Friday, 15 November 2013

Warning! Alpro soya milk may contain nuts!

This post is a bit rough and ready I might pretty it up a bit later, but we're off for the weekend, and I've had to write this on my mobile. Thing is, I'm driven by a sense of disbelief and urgency. Alpro who are a leading manufacturer of dairy free milks in the UK are making changes that may affect a large number of those of us who completely rely on their products!! 

Basically, up until now, their soya milk and their nut milks have been manufactured in separate facilities. For those who have nut allergies, and are dairy free, this is a Godsend.
As many of us who suffer food allergies/intolerances know, they rarely come on their own - where there's one, others may follow. Which is why, even if nut allergies are not a problem currently for you, I'd ask you to keep reading and show your support for others.

Tweeter 'parrlox' (Lucy's Friendly Foods) recently noted that the allergy warning on Alpro soya cream had changed. As I understand it, further enquiry led to the information that Alpro would be combining their soya and nut production in one facility and that from 2014 all Alpro soya drinks will carry the nut warning.

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The new allergy warning is already appearing on Alpro products (Photo by parrlox)

Furthermore, this will affect all Alpro soya products: milk, cream, yoghurt etc. meaning that if you have a nut allergy and are also dairy free you could be playing Russian roulette if you consume any Alpro soya product. This is critical as, to the best of my knowledge, Alpro are currently the only manufacturer of reasonably priced and easy to obtain dairy free soya yoghurts (an important source of calcium for many) that are nut free.* 

Note the current allergy labelling on an Alpro soya product

It leaves me questioning whether the nut milks that Alpro produce will also carry a soya warning, as they will now be produced in a factory that processes soya. This could potentially cause me a problem. 

So what can we do? Well I don't believe apathy gets us anywhere. There is already a bit of a stir on Twitter. My plan is to email Alpro and find out whether they are prepared to listen and change their plans. I know that others who have concerns will be blogging on this too, so watch this space, I'll link them in. And please, if you use Alpro let them know your feelings too!

Here's where to send your thoughts/feelings: 

*Co-yo are also dairy, gluten and nut free, but are expensive and hard to come by, for some - hence schools and nurseries would not contemplate buying them.

Other blogs, you might like to read:

Nutmums: Alpro soya products no longer dairy free?

Important Update 18th August 2014:


Today, I was so pleased to read the  following on the Alpro SOS Face Book page:

Dear AlproSOS

As you know, a year ago we decided to label all our plant based products with a 'may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts' claim. This was to give consumers advance warning of the integration of products containing almonds or hazelnuts into its production facilities.

After thorough investigation and without compromising Alpro's ethical aims of bringing delicious and safe products to the market, we are PLEASED TO CONFIRM THAT WE WILL BE GRADUALLY REMOVING THE 'MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF ALMONDS AND HAZELNUTS' CLAIM FROM OUR SOYA, RICE AND OAT DRINKS AS WELL AS OUR PLANT-BASED ALTERNATIVES TO CREAM AND DESSERTS.

As part of a major investment in our facilities, we will ARRANGE OUR CURRENT PRODUCTION LINES TO BE DEDICATED TO PRODUCING SOYA, RICE AND OAT DRINKS OR ALMOND, HAZELNUT AND COCONUT DRINKS. ANY AVOIDABLE RISK OF CROSS CONTAMINATION IS THUS EXCLUDED, WHICH MEANS THE WARNING CAN BE REMOVED from our soya, rice and oat drink products and our plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts.

We apologise for any confusion relating to the nut claim, but our intention regarding labelling has always to keep consumers fully informed of the changes as early as possible. Now that production plans have changed, the claim is no longer necessary on soya, rice and oat drinks and our plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts.

These recent decisions and measures will allow all consumers to continue to enjoy Alpro soya, rice and oat drinks and our Alpro plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts in the future.

Ann De Jaeger
Vice President, Division General Counsel & Corporate Communications

Well done to all involved in the Alpro SOS campaign!!

Alpro SOS added the following comment: 

We need to clarify the situation re Provamel, which is an Alpro brand, but the rest seems pretty self-explanatory…

So keep watching this space!


