Conagra Brands: Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question about Conagra Brands products, nutrition information, recipes or other topics, please select from the categories below and browse the questions and answers.
How do I know animals are treated properly in the making of your food?
The only way to deliver quality food is to follow quality procedures, and that includes how farm animals are raised and processed. We believe in the humane treatment of animals. It's the right thing to do, and it plays a key role in the quality of our food.
Our Supplier Quality Program outlines specific expectations for appropriate animal care, and we encourage all of our suppliers to purchase only from farms that comply with industry guidelines, including those established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food Marketing Institute.
What is Conagra doing to increase its use of cage-free eggs?
We are committed to using 100 percent cage-free eggs throughout our U.S. and Canada operations by 2025. And since 2011, we have incorporated one million cage-free eggs into our products annually. These decisions reflect ConAgra's ongoing effort to explore cage-free eggs as a viable alternative to traditional egg supplies.
What are genetically modified organisms (GMO), and is it safe to eat food if it includes GMO ingredients?
We agree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and numerous trusted scientific bodies and regulatory agencies that foods and beverages that contain genetic modification (GM) of ingredients are safe and nutritious to eat. Given the potential for GM to improve the quality, sustainable availability and nutritional value of food, we support its responsible use when based on sound science and regulatory and safety reviews. Visit our dedicated page on GMO to learn more.
What is the date code?
The date code is the string of numbers and letters coded onto a package that indicate the date of production, not the expiration date.
What does the "Best By" or "Sell By" expiration date mean?
"Best By" dates and other similar terms (e.g., "Use By," "Best If Used By," "Sell By," etc.) are used to inform consumers about the shelf lives of our products so that they will know how long they can expect their products to last. A "Best By" date is laser printed on our products. We recommend that you consume the product before its "Best By" date expires.
Why doesn't my local grocery store have my favorite product?
Individual retailers make the final decisions about which products they will sell. If you cannot find a specific product you're looking for, ask your retailer to begin carrying it for you.
Does the packaging of your food contain Bisphenol A (BPA)?
On July 30, 2015, we announced the discontinued use of BPA in the linings used for our cans across the entire portfolio, including all canned Hunt’s®, Ro*Tel®, Chef Boyardee® and Van Camp’s® branded products. We also discontinued the use of vinyl containing liners throughout our entire consumer packaging.
The company also on occasion may need to source products from contract manufacturers that do not have non-BPA liner capabilities. If this occurs, we attempt to source the minimum quantity of products necessary until a longer term non-BPA or non-vinyl option is identified.
Is your non-BPA lined packaged food labeled for consumers to identify?
No, but all of our canned food made in the company's facilities in the U.S. and Canada after July 30, 2015 is in non-BPA lined cans.
What if I see a product on the store shelf or in my pantry that was made before July 2015 — will that have a BPA liner?
Depending on the food and when the actual conversion to non-BPA lined packaging occurred, it may have an epoxy liner. Conagra Brands is confident that epoxy lined packaging containing BPA is safe, so you can enjoy the food regardless.
Does the food you make outside of the United States and Canada still use BPA-lined packaging?
All food made in the company's facilities in U.S. and Canada after July 30, 2015 is in non-BPA lined packaging. The company does import into the U.S. and Canada a small quantity of canned products with BPA liners and is working with suppliers of these brands to convert to non-BPA liners.
Can I reuse the plastic containers of your frozen meals?
The plastic frozen meal trays we use are not made with BPA, but are designed to heat the frozen meal inside the package only once. They cannot be reused as they are not designed for multiple uses.
I have a food allergy. How do I know which products I can safely eat?
All major food allergens are shown on the ingredient list of our products and/or will be noted in a "Contains" statement just after the ingredient list.
Major food allergens, as defined by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, must appear on the packaging. These include eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish (crustacean), soy, tree nuts and wheat. All major food allergen ingredients will be listed in the ingredient statement and will be noted in the "Contains" statement if they are included in flavorings or spice mixes.
Our recipes change from time to time, so we encourage you to check both the ingredient list and "Contains" statement each time you buy a product.
Do you have a pathogen control program?
Yes, we do. We follow rigorous food safety practices in all of our food preparation and storage facilities. Our foodborne pathogen control program starts with making sure our buildings and equipment are cleaned and maintained, and that we have systems in place to keep out anything that could potentially contaminate our food.
Cleanliness is key to pathogen control. Cleaning our mixing, sifting, cooking, freezing and all preparation equipment, utensils, other food contact surfaces and floors is just as important to us as it is in your kitchen. We monitor our preparation and cleaning processes to ensure they are done properly. For example, it is critical that the right time and temperature are followed to ensure our canned foods are safe, just as it is in home canning. Testing for certain contaminants (pathogens) is also done — on ingredients, the equipment and the environment.
