Amy’s Kitchen, Organic Foods

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FAQ: Ask Amys

Click the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information about Amy's Kitchen. If you don't see your question here feel free to contact us:

General Product Questions

  1. 1. What is rennet?
  2. 2. Do you use packaging that can be recycled?
  3. 3. I just bought an Amy's product. The nutritional information on the box is different than what is on your website. Why is that? Which one is right?
  4. 4. I bought your product, but accidentally placed it in my refrigerator and it thawed out. Can I still eat it?
  5. 5. Why is there so much fat and sodium in some your products?
  6. 6. Why do the grams on the per serving nutritional label not add up to the actual weight of one serving?
  7. 7. Is the plastic overwrap on your frozen products safe to microwave?
  8. 8. What are trans fats? Do Amy’s products contain trans fats?
  9. 9. Does Amy's use cans with BPA liners?
  10. 10. All microwaves differ in wattage; how do i know that your microwave cooking instructions are accurate?"
  11. 11. Where can I find the "Best Before” Dates on your products?

Special Diets / Allergies

  1. 1. I have several food allergies. Is there a possibility of cross contamination in your facility?
  2. 2. Do your foods contain MSG?
  3. 3. Do any of your products contain peanuts?
  4. 4. What is the difference between lactose free & dairy free? Are they the same?
  5. 5. Why aren't your soy cheeze products dairy free?
  6. 6. I have sensitivities to some spices and you don't list your spices on your ingredient panel. How do I know if the spices I am allergic to are in your product?
  7. 7. I am a vegan. Do you have any products that are vegan?
  8. 8. Are Amy's products certified Kosher?

Why Vegetarian?

  1. 1. What is a vegetarian?
  2. 2. How is Amy's Kitchen vegetarian?

Miscellaneous

  1. 1. Where can I buy Amy's products?
  2. 2. I saw some items on your site that my local Amy's vendor does not carry. What should I do?
  3. 3. What is organic certification? Are all Amy's products 100% organic?
  4. 4. Can I buy your products directly from you? Can I buy them online?
  5. 5. Can I buy stock in Amy's Kitchen? Is Amy's publicly traded?
  6. 6. What is Amy’s Human Rights Policy?

Q. What is rennet?

A. This is a general term used for the enzyme used to clot the milk during the cheese-making process. Although in the past, some rennet came from calves stomachs, excellent microbial/vegetarian rennets have been available for many years. Amy's insists that no animal enzymes are used in any of the cheeses that we use in our products. Our suppliers sign agreements to that effect.

Q. Do you use packaging that can be recycled?

A. Amy's Kitchen cartons are made from unbleached boards with no poly coating on the inside and clay coating on the outside. These cartons are recyclable at most recycling facilities. Please check to make sure that recycling programs for this type of package exist in your area.

Amy's believes that it is important to support recycling efforts. We have projects underway at this time to increase the quantity of recycled materials used in our paperboard, to reduce the coating on the pizza cartons to make them easier to recycle and to put recycling information on all of our packages.

Q. I just bought an Amy's product. The nutritional information on the box is different than what is on your website. Why is that? Which one is right?

A. It is at times necessary to change the ingredient statements or nutrition facts on our products, which results in changes to our packaging. Because Amy's products are not sold directly to consumers, there is a delay between the time new packaging gets used and when new packaging arrives in the store. Any packaging changes that occur are changed on our website as the packaging arrives at our manufacturing facility. Therefore, the information on the website is often more accurate. If you are still unsure about any discrepancies, please contact Amy's customer relations via telephone or email.

Q. I bought your product, but accidentally placed it in my refrigerator and it thawed out. Can I still eat it?

A. If a product is accidentally placed in the home refrigerator instead of the freezer, it will probably still be safe to eat, as long as the temperature of the product has not exceeded refrigerator temperatures (should be below 40 degrees F at all times). However, the texture of the product may not be optimum and cooking procedures would be different from a fully frozen product.

You should never buy a partially thawed product from the store, since it is difficult to say what the exact temperature history of that product might be and the flavor and texture of the product may not be up to Amy's usual high standards. You should use common sense when deciding whether or not to use a thawed product — if it doesn't feel right to you, discard the product.

