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. What is rennet?
- 2. Do you use packaging that can be recycled?
- 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. I bought your product, but accidentally placed it in my refrigerator and it thawed out. Can I still eat it?
- 5. Why is there so much fat and sodium in some your products?
- 6. Why do the grams on the per serving nutritional label not add up to the actual weight of one serving?
- 7. How do you read the expiration date on your products?
- 8. Is the plastic overwrap on your frozen products safe to microwave?
Special Diets / Allergies
- 1. I have several food allergies. Is there a possibility of cross contamination in your facility?
- 2. Do your foods contain MSG?
- 3. Do any of your products contain peanuts?
- 4. What is the difference between lactose free & dairy free? Are they the same?
- 5. Why aren't your soy cheeze products dairy free?
- 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. I am a vegan. Do you have any products that are vegan?
- 8. Are Amy's products certified Kosher?
- 1. What is a vegetarian?
- 2. How is Amy's Kitchen vegetarian?
- 3. How nutritious is a vegetarian diet?
- 1. Where can I buy Amy's products?
- 2. I saw some items on your site that my local Amy's vendor does not carry. What should I do?
- 3. What is organic certification? Are all Amy's products 100% organic?
- 4. Can I buy your products directly from you? Can I buy them online?
- 5. Can I buy stock in Amy's Kitchen? Is Amy's publicly traded?
- 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. How do you read the expiration date on your products?
A. Our frozen products are guaranteed (if kept frozen) for 2 years past the manufacture date. Codes are embossed on the side of each product box.
Our grocery products (canned and jarred products) are guaranteed for 36 months past the manufacture date. Codes are imprinted on the top of each product can or jar.
Digit 1 = Alpha for month (A=Jan, B=Feb, etc.)
Digit 2 & 3 = Numeric day of month
Digit 4 = Numeric year (9=1999, 0=2000 etc.)
Digit 5 = Alpha for time of day, production shift
For Example: H160C would be August 16, 2000 at 10:00 am.
- 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. 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. How nutritious is a vegetarian diet?
Protein: Vegetarians easily meet their protein needs by eating a varied diet, as long as they consume enough calories to maintain their weight. It is not necessary to plan combinations of foods. A mixture of proteins throughout the day will provide enough 'essential amino acids.'
Good protein sources are: lentils, tofu, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, tempeh and peas. Many common foods such as whole grain bread, greens, potatoes, pasta, and corn quickly add to protein intake.
Iron: Good sources of iron are: dried beans, spinach, chard, beet greens, blackstrap molasses, bulgur, prune juice, and dried fruit. To increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal, eat a food containing Vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juices, tomato, or broccoli. Cooking food in iron cookware also adds to iron intake.
Calcium: Good calcium sources are: collard greens, broccoli, kale, low-fat dairy products, turnip greens, tofu prepared with calcium, and fortified soymilk.
Vitamin B12: The adult recommended intake for Vitamin B12 is very low. Vitamin B12 comes primarily from animal-derived foods. Fortified foods, such as some brands of cereal, nutritional yeast, soymilk, or soy analogs, are good non-animal sources. Check labels to discover other products that are fortified with Vitamin B12. Tempeh and sea vegetables may contain Vitamin B12, but their content varies and may be unreliable. To be on the safe side, if you are one of the few people who do not consume dairy products, eggs or fortified foods regularly, you can take a non-animal derived supplement. Much research still needs to be done on Vitamin B12 needs and sources.
- 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. 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.