Training is also important. We train our team members to know how to clean and prepare our foods so that pathogens are controlled. And, of course, we have to have a great team. We have canning, food safety, sanitation, microbiology and chemistry experts on our team so that you can trust our food to be delicious and safe.
What does Conagra do to ensure the safety of the food it produces?
We are committed to delivering on the industry's highest food safety and quality standards by operating in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including those associated with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA was signed into law in January 2011, initiating the most expansive change to U.S. food laws since the enactment of the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. We also continually evaluate new and emerging food safety practices and invest in new equipment, technology and best-in-class processes at our production facilities.
Additionally, we work to stay on the cutting edge of food safety by monitoring the work of external scientists who develop new food processing techniques, pathogen and contaminant testing methodology, ingredients and equipment designs for our industry.
What evaluation processes and third parties does Conagra use to ensure that its food safety objectives are met?
Conagra Brands has an extensive checks and balances system to monitor and audit the safety and quality of our food. We have adopted the industry-recognized Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety system at all of our production facilities, and each facility is certified by major Global Food Safety (GFSI) third-party auditors. The GFSI auditors routinely evaluate our facilities for compliance with their food safety standards during unannounced inspections.
We are also adopting the new standards of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations that are specifically focused on food safety systems.
How are Conagra Brands employees involved with food safety?
Our food safety culture is embraced across all levels of Conagra from executives to plant personnel. Within our internal Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Affairs departments, we employ a wide variety of technical experts including microbiologists, chemists, thermal processing authorities, allergen experts, auditors, quality experts and systems engineers. In our production facilities, teams have the knowledge to identify possible risks that could compromise the safety of our food and are quick to take corrective actions to address them in a way to help prevent similar issues from occurring going forward.
What systems and certifications do you require from your suppliers?
We hold our suppliers to the same high standards that guide our business. Conagra Brands requires our ingredient suppliers to be GFSI certified. This certification evaluates our suppliers against global food safety standards, and ensures our suppliers have appropriate food safety systems in place. In addition to the standard GFSI audits, our internal auditors and quality professionals evaluate our ingredients and associated suppliers.
What capabilities does Conagra Brands have to trace food throughout the supply chain?
Conagra has full traceability, from purchasing ingredients to making our food and shipping to customers.
How is Conagra Brands responding to increased consumer and regulatory agency interest in simpler ingredients?
We have already been removing artificial flavors, synthetic colors and artificial preservatives from many of our foods, and we are accelerating our efforts to meet the needs of today's consumer. Conagra aims to reduce or eliminate these ingredients in its Consumer Foods products while maintaining our dedication to food safety and quality.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that comes primarily from wheat, but is also found in barley and rye. Oats don't contain gluten, but may come into contact with wheat, barley or rye, so oats should not be assumed to be gluten-free. We understand the importance of avoiding gluten for people with certain medically diagnosed conditions. Based upon scientific information, FDA draft guidelines and the World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius both consider a level of less than 20 ppm (parts per million) to be gluten-free. Our foods must meet this standard before carrying a gluten-free claim.
Do you have any gluten-free foods?
Yes, we do. We understand how important it is for people who have been medically diagnosed with gluten sensitivity to obtain accurate information about their food to help plan their meals and diets. We have reviewed our entire pantry of foods and have divided our foods into three groups: gluten-free, should not contain gluten but has not yet been validated as gluten-free, and contains gluten.
Gluten Free: (validated and periodically tested)
- Egg Beaters®
- Hunt's® Tomatoes (excluding tomato sauces, tomato paste, pasta sauces and ketchup. See below.)
- Swiss Miss® Cocoa
- Pudding: Swiss Miss and Snack Pack® (excludes those containing tapioca and SP winter flavors—2700041970 and 270041971)
- Poppycock®: Apple Crisp, Pecan Delight, Chocolate Lovers, Original, Cashew
- Crunch 'n Munch®: Caramel, Buttery Toffee
- Fiddle Faddle®: Caramel, Buttery Toffee
- Hebrew National®: regular franks, reduced-fat franks, bologna, lean bologna, salami, lean salami, beef salami chub, corned beef, pastrami
- Peter Pan® Peanut Butter: all varieties
- Popcorn: Act II® microwave; Orville Redenbacher's® jar and microwave and ready-to-eat; Jiffy Pop®
- Table Spreads (tubs): Parkay®, Blue Bonnet®, Fleischmann's®, and Move Over Butter
- Table Spreads (sticks): Parkay, Blue Bonnet, Fleischmann's
- La Choy® Original Sauce Marinade (4430012068) and La Choy Orange Ginger Sauce Marinade (4430012067)
- La Choy Soy Sauce (Regular & Lite)
- La Choy Sweet & Sour Sauce
- Reddi-wip®: all varieties
- DAVID® Seeds: all varieties
- PAM® Cooking Spray: all varieties except PAM Baking
How do you know that your foods are gluten-free?
