MomActivism: Reply from O'Sole Mio

As you may recall in my previous post, I wrote to O'Sole Mio, a Montreal-based Italian food retailer, to inform company brass that I found no recycling symbol on their pesto sauce and agnolotti pasta containers. I informed the company that without the recycling triangle and resin identification code (the number inside the triangle), the plastic containers could not be recycled and would go straight to landfill.

I added that we could no longer buy O'Sole Mio products, products that we previously enjoyed. That is until we knew what type of plastic was used, as some plastics are safer than others, and not all plastics are recycled in our borough. I also asked for a timeframe when recycling symbols and resin identification codes would appear on O'Sole Mio products. The following is the reply from Mr. Napolitano, the company VP:

Hi Heather,

I want to thank you for taking the time and effort in writing this email to me concerning our packaging material used for both our fresh pasta and sauces. As you are most probably aware we have two sizes for our sauce containers, 400ML and 200ML. The 200ML is used exclusively for the pesto sauce. I verified the containers and on our 400ML cup the recycling symbol with the number 5 is moulded to the bottom of the container, and the same should have appeared on the 200ML cup as the same identical material is used.

We have already addressed this issue with our purchasing manager and supplier and they will be correcting this on there next production run. I estimate that the new 200ML container with the proper recycling symbol should be in full distribution within 120 days.

As for the material used for the fresh pasta, I am told that the number that should appear is 7, and this as well has been addressed and will be corrected in the near future.

I want to thank you again for reaching out to us and do appreciate your comments, and hopefully you can in the near future still enjoy our products.

Fiore Napolitano
Les Aliments O’Sole Mio Inc.
4000 Alfred-Laliberté
Boisbriand, Quebec
Canada, J7H 1P7

As you can see, my raising-retail-awareness plan was partially successful. I have to say that I was stunned by such a prompt reply. The company is now aware that there was no recycling symbol or resin identification code on the two products I purchased, and immediate action was taken to ensure that this information would appear in the next production run, some 120 days forth. We also now know the types of plastics used, plastics #5 and #7, both of which are recycled in my borough. So far so good. I can taste the pesto already!

I say partially successful because, although plastics with the number 5 (the pesto) in the recycling triangle are safe, most plastics bearing #7 are not. Number #7 plastics usually contain bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor which in minute doses has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, obesity and hyperactivity.* Those at greatest risk are foetuses, infants and children entering puberty.

In my next post, I will be asking Mr. Napolitano whether or not the number #7 plastic used in O'Sole Mio containers is BPA-free.

*Slow Death By Rubber Duck, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, Knopf Canada, 2009 pp. 220, 232-235.

Previous post:
MomActivism: Raising Retail Awareness About Eco Friendly Packaging.

Related posts:

Plastics: Of The Three Rs, Your Best Bet Is To REDUCE

Why We Should Compost--Even Urbanites

Part 1: Eco-Entrepreneurs Do the Right Thing

Part 2: Eco-Entrepreneurs Do the Right Thing

Meet the Clean 15 (Produce with lowest pesticide levels)
Evironmental Working Group Updates its Dirty Dozen (12 fruit and veg with the highest pesticide levels)
Buying Local: Vegetables Year Round

3 Simple Q&As about Children and Pesticides


John_Ward Leighton | August 27, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Well done Heather, as it is said, you can catch more fiys with honey than vinegar.


Issa | August 27, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Oh, that's fantastic! Both that you got such a prompt response and that it contains useful information. Awesome!

Heather | August 27, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Yes, I was pleasantly surprised by the reply and by the fact that it is not a formula letter, which I have received from other companies. H

Anonymous | August 28, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Bravo, AKAmamma! That's awesome! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous | August 31, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Thanks AKAmamma! You've inspired me to write a letter to the manager of a local grocery store concerning a few grossly over-packaged food products that they prepare on the premises. Awesome work!

Heather | August 31, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Glad to hear it! I'm already planning to contact another company too.

Chemist Ed A., M.Sc. | April 30, 2010 at 1:51 PM

BPA isn't used in all bottles. It's found in polycarbonate plastic with a number 7 recycling code. If the #7 plastic being used by O' Sole Mio contains some of this type of polymer, it contains BPA. Good work Heather! We need more people like you to take charge.

Chemist Ed, M.Sc.

Post a Comment