Bad news for vegan toddlers: your favorite lunch staple has been removed from store shelves. Boulder Brands, manufacturer of specialty foods, recently announced that its vegan macaroni and cheese may actually contain dairy, and if you're wondering which Earth Balance mac and cheese was recalled, the short answer is, all of it. Earth Balance offers two varieties — Vegan Cheddar Mac & Cheese and Vegan White Cheddar Mac & Cheese — and they've both been recalled after several consumers notified the company that they'd suffered allergic reactions suggesting that a dairy allergen may have found its way into the products. In an email to Romper, Boulder Brands said it has no additional comment to offer.
All Earth Balance mac and cheese products expiring in 2017 have been recalled. They can be identified by the "17" embossed on the bottom of the box. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a full list of the affected date codes. Consumers should return the product to the store where it was purchased for a refund, and Boulder Brands can be reached at 1-888-299-7646 for any questions. The news is particularly concerning not just for those with dairy allergies, but also for vegans who may have a moral objection to consuming animal products. And though the customers' reports led Boulder Brands to believe that a dairy contamination is the culprit for the allergic reactions, it's important to note that it's unconfirmed, so even those who are OK with dairy might want to steer clear just to be safe.
The manufacturer issued the following statement:
Boulder Brands, Inc. is voluntarily recalling Earth Balance Vegan White Cheddar Mac & Cheese and Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Mac & Cheese. The products are being recalled as the health and safety of our consumers as our top priority. Boulder Brands initiated the recall after being informed by consumers that the product may contain a dairy allergen. People with a dairy allergy or sensitivity run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
The Food and Drug Association has been made aware of this recall. Several consumers have informed the Company concerning allergic reactions suggesting the presence of a dairy allergen.
The recalled products were distributed nationally. All affected distributors and retail customers are being notified and the affected products are being removed from store shelves.
All products expiring in 2017 are being recalled. The recalled items can be identified by the code embossed on the bottom of the package. The ‘17’ in the code identifies product that will expire in 2017.
This is a bad week for mac and actual cheese fans, too. On Sunday, TreeHouse Foods recalled some of its mac and cheese products because of a possible salmonella contamination, according to Fortune. Big Win Original Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, Cheese Club Express Mac Macaroni & Cheese Dinner and Great Value Macaroni & Cheese Original Cups have all been recalled. While no illnesses have been reported as of yet, TreeHouse's supplier notified them that the milk powder in the cheese seasoning packet may be contaminated.
While dairy eaters have plenty of other options to choose from, there are precious few brands of vegan mac and cheese, and consumers may not be able to find much variety at their local grocery store. There's no word on when store shelves might be replenished, and as any parent knows, when a kid wants mac and cheese, nothing else will do. Luckily, you can make your own in about 20 minutes, according to this vegan mac and cheese recipe that has the internet raving. That is, assuming you have raw cashews, coconut milk, and some nutritional yeast flakes just lying around your kitchen. Here's hoping the kids can't tell the difference.