Our foods labeled as "gluten-free" undergo rigorous ingredient and preparation review, along with testing to validate that claim. We start by reviewing the label and our recipe to determine which ones should not contain gluten, and then talk to our ingredient suppliers. Next, we review our preparation and cleaning steps. Finally, we test the food to make sure it contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) gluten.
Why can't you label a food item as gluten-free based on the ingredients listed?
Reviewing the ingredients listed on the label is only one step. Testing is required to further validate that a food item contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) gluten and can carry a gluten-free claim.
What are the foods that shouldn't contain gluten, but haven't yet been validated as gluten-free?
Once we review the label, our recipe and the ingredient specifications to confirm that no gluten was added to a food, it falls into the "should not contain gluten" group. Foods that do not contain gluten but have not been validated as "gluten-free" may still be appropriate for those people with gluten sensitivities, but these products have not completed this rigorous review. Many of these foods are undergoing the final stages of our gluten-free validation, so continue to check our website for updates as more foods are added to the gluten-free list.
While the below foods do not contain added gluten, validation and testing on the food below is not complete.
- Wesson® Oils: all varieties
- Hunt's Tomato Sauces (excluding pasta sauces)
- Hunt's Tomato Paste
- Ketchup: Hunt's all varieties
- RO*TEL® Tomatoes (excluding sauces)
Which of your products contain gluten?
Our product labels list common allergens, such as wheat, for those allergic to wheat gluten.
What are you doing to reduce the sodium content in your food?
In 2009, we pledged to reduce sodium content across the portfolio by 20 percent (as compared to 2006 levels) by 2015. This decision was based on the science available at the time, relating reduced sodium to lowering blood pressure. While we've met this goal and reduced sodium levels considerably in our foods, further sodium reductions are on hold because new science has changed the understanding of sodium and health. As the research on sodium continues to accumulate, our objective remains the same: to support people in achieving their lifestyle goals by providing convenient, wholesome and delicious foods. We already offer more than 200 foods that meet the federal government standards for promoting heart health, more than 350 foods that provide shortfall foods like vegetables and whole grains and more than 250 single serving portion controlled meals with fewer than 450 calories to support weight control.
What is monosodium glutamate (MSG)?
Monosodium glutamate is used as a flavor enhancer, much like salt. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, MSG is a safe food ingredient for the general public, and a small percentage of people sensitive to MSG might have mild reactions when they eat foods with large amounts of MSG. The FDA requires that MSG is noted on food labels for products to which MSG has been added. Consumers who might have sensitivities are advised to check the ingredient list on each product package.
What is sodium erythorbate?
Sodium erythorbate is a man-made form of vitamin C. Sodium erythorbate helps keep the color of franks, ham and other cured meats stable. Sodium erythorbate and similar forms of vitamin C have been used in cured meat products for more than 30 years.
What are trans fats?
Trans fats are "transitional fats" between saturated and unsaturated fats, and can be present in hydrogenated oils and also, to a much smaller degree, in animal products such as meat and dairy products.
What are partially hydrogenated oils?
Trans fat is not synonymous with partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to help make them more solid. This process helps stabilize the oils, keeping them solid at room temperature and preventing them from spoiling (becoming rancid) quickly. As a food ingredient, they contribute specific consumer-desired attributes such as texture, thickening and cooking performance. Conagra Brands has removed PHOs from the vast majority of our foods, and we are working to remove them from the foods that still have them. We announced that as of June 2, 2016, the company has discontinued the use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in the manufacturing of all spreads in our portfolio. This includes Fleischmann's®, Blue Bonnet® and Parkay®.
What is Conagra Brands doing to reduce trans fats in food?
In 2015, the FDA announced that food companies have three years to remove PHOs from food products unless the particular use of PHO is permitted by a food additive petition currently under review by the FDA. We began removing PHOs from our foods nearly a decade ago, including moving Orville Redenbacher's® popcorn to 0 grams trans fat per serving in 2006. We have removed PHOs from the vast majority of our foods and are working to remove them from the foods that still have them. We announced that as of June 2, 2016, the company has discontinued the use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in the manufacturing of all spreads in our portfolio. This includes Fleischmann's®, Blue Bonnet® and Parkay®. Part of Conagra Brands' commitment is improving the heart healthfulness of our food. We already have more than 200 heart-healthy foods-meals and entrèes, whole-grain popcorn, tomatoes, egg whites, plus beans and soups.