Q. Why is there so much fat and sodium in some your products?

A. Amy's Kitchen tries to minimize the amount of fat and sodium in all our products, but we also want the products to taste the very best they can to the large majority of Amy's customers. So, although some of Amy's products are acceptable to many who are generally trying to cut down on fat and sodium, they are not intended specifically as medical foods. Amy's customers should read the labels carefully and make their own decisions regarding the use of Amy's products as part of their overall diet plan.

Q. Why do the grams on the per serving nutritional label not add up to the actual weight of one serving?

A. The reason for this is because water is not listed among the items on the nutritional panel. Most foods and ingredients such as milk, vegetables, cheeses, cooked pasta, etc. naturally contain significant amounts of water.

Q. Is the plastic overwrap on your frozen products safe to microwave?

A. At Amy’s Kitchen, we make sure that all the plastic films and coatings used in the packaging of our frozen products are safe to use.

The concern about the use of plastic films and coatings in food packaging is based on research showing that some plastics, including PVC, have plasticizers in them that could leak into food at low levels. Because of this, Amy's Kitchen requires that all plastic films and coatings used in the packaging of our frozen products be free of plasticizers. 

At Amy's, the film around each tray (the overwrap) is made of stretched polypropylene. Polypropylene does not contain plasticizers. Our trays are paper, lined with PET, which is also free of plasticizers.
 
Burrito packages are made of PET, with an inner polyethylene film in contact with the burritos.  Neither of these films contains plasticizers. 
 
These measures have been taken to ensure that all of our packaging material is safe for use. However, if you would prefer not to cook in plastic, our products can be easily removed from the original container and cooked in glass.

Q. What are trans fats? Do Amy’s products contain trans fats?

A. Most trans fats in the American diet are formed when vegetable oils are chemically changed to give them a longer shelf life, but trans fats do occur naturally in small amounts in some foods, including dairy products. Amy’s products with dairy ingredients have a very low level of naturally occurring trans fat. The level is so low (less than 0.5 grams/serving) that the FDA has defined them as having “0 grams” trans fats.

Q. Does Amy's use cans with BPA liners?

BPA is not used in the lining of our cans.

Q. All microwaves differ in wattage; how do i know that your microwave cooking instructions are accurate?"

Microwave Wattage

Suggested Cooking Times & Adjustments

700

Add approximately  2 minutes 15 seconds cooktime

750

Add approximately  2 minutes cooktime

800

Add approximately  1 minute 30 seconds cooktime

850

Add approximately  1 minute 15 seconds cooktime

900

Add approximately  1 minute cooktime

950

Add approximately 55 seconds cooktime

1000

Add approximately 35 seconds cooktime

1100

Follow cooking instructions on packaging

1200

Reduce approximately 10 seconds

1250

Reduce approximately20 seconds

1300

Reduce approximately35 seconds

Q. Where can I find the "Best Before” Dates on your products?

The shelf life of our product represents the amount of time the product can be stored and still have the best flavor and texture.  When the shelf life is exceeded on frozen, canned, jarred and grocery items, it does not mean the food is unsafe to eat; it means that the appearance, flavor, and texture might not be up to Amy’s Kitchen’s normal standards. Here's where you can find the "best before" dates on Amy's products.

Frozen Bowls, Entrees and Desserts:   on the side of the box

Frozen Burritos:  on the back flap of the wrapper

Non Dairy Frozen Dessert:  on  the bottom of the carton

Canned Soup, Chili and Beans:  on the bottom of the can

Jarred Pasta Sauces and Salsa:  on the shoulders of the jars

Cookies: on the side of the box

Candy: on the back flap of the wrapper

Q. I have several food allergies. Is there a possibility of cross contamination in your facility?

A. Amy's Kitchen recognizes the needs of our customers who have allergies or sensitivities to nuts, gluten, certain spices, etc. Amy's always fully discloses all ingredients (except for specific spices used in the product) on the ingredient statement and will answer any questions that will help consumers decide what products they can safely consume.

A wide range of activities and cross-checks are completed to ensure that cross-contamination and/or inadvertent use of the wrong ingredient does not occur in our facilities

Q. Do your foods contain MSG?

A. Amy's adds no monosodium glutamate (MSG) flavor enhancer directly to any of our products. If you are extremely sensitive to MSG, you may want to avoid foods and ingredients that naturally contain MSG such as Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, tomatoes, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and other ingredients as recommended by your doctor. All ingredients are listed in the ingredient statements on our packages.

Q. Do any of your products contain peanuts?

A. Because peanut allergies can be extremely dangerous (and even life threatening) to a very small percentage of the population, Amy's uses no peanut products as ingredients in our food.