  1. This one won't affect me but obviously I appreciate the concerns for others. I've always seen Alpro as a "healthy" brand rather than Free From they never market themselves in that way (or at least that's how I see it) so I'm not convinced we are their target market. This is probably a financial move for them and will the Free From crowd be enough of a market share to pull weight behind getting them to reconsider this move? I have my doubts

    1. S'funny, I would never have even considered Alpro before we had milk allergy problems in the family, but I think you're right. They also seem to play up a lot to the Vegan market, from what I have observed on Twitter. However, I think the Free From market is bigger than they realise. I do hope they will consider us!

    2. For the strict Vegans, Alpro is avoided because its parent company is a dairy producer so there is some controversy surrounding them. Also to the comment below, drives me crazy the scaremongering about soya, for some of us it's part of our diet without issue (has been mine since childhood) & also your blog post was about cross contamination not the "evils" of soya!

    3. Wow! Didn't know that Alpro do dairy as well! Really are trying to cover their bases aren't they?? Yes, you're right, although I have mentioned some of the concerns people have about soya elsewhere on this blog, this post was about cross-contamination. I do believe people ought to be informed about such concerns but at the end of the day, it is up to individuals to make their own decisions about what they consume. Also, I don't choose to dwell on these issues as I am concerned they may prove to be over-blown and that it's not helpful for those who rely on or even have no alternatives than soya-based products.

  2. Soya is highly allergenic and actually most people I know who are dairy free are advised (as are we by GOSH) to avoid soya apart from the highly purified soya lecithin which is an oil. (The vast majority are allergic to the proteins in foods which our immune system misguidedly thinks are pathogens.) Soya is also high in oestrogen's which are particularly bad for boys, and not good for older women and those at higher risk of breast cancer. There are so many alternatives available, like Oat milk, Coconut milk, Almond milk, Hemp milk that it may do a lot of people a big favour - and get them off soya. Western diets are becoming too soya heavy generally too.

    1. Like you I have my concerns about soya - personally I cannot tolerate it (except the lecithin, as you say), but I know that not everyone with allergies can afford to be choosy, especially when dealing with multiple allergies. Personally, I prefer Almond milk, but if Alpro moves its production, will their almond milk now be contaminated with soya? It may not be enough to make a difference, I don't know, but my concerns are even wider than that. Currently Alpro's almond milk is gluten free. I have been gluten intolerant for a few years now. Will they also make changes that will affect their gluten free status, by manufacturing their new oat milk in the same facility too? Either way I can't help but feeling for those who rely on Alpro's soya milk being nut free, which is why I personally am backing their concerns. If they can ride roughshod over one section of the Food Allergy community, what else might they do?

  3. This won't affect me as it is but I do wonder if the milk will stop being gluten free also, if they make their oat milks in the same factory. This would then affect me and many other people as Coeliacs, some of who are also dairy free. It's such a terrible idea by Alpro and I'm sure they'll soon realise this when they start losing money. Whilst I appreciate this is most likely just a cost saving measure, their sales will fall rapidly as they alienate their main customers and they'll realise that this wasn't cost saving at all! They'll no longer be a free-from market leader.

    Good luck with speaking to them, I'm sure hundreds of people affected will be behind you!

    1. Hi Kim! Thank you so much for your supportive comment - I'm glad you can see the importance of all this. Having been gluten free for the past few years, I was worried also about the gluten free issue and was intending to raise that also! In fact I had previously raised the issue of making their oat milk gluten free as as option for those Coeliacs who can tolerate oats and they appeared to take this on board! Here's hoping they really do care about the needs of their free from customers and will change their plans!!

  4. Raising a debate on this very important issue is vital if the voice of the allergic nation is to be heard. The likelihood of being both allergic to nuts and soya is slim, as soya tends to be a non-IgE mediated gut allergy whereas nuts are very much IgE mediated. However, there is also the risk of family history of IgE mediated nut reactions in non-IgE mediated allergies in offspring, and how do families manage that. What are we going to advise 1 year olds who I would normally recommend Alpro 1+ to if they can tolerate soya products, but may be at risk of allergies to nuts based on family history.
    The chance of non IgE mediated allergies to soya and cereal products however, is much greater and of more concern for the same individual e.g. soya and oats.
    It is a very complex and worrying issue for parents to have to cope with, on top of everything else. Then of course there is the issue for caterers and if they want to guarantee their products are safe for the majority of allergens, they won't be able to use this either.
    Could go on, but must get kids from school. Good luck - I'll support you where I can.

    1. Thanks Lisa! Your support as an informed and experienced professional in this field, is really appreciated. I really hope that Alpro will take note of what you and other dietitian's, allergists etc. have to say! :)