What is fat free?
According to U.S. nutrition labeling guidelines, a product that contains less than half a gram of fat per serving can be labeled "fat free."
Where can I find a product's nutrition information?
You can find nutrition information on the product package or individual wrapper, and on some brands' websites.
What is lactose?
Lactose, or milk sugar, is found in most dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, etc. Some people are lactose intolerant, meaning they have difficulty digesting lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, the simplest solution is to read ingredient labels and avoid consuming foods with dairy product ingredients.
What is kosher?
Kosher is a Jewish term meaning "fit to eat" or "ritually pure." It is used to describe foods that are produced according to certain standards and are approved to be eaten by people of the Jewish faith. Packaged food products that are certified kosher might bear the symbol "U" or "K" with a circle around it. All food products from Conagra Brands' Hebrew National® brand are certified kosher, as are several other products in our family of brands.
Do your products meet the standards for restricted diets?
A number of our food products, such as Egg Beaters® and Hunt's®, can fit into a restricted diet, and some, like Healthy Choice®, fit government guidelines for certain types of restricted diets. Generally, however, your doctor or dietitian should assist you in making food choices for a restricted diet.
What is a serving size?
A serving size is the amount of a food product or meal that has been deemed a usual or recommended amount for an average adult, unless otherwise indicated for children. This varies according to the product or recipe, but usually the label will indicate the weight, volume, or other quantity of a product that constitutes one serving. Serving sizes are regulated by the FDA and USDA to ensure consistency in nutritional labeling.
What is artificial sweetener? Aspartame?
Aspartame is a common sweetener marketed under the brand names NutraSweet® or Equal®. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1981. Other artificial sweeteners have been approved and are in use to a lesser extent. All artificial sweeteners are required to be listed on the label. Because our products are often reformulated, consumers who might have sensitivities are advised to check the ingredient list on the product package.
Are food additives safe?
All additives used by Conagra Brands have been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Conagra Brands follows the package-label requirements set by the FDA. Not all consumers react the same to all food ingredients. People who have or think they have conditions that might cause reactions to certain ingredients are advised to visit the FDA website, www.fda.gov, for more detailed information, or to read our product labels, which call out common allergens.
What are sugar alcohols?
Sugar alcohols are used as a substitute for sugar. While they're not really sugar, sugar alcohols do still contribute to carbohydrates. If you have a concern regarding carbohydrate intake, and question whether you should use a product, we recommend you contact your health professional.
What is modified food starch?
The modified food starch used in Conagra Brands products is corn or potato starch unless otherwise stated on the ingredient label. The flour used in our products is often wheat flour and should be avoided by individuals with gluten sensitivities. Check a food product's label for a list of any allergens.
How do I search for recipes?
Visit ReadySetEat™ to find thousands of inspired ideas for every occasion. From appetizers to sides and dinners to desserts, you'll find a lot to love in these delicious, nutritious recipes—from our kitchen to yours.
What is an online coupon?
An online coupon is similar to an offline coupon that you may find in your local newspaper or retail grocery store, but it is printed by the consumer from his or her computer.
Where can I get an online coupon?
Please visit ReadySetEat™, a website with recipes made with Conagra Brands products where you'll find the latest coupons.
Other good sources for coupons are advertisements in newspapers and magazines, store rebates, and coupons or rebate offers included with the products themselves. Many times our brands offer coupons on our websites, which you can access by visiting the Conagra Brands brands page, and clicking on the brand you're interested in.
What is coupon fraud on the Internet?
Coupon fraud includes the buying and selling of coupons, counterfeit or copied coupons and mis-redeemed coupons. Computers and the Internet have made committing fraud easier, and distribution of fraudulent coupons faster. The problem is fraud, not the medium used. To avoid counterfeit coupons, the Coupon Information Corporation recommends using coupons obtained from your newspaper, manufacturer's websites or our authorized coupon distributors.
- Never pay money for a coupon.
- Do not download coupons from Internet forums.
- If a friend e-mails you coupons, especially high value or free product coupons, the coupons are most likely counterfeit.
The coupon on my packaging has expired.
Coupon expiration dates are designed to encourage prompt redemption, and are not indicators of product shelf life. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience you may have been caused.
Where can I get an annual report?
Please visit the Investors section of the Conagra Brands website. There you can view the report online using Adobe® Reader®. There is also a link for requesting single printed copies of the annual report.
Where can I find information about careers at Conagra Brands?
Please refer to our career opportunities job postings page on our Conagra Brands Careers website.