Q. What is the difference between lactose free & dairy free? Are they the same?

A. Lactose-free products are NOT the same as Dairy Free products.

People who are sensitive to dairy products are usually sensitive to either lactose (the sugar naturally present in milk) or to the milk protein. Products that are called "Lactose Free" do not contain any milk sugar, but they may contain isolated, lactose-free milk protein as caseinate.

"Dairy Free" products do not contain lactose or milk proteins. If you would like to avoid milk proteins or dairy completely, you should only purchase Amy's products that are labeled "Dairy Free," "non-dairy," or "vegan."

Q. Why aren't your soy cheeze products dairy free?

A. In some of Amy's products like Tofu Vegetable Lasagna, we use soy cheeze instead of dairy cheese, for the benefit of our customers who are trying to avoid dairy cheeses. However, Amy's does not label these products as "dairy free" because they contain a small amount of caseinate, a milk/dairy protein which helps the soy cheeze to melt and stretch. Amy's clearly labels the soy cheeze as containing caseinate, a milk derived protein.

Q. I have sensitivities to some spices and you don't list your spices on your ingredient panel. How do I know if the spices I am allergic to are in your product?

A. Amy's customers who are sensitive or allergic to certain spices are welcome to call or email Amy's and get more information. Please let the Amy's Customer Relations staff know which products you are interested in and the spice that you are sensitive to, so they can completely address your concern.

Q. I am a vegan. Do you have any products that are vegan?

A. Amy's products are clearly labeled in the ingredients statements to allow customers who desire vegan products to choose which of Amy's products are useful to them. Of course all Amy's Kitchen products are vegetarian, but not all are vegan. Our customers can decide which of these vegetarian products to use based on presence of cheese, honey, milk, butter, etc. in them. Please use the Search function in our Products Page and click on vegan for a list of Amy's items that are vegan.

Q. Are Amy's products certified Kosher?

A. Yes, most of Amy's products are certified Kosher through Rabbi Saffra of Tablet K.  We still have a few products not yet certified, so we encourage you to check the front of the package for the Kosher symbol.

Q. What is a vegetarian?

A vegetarian is a person who abstains from eating meat, fish or poultry. There are several subcategories of vegetarians.

Lacto-Ova vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but do eat eggs and dairy.

Lacto vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs, but do eat dairy. Most of Amy's products are lacto vegetarian.

Pure Veg or Vegans do not eat any animal products, including dairy and sometimes honey. Amy's has several suitable dishes that are vegan.

Q. How is Amy's Kitchen vegetarian?

Our company is deeply committed to producing and selling great tasting vegetarian food. This is not a 'marketing gimmick’ with us; rather it's a reflection of who we are and how we live. Amy's is a family business, and we are a vegetarian family.

Amy is a third generation vegetarian who has never eaten any sort of meat in her life. Amy's Grandfather was the first to become a vegetarian in 1968. Her mother, Rachel, became a vegetarian at 16 when she realized that the lamb chop she was eating was once a live lamb. When she and her brother Joel stopped eating meat as teenagers, their mother was afraid they would get sick and die from malnutrition. They didn't, and she soon joined them in following a meatless diet. This wasn't as easy to do in the 70's as it is in the 21st century.

Before Amy's Kitchen was set up in 1988, there were no convenient frozen meals in the marketplace that vegetarians could eat. Restaurants offered not much more than cheese sandwiches, salads and baked potatoes. Vegetarian airline and train travelers usually had to bring their own food.

Things have changed. Nowadays, most supermarkets and grocery stores carry large selections of vegetarian frozen and grocery items suitable for vegetarians. Restaurants often have at least one vegetarian dish on the menu and airlines have several choices. (Continental Airlines and Amtrak even offer some Amy's Kitchen products.)

Q. Where can I buy Amy's products?

A. Use our Store Locator or Supermarket List to find a reputable Amy's vendor near you.

Q. I saw some items on your site that my local Amy's vendor does not carry. What should I do?

A. Most natural food stores carry a large variety of Amy's products, but may not carry all of them because of limited space. Supermarkets often carry a limited amount of Amy's items. If you would like to see a particular Amy's product carried by your local store, we suggest you contact the frozen foods buyer in that store and ask them to consider selling the product you are interested in. In some cases, stores will special order items they do not carry for consumers. It never hurts to ask!

