Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Heinz Beans "Horror" Story!







Yes, I know, I know...

I'm a cookbook author. I shouldn't be eating or writing about canned beans! ;-) 

But sometimes, as much as I like to cook (make that LOVE to cook) I need a night off from the kitchen. When that happens, beans on toast are sometimes on the menu here.

Our family (all the way back to my grandma...and forward) have been buying Heinz beans for a lot of years. Up until a couple of months ago, have never had any problems with any of their products. That all changed in December of last year.

Here's my initial email sent to Heinz Canada on January 8th, explaining what happened:

About a month ago, I opened a can of Heinz Beans in Tomato Sauce, 796 ML size, purchased at Save-On Foods, in Nelson, BC. The beans looked different than usual: mushy on top and there little sauce.

But I went ahead and heated them up and my husband and I ate them. Not a good decision. About 2 hours later, we were both feeling sick: stomachs churning, severe chills, feeling weak...all indicators of food poisoning.

The beans were the only thing that we can attribute this too, our symptoms were so similar and this was the one thing we both ate, just before this happened.

We didn't pursue this with you or Save On at that time and chalked it up to a one time bad experience.

Two nights ago, I opened another can of the 796 ml. size of these same type of beans (but not bought at the same time as the first problem can) and this time, we DID NOT eat them. The beans were all congealed at the top of the can, with what looked like a thick fatty substance. We were definitely NOT going to take a chance on another 'suspect' can of beans, after our recent bad experience.

I have kept this can of bean intact and covered, in the fridge.
L6R 1222 1531
Heinz Beans in Tomato Sauce
796 ML. size

I will wait to hear from you before contacting Save On about this problem.

We do expect some compensation for this obviously. Our experience with the first can could have been so much worse. As it is, we both felt very ill for that evening and part of the next day.

Geraldine Hartman


Since writing this initial email, I have also been in contact with and again, to no avail.

 On January 30th, I decided to write a letter to the CEO of Heinz Canada: Peter Luik, explaining our experience with their products and how our complaint had NOT been handled to date.

You guessed it. 

As of today, still no phone call, email or letter in response to my letter or earlier emails.

I happened to note an article in MacLean's magazine about a week ago, in regards to many factory closures that have recently happened or are pending in Canada.

Surprise, surprise...(not really) the Lemington plant for Heinz Canada is set to close this summer!

I don't know if this product quality down-slide is related to this upcoming closure and subsequent job losses but the timing certainly seems suspect, don't you think?

As for Heinz products of any kind, I won't be buying or eating ANY of them, any time soon, after how they have not followed up on what could have been a widespread and serious health risk for many, many consumers.

If you've got a can or two...of these beans in your cupboard or any Heinz product, buyer beware!

Overall rating for this product/company: BAD. 0 out of 5.


  1. OH, food poisoning is the worst!

  2. Excellent review as usual. This is a horror story especially considering how long this company has been around and how many people who buy and eat their products. If this keeps up, they won't be around. It's happened to other big name companies before, who ignored customers.

    1. Yes, ignored at their own peril. No company is big enough to ignore their customers. And why would they want to???? I am really shocked by this whole experience. They've certainly lost us as customers and I'm guessing quite a few more too.

  3. Geraldine, this is would think that they might get back to you at the very least. And to get sick from a can of beans...shocking. If you are on FaceBook, I would seriously consider posting a few things about this. It's amazing how a little bad press can get results.


    1. I'm not on FB myself but I do hope that other bloggers will share this post and help to spread the word.

      This is what I don't get. How companies think they can just ignore serious complaints like this and get away with it now, with all the social media sites that are out there.

      If you can Jen, I hope you'll pass this along too.

  4. I've noticed the same in several stores that should close, seems that whatever product the sell , even if it's the produce at another store, the taste is wrong....I feel like they're throwing the worse products at those cheap stores for people who shop there because they don't have enough money. I try very much not to shop there just because it's cheap...I do believe that some store received the contents of things that would usually be thrown away, as for your case shame on them, for not acknowledging and making restitution, but you can better your bottom dollar, I'm never buying that again, so thank you for sharing this , and I"m upset that you and Joe got sick over this and they won't even acknowledge, it's shameful

    1. Our local Save On is a busy store and the products they sell seem to have a very fast turn-over. This was definitely not expired products, based on the dates on both cans. There was just a big drop in quality and that's my concern and why it happened. And of course, what the company did after the fact. NOTHING TO DATE!!!!

      Thanks for your kind words Lorraine. We really had a rough couple of days after eating those beans. I'm just glad I went with my instincts and didn't use the second "suspect" can. Once was enough, that's for sure.

  5. Terrible! The experience and the lack of response. I'm happy we eat Bush's baked beans!

    1. Teri, That sounds like a good idea. I'll have to check out their products the next time I'm shopping.

      One plus of this whole experience, I started making slow cooker baked beans more often and they are sooooo good! I use the recipe in The Groovy Green Kitchen and it's not only delish, it takes little time to prep.

