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Jema added a blog entry in Jema's BlogChapstick And Lunch Meat - Beware!After my hospitalization over the Utz potato chip fiasco, