If you live in Ontario, you may have seen this sign and got excited about when the Farm Boy grocery store would be open near you. I know I did and now there are two locations within walking distance of where I live.
Farm Boy started out as a produce store in Cornwall, Ontario in 1981. As they grew the business and added more stores, they eventually branched out to include a bakery, butcher, cheese, deli and seafood departments. They also have their own line of Farm Boy branded products and a hot counter/salad bar for grab and go. Many people compare Farm Boy to Trader Joe’s in the US. Most likely because both focus on promoting and selling their own private label items in-store over other brands.
Farm Boy has been praised for their fresh produce, unique and tasty snack items plus reasonable prices (for this economy anyway) for years. They ventured into the Toronto market in 2020 so the wait for me was over. The stores are very clean and well organized but after a few visits it just scares me now. Why? Because I have a peanut allergy.
For those with food allergies, you know that you always have to read the label before you commit to buying a product. I thought that a peanut allergy is one of the most common and fatal food allergies especially in children. I don’t know if I am in the wrong for wondering why a grocery chain can not not separate these allergens out? Are they just unwilling?
This is what I see often:
PRODUCED IN A FACILITY WHERE THESE COMMON ALLERGENS ARE PRESENT: PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, SEASAME, EGGS, FISH/SEAFOOD, SOY, GLUTEN/WHEAT, SULPHITES AND MUSTARD.
Any of these allergens can trigger breathing issues, itching, hives, breathing issues, abdominal pain, diarrhea, swelling of face or airways and even death.
Maybe you’re thinking I shouldn’t shop there. You’re right. I won’t. But I also have to worry about going to someone’s home and eating food they may offer. Are they aware that common food allergens could affect their guests? Are they aware the items they are serving may contain these allergens? I’m talking about their common in-store brand items like burgers, fresh soups, guacamole, and salads. What about the grab and go hot counter? Is there even a sign with this warning right by the rice, meat or vegetable dish they are serving? When I shop at other grocery stores like Loblaws, Longos, Metro and No Frills, I don’t have this heightened worry over everyday items.
I repeat that I will not shop there because it is not safe for me personally to do so. It might be fine for you but I’m sharing this information so everyone is aware of the potential dangers. You may have someone with a severe food allergy in your life. Please read the labels! Lives may depend on it.