Q. What is organic certification? Are all Amy's products 100% organic?

A. Organic certification is the process by which independent third party certifiers (such as Quality Assurance International, California Certified Organic Farmer's, Oregon Tilth, etc) check the records and practices of a farmer or processor and certify that their products are being grown and processed in accordance with the USDA's National Organic Program. The National Organic Program took effect on October 21, 2002 and established national standards for organic practices and labeling. These standards serve to define the term "organic" in the same way through all states. All organic certifiers now have to be recognized by the USDA.

Amy's Kitchen is certified by Quality Assurance International. Our products are either "organic," which means they contain 95+% organic ingredients (excluding water or salt) or "made with organic ingredients," which means they contain 70 — 95% organic ingredients. Quality Assurance International is accredited to certify organic operations under the new National Organic Program.

Q. Can I buy your products directly from you? Can I buy them online?

A. Amy's Kitchen products are available to the public at natural foods and grocery stores, warehouse and club stores, and leading supermarkets throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Amy's is available online through various retailers or online shopping services. Check our Buy Online section to see if an online vendor delivers in your area.

Q. Can I buy stock in Amy's Kitchen? Is Amy's publicly traded?

A. No, Amy's Kitchen is a family business that is privately owned and operated.

Q. What is Amy’s Human Rights Policy?

Amy’s is dedicated to human rights, ethical actions and transparent policies of integrity. This applies to all sourcing and production processes.

Amy’s is committed to operating in a socially responsible, ethical manner at all times and to maintaining the company’s reputation with the public and within the industry, of being a company of high integrity and holding a leadership role in the organic foods world. 

Amy’s believes in the protection and advancement of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) issued by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948 and in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labor Organization (ILO), adopted by the International Labor Conference of June 18, 1998.

All our company policies reflect these core values and ethical standards.

Equal Opportunity
Amy’s Kitchen does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual preference, age, disability, or veteran status. This applies to recruitment, hiring, training, promotion, disciplinary practices and other terms and conditions of employment.

Discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment is a serious violation of equal employment opportunity law and of Amy’s Kitchen policies. It is the responsibility of every supervisory employee to ensure that discrimination does not occur and for every employee to report violations to our policy or the law.

Amy’s Kitchen will take action to ensure that qualified applicants are given equal opportunity to be employed and promoted. All personnel actions and company-sponsored programs shall continue to be administered on a nondiscriminatory basis. Violations of policy will be reviewed, investigated, and appropriate action taken based on the facts.

Health, Environment and Safety
Amy’s Kitchen is committed to ensuring the health, safety and well being of our employees, the people living and working in communities near our facilities, and the environment. 

As part of this commitment, Amy’s Kitchen uses natural, and organically-grown vegetarian ingredients from environmentally responsible supplies and ensures that employees and contractors work safely and comply with company policies and the law, to prevent pollution and to protect the environment.  Training is provided to our employees on these company policies and legal requirements.

For our employees, in addition to established employee healthcare insurance coverage, Amy’s has on-site Family Health Centers for employees and their families at its production facilities in order to provide convenient access to high quality health services.

No Tolerance of Harassment and Violence
Amy’s Kitchen is committed to providing our employees with a nondiscriminatory work environment free of any type of harassment per company policy and the law. Supervisory employees must report and collaborate with the investigation of all complaints of harassment and employees are advised on their responsibility to report violations. The company will take appropriate disciplinary actions for violation of policy or law.

All verbal and physical threats of violent behavior are unacceptable and should be reported as outlined in the Amy’s Kitchen Workplace Violence Policy. Every report of violence or threats of violence will be investigated. Employees who engage in violence or threats of violence will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment as well as criminal prosecution.

The Rights of Employees
Amy’s Kitchen firmly believes that a work environment should be freely chosen and free of threats.  Amy’s Kitchen does not use forced or compulsory labor. Workers at Amy’s are recruited and receive competitive wages and benefit packages. Amy’s Kitchen will not use child labor.  Amy’s Kitchen respects the rights of children and believes that they should to be protected from economic exploitation, and from work that is dangerous to their health and morals, or which may hamper their development.  Amy’s Kitchen recognizes and respects employees’ rights and freedoms to choose whether or not to join third party organizations, to associate freely, and to bargain collectively.

Amy’s mission regarding employees is to nurture a family environment where employees enjoy their jobs, feel that they are listened to and are well cared for.

Further Reading: Disclosure In Compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010

 


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