Last Tuesday, Scratch or Sniff published this lengthy article, after days of research and calls to several P&G brands. The TL;DR is this: P&G has confirmed, various times, to Scratch or Sniff and hundreds of consumers, that several common household products (Dawn, Swiffer, Febreze, etc) include peanut and tree nut oils without disclosing on the packaging. We continued to call after the article went live to confirm our findings, and brand representatives as well as P&G’s website confirmed the presence of “traces of nuts” in products, including their hypoallergenic products (Dawn Pure Essentials and Allergen Reducer.) Dawn, Swiffer, and Febreze offered refunds to consumers who asked for them due to peanut and tree nut allergies.
Over the weekend, however, several Scratch or Sniff readers starting receiving contradictory phone calls and emails from P&G.
“We appreciate your contacting us with your comments about peanut oil in our Dawn products and understand your concerns. We’ve looked into your question further and have received confirmation that none of our Dawn dishwashing liquids contain peanut oil. We require that all perfumes and fragrances in our products are free of peanut oil or any of its derivatives. Also, P&G requires our labels on the packaging indicate if the product contains nut oils. We are working as quickly as possible to correct the information on our websites.”
Dawn called me (as a consumer, not as the owner of Scratch or Sniff) and we had this conversation:
Dawn rep: “Just letting you know this call is being recorded.”
RC: “Hold on one second. Okay, this call is being recorded on my end, as well.”
Dawn rep: “We did look into your question further. We have received confirmation that none of our Dawn dishwashing liquids contain any kind of peanut oil or their derivatives. We also want to let you know that we require that all perfumes and fragrances in our products are free of peanut oil or their derivatives. If any of our products do contain nut oils it will be stated on the packaging. We do require it on the labels, that if they do have nut oil, that it is on there. So we wanted to let you know. We are also working to update the information on our website so it does have the correct information there.”
RC: “When I spoke with Dawn last week, I was told there absolutely are traces of peanuts in the product. You’re telling me moving forward there will no longer be, or currently there aren’t any?
Dawn rep: “There are not any. There has not been any. If there had been any, we would definitely have it on the label.”
RC: “Do you know why I was told otherwise?”
Dawn rep: “I don’t know why that information was shared. In general, we do just say that unless it specifically states it on the packaging, it could possibly contain some trace amounts, because our perfumes are usually purchased through other businesses. But with this, basically, we do actually have done that additional research at this time to verify that there are no peanut oil or peanut byproducts at all.”
Last week’s email to Tiffany, Scratch or Sniff writer:
And this week’s email:
This information coupled with the information we all received – repeatedly – last week is confusing, to say the least. The website still lists peanut oil, almond oil, and sesame oil in ingredient lists, and people have emails from P&G brands with completely opposing information. If P&G brands are indeed moving forward with labeling products that contain a trace amount of peanuts, I’d say that’s a win for the allergy community, but this debacle has likely caused P&G to lose credibility among some its consumers.