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Culture Grocery Packaged Food

Aunt Jemima’s Retires As Food Brands Acknowledge Racist Stereotypes

After over 130 years, Aunt Jemima’s brand and logo, based on a racial stereotype, will officially be retired.

Photo: Mike Mozart // Flickr

Quaker Foods, who owns the brand of syrups and other breakfast products, made the announcement in a press release. In the statement, Quaker Foods North America VP and Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Kroepfl acknowledged the racial origins of the brand, saying that “while work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough.”

The Aunt Jemima logo is based on an economic and racial stereotype has long been used against Black communities in the United States. A caricature of African American women, it has been used across time to claim that Black women were “happy to be slaves” or “only fit to be domestic workers,” as put by an essay on the stereotype by Ferris State University.

Both the logo and the name have been used since 1889, based on a song from a minstrel’s skit that included the caricature. Editorials from papers like the New York Times have called for getting rid of the logo and name for years, and amidst the current global Black Lives Matter protests, the conversation has been enough to finally convince Quaker Oats to rework the brand.

In the last quarter of 2020, bottles of the syrup will have the logo removed and the name reworked to something currently unknown. Meanwhile, Quaker’s decision to retire the Aunt Jemima Brand has led other products who brand on racial stereotypes, like Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s, to overhaul their logos and packaging as well.

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Health Packaged Food

Aunt Jemima Recalls, Then Discontinues Frozen Products Due To Potential Listeria Contamination

If you’ve got some Aunt Jemima frozen French toast, waffles, or pancakes in your freezer, pay attention, since your frozen breakfast is getting recalled.

After discovering the nasty food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in a production plant, Aunt Jemima issued a precautionary recall for a host of its frozen breakfast items that the FDA followed up on with its own recall notice. While no illnesses have been reported yet, the recall ensures that any products that do have the bacteria in them are returned and properly disposed of before anyone does get sick from Listeria.

Typically, Listeria results in high fevers, severe headaches, nausea, muscle stiffness, and diarrhea. But at its worst, it can be fatal to young children, elderly or sick individuals, and can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

The recall currently covers nineteen different products between Aunt Jemima and Hungry Man in the United States and three products in Canada, according to Food Safety News.

Make sure to check the recall notices to see if any products you purchased are affected. If so, you can return them to the point of purchase for a full refund.

UPDATE: It appears that following the events of the recall, Aunt Jemima brand owner Pinnacle Foods has decided to “exit certain low-margin and non-strategic Aunt Jemima® frozen breakfast products sold to retail and foodservice customers.” Pinnacle Foods CEO Mark Clouse said that the recall “accelerated” the exit, they had been planning to discontinue the products already. While the specifics were not revealed, sixteen total products of frozen French toast, pancakes, and waffles will be discontinued, along with frozen products sold to “food service customers” like Hungry Man.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

According to this Vintage Ad, Aunt Jemima Is the OG of Bacon Pancakes

The bacon craze has been going strong since the 1980’s, earning America the title Bacon Nation. We have, in our love for the salty crunchy goodness, eaten it with our breakfast, stuffed it in our sandwiches, sprinkled it on our salads and paired it with our desserts and even cocktails. But if you rewind the clock before it became so popular a commodity that bacon toothpaste seemed like a good idea, before it became a popular tattoo, before we showed absolutely no mercy for the poor swine and included it in 80% more of our menus, Aunt Jemima was already way ahead of us.

The vintage ad is from the 1930’s, figuring from the way Aunt Jemima is captured.  Aunt Jemima pancake batter is poured on top of sizzling bacon, and while we’re aware of the brilliant duo, this aged image signifies that foodism and over-indulgence has been a part of the American DNA. When something is good, you eat it with something equally delicious and you don’t waste time doing it.

via 22 words