"I just returned all my clif bars to Trader Joes. Not a problem. They didn't know about the problem with the Organic brown rice syrup containing arsenic yet. I sure hope that Clif bars comes out with an alternative and a explanation. I also hope, I didn't jeopardize my health."
This isn't the kind of post you want on your company Facebook page. But it is the kind of post you earn by failing to respond to a question with the same urgency it is asked.
Clif Bar is a well-known and well-liked maker of nutritious, organic food. Go to any marathon or road bike event and you will find Clif Bars everywhere as a source of quick, healthy energy.
"Good food provides health, joy and energy, and is a delight to the senses," says the Clif Bar website. "And food, made right, can make the world a better place."
Unfortunately, the website's home page doesn't include any timely commentary about a study released last week raising concerns about arsenic levels in brown rice syrup, a sweetening ingredient found in Clif Bars, as well as infant formula and other high energy bars.
There is a natural place on the website for this commentary to say — "We recognize that food matters top our families, our communities and our planet — as our food choices affect the physical, social and environmental fabric of our lives." But the commentary is missing.
There are more than 91,000 Facebook fans on Clif Bar's page and a number of them asked the company for an explanation. Here is what one fan got on February 17:
"Thanks for taking the time to contact us. At Clif Bar & Company, food safety is our number one priority and your health is paramount. All Clif Bar & Company foods fully comply with U.S. laws and regulations and our own strict quality standards. We are aware of the 2/16/12 brown rice syrup study. It is important to understand that arsenic exists naturally in the soil, water and air, and trace levels can be found in all rice, and a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and seafood. Low levels of this naturally occurring substance do not pose a safety concern. We have a dedicated food safety and quality assurance staff that makes sure our ingredients and our foods are healthy and nutritious. We appreciate your question."