When my oldest daughter was seven, I asked what she wanted for her birthday. Without hesitation, she said she wanted a “Queasy Bake Oven.” Smiling, I corrected her and said: “you mean an Easy Bake Oven.”
“No”. she said. “A Queasy Bake Oven-like all my friends have!”
I didn’t argue.
Now as funny, and cute, as a Queasy Bake Oven sounds, I thought she could be onto something. Without ever having read the ingredients of its mixes, I guessed there would be one, or several, of The Scary Seven™ ingredients in the mixes that came with this D-I-Y child’s baking oven.
I didn’t feel it was fair for me to “assume” anything and stand in the way of a seven year old’s dream – especially if the ingredients were cleaner than I expected. I went to the Hasbro website to look up the ingredients in the Easy Bake Oven mixes. Not surprising, Hasbro doesn’t list them on their website. (We encountered this quite often while writing Unjunk Your Junk Food) I always have to wonder WHY a company would refrain from listing its ingredients in today’s day and age. I can only think of one reason: because they are probably pretty bad!
However, even after I couldn’t find their ingredients on the Hasbro website, I still gave them the benefit of the doubt. So I called Hasbro’s customer service line. Here is something along the lines of how our conversation went:
Me: Hi, I would like to know the ingredients of the Easy Bake Oven Cheese Pizza mix.
Hasbro’s Customer Service Rep: I’m sorry I don’t have the ingredients. Is there a specific reason you are requesting them? Do you have a child with allergies?
Me: Yes, I have a child who is allergic to food coloring. Red dye #40 in particular.
Hasbro’s Customer Service Rep: I don’t have that information. I have to get that information from the product team. In order to get the most up-to-date ingredient list you can check the package itself. They are listed there.
Me: I don’t have the package in front of me (and while I’m answering I’m thinking to myself…if I had the box in front of me, I wouldn’t have needed to call you!)
Hasbro’s Customer Service Rep: What is your contact information? I will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours.
I never heard back from them.
Personally, I believe he didn’t want to give them to me over the phone.
What bothered me most was that what if I wanted to buy the gift online and didn’t want to go into a store to read the ingredients before purchasing it? Isn’t the point of online shopping to save me time? Apparently not according to Hasbro.
I finally found the ingredients for two of the mixes on the Toys “R” Us website. Here they are:
Yellow Cake Artificially Flavored Mix #300
|Ingredients: Sugar, enriched bleached wheat flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thlamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid), vegetable shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils, with mono- and diglycerides), egg whites, nonfat dry milk, sodium bicarbonate, leavening (sodium aluminum phosphate), emulsifier (propylene esters, mono- and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, tricalcium phosphate), lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, salt, FD&C yellow #5 lake.|
Artificially Flavored Flower Confetti #296
|Ingredients: Sugar, rice flour, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (cottonseed, soybean), cornstarch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, soya lecithin, titanium dioxide, gum tragacanth, FD&C yellow #5, FD&C yellow #6, FD&C red #3, FD&C blue #1, artificial flavor.|
Note: The red highlights are Scary Seven ingredients.
In the end, I ended up buying her an Easy Bake Oven, but it did come with some rules. I switched the baking mixes for healthier versions. I use Pamela’s Products’ mixes at home, but you can easily find baking mixes without chemical additives at your local grocery store.
We know kids are intuitive, and it looks like there was a lot of truth to my daughter’s original name for this product – “Queasy Bake Oven.” In my opinion, ingesting any of the Easy Bake Oven mixes filled with trans fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and GMOs is enough to make anyone queasy!
Photo via: Andrea Donsky