One young man was walking his dog, and I got a few pics of the dog that he said he’d like to see. No problem, right? I asked him to write down his email address.
In hindsight, I have no idea why I don’t think like it’s the 2010s and just put information like this in my phone that’s always in my pocket.
Why is that an issue? Well, this is what I got…
I’d certainly like to email the kid the photos… hopefully they have power by now too. I just really have no idea what that says… other than “@msn.com”. I think.
I’d appreciate any help/suggestions that you may have!
If you’re interested in taking a look at my photos, you can check them out on Photobucket:
Here’s a weird bug, a tree that just needed to sit for a minute, the dog, and a shot that isn’t storm damage, but I like it anyway:
Bethany & I went to the National Aviary on Sunday, & I had the opportunity to photograph some really beautiful colorful birds. We also walked through the park afterward, and found a squirrel who apparently had aspirations of a career in modeling.
If you live in the ‘Burgh, you know we got some serious storm winds & some damage on Friday afternoon. The storm hit one of my favorite places to take photos, Dormont Park. So, of course I got some pictures of some trees knocked over and a utility pole down.
To see the whole album, check it out in slideshow or grid form. We were without power for about a day and a half… and no damage was done to our place, so it could have been a lot worse. I just thought the twisted broken trees made for some good photo subjects.
I reported the downed utility pole to Duquesne Light on Saturday right after I saw it… went back to look around today, it was still down… no caution tape or anything up, so I called the Dormont police. Hopefully they send someone in to clean up, there’s usually a decent amount of people in the park, hope no one would come across the stuff & get hurt.
Also, in the same set of photos… nothing really to do with the storm, we hit up Chick-fil-A for breakfast & the use of a power outlet to charge our phones on Saturday morning as our power was out, I happened to have my camera in the car… I saw some kind of hawk or falcon on a light pole near the Chick-fil-A in South Hills. At first I thought it was an owl, upon a second glance I really wasn’t sure at all.
Anyone know what it is?
I recently submitted a photo to the Only In Pittsburgh blog, and they posted it today (Thanks Brett!). So, this is nothing more than shameless self-promotion. The photo featured is my current desktop @ work, and was part of a set that I took last year at PNC Park.
I find the bridge more visually interesting than anything actually in the park. I need to go back down & get some more views of the city this summer. I have no idea how I managed to get a night photo that wasn’t blurry without the use of a tripod.
I thought I was going to have to learn to knit, but my wife Bethany has volunteered to step in and take over the knitting. Not that I’d mind learning to knit if I could turn out awesome hats like this…
How freakin’ awesome is that hat? Seriously. It’ll have to go into rotation with the Misfits, Flogging Molly, & Pens ones that I’m always sporting in cold weather.