      So, that is one good thing that came out of this. ;-)

      PS: I've also contacted Save-On Foods about this, as of today. Hopefully, they WILL want to follow up and get some answers from Heinz too.

  6. PS: Update as of February 27th, 2PM:

    Save On Foods just phoned to tell me that they have been in contact with Heinz Foods and that someone from Heinz would be getting back to me within the next 24 hours.

    Save On Foods also apologized for what had happened and for the lack of response from Heinz so far. Not that it was their mistake/error but I appreciated their call and concern.

    Why it took a call from Save On to make Heinz FINALLY respond to my complaint and repeated attempts to contact them, is still a mystery.

    I'll keep you posted. GH

  7. Oh dear! I do not want to hear that, those bean are honestly one of my favourite things to eat!! Glad it wasn't more serious and I will certainly think twice before eating them. Interesting about the factory closure as well…

    1. I've eaten a lot of Heinz beans over the years but after this fiasco, probably never again.

      What really bothers me most of all is how this company showed no concern for the potential health hazard these beans might have been to thousands of customers. Joe and I are both healthy. We "bounced back" within a couple of days and felt ok after this. But what about people with compromised immune systems etc...who could have been impacted much worse, if this was a bigger issue than just a couple of cans. And I'm guessing it was a lot more than just the two we got, that had quality concerns.

      The factory closure...yes, it might or might not be part of this slide. I'm not willing to take another chance on their products at this point.

  8. This is horrible! Kudos to you, Geraldine, for staying on Heinz. They should have gotten right back with you. It's Management 101 that it is much easier to keep an existing customer than gain new ones. And when one customer isn't happy, word spreads pretty fast. And besides, it's the right thing to do! I too like Bush's beans - vegetarian.

    1. So true Kelly, so true. I'm truly amazed by how this complaint has NOT been handled to date. Whatever they do know, it's not going to mean much, all things considered. Where were they when this was first reported and should have been looked into thoroughly at the time, for the safety of all their customers???

  9. I opened a bad can too one time of beans and it was like that also, but if I remember I think it was Van Camps beans. But, the reason I think it was like that (much like you described - mushy, etc.) was because the can was older, expired, etc. We had that can and a few others left up on our mountain property in our travel trailer there and was not used or eaten during the time required before expiration. But, I will watch and beware of Heinz beans with your story and warning. Thanks Geraldine for sharing it.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Joyce.

      These were definitely NOT expired, Joe and I are both very careful about checking expiry dates on all foods that we buy. And Save On is great for not having anything on it's shelves, past it's sell by date. Yes, if something is expired, it can definitely be a problem but that wasn't the case here.

  10. Wow, thanks for the heads up. It's sad that a big (global) company like HJ Heinz is ignoring what could be a lawsuit rather than a well-intended notice that they have problems with a product. Big problems.

    Most companies have gotten the message that consumer outreach is vital to their survival. The ones that think they're too big to have to pay attention are the ones who really need a comeuppance.

    1. I couldn't agree more Teresa. Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback on some of my reviews, it's appreciated!

  11. I got the same almost a year ago, I brought and ate a smaller can of Heinz Baked Beans and that was some of the worst food poisoning I've ever had. Really thought I would have to go to hospital. Never again will ever buy that brand especially their baked beans.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, I'm so sorry you went through a similar experience.

  12. I realized today that I never actually posted a final update on this product complaint.

    Heinz ended up sending me $10 in coupons for (you guessed it!!!) MORE beans. I wasn't pleased or surprised, given the runaround I received about this serious complaint, week after week.

    I'm NEVER going to buy Heinz products again (which I also told them) so sending me some useless coupons did nothing to compensate.

    Buyer beware!!! And they certainly lost more than just a couple of loyal customers, treating us this way. I know this post has been read and shared by many other bloggers. Time to wise up Heinz!!! There is no place to hide now, with everyone online and shopper savvy. Shame,shame!!!

  13. Here's another related post about Heinz that you might want to read:

  14. Oh my goodness and they do mot have the decency to contact you!!!
    Take care Diane

    1. They finally did as you can see in my comments above Rhodesia but did nothing tangible to compensate for this awful experience. They lost out in a big way, ignoring my initial complaint. VERY poor customer "service".

  15. I just got food poisoning from Heinz Deep Brown beans in tomato sauce (June 2017). I know it was the beans because I ate them Wed night with a steak and was sick starting Thu afternoon. I thought it was either the steak or something I had in my salad on Thu at lunch. After a very bad night on Thu and sick all day Friday, I began to feel better Sat when I woke up. Later in the day after eating only dry toast I stupidly put the leftover beans from Wed on some toast around 3 in the afternoon. Now sick again today - Sunday. So stupid but I really thought it was the steak or salad. Definitely the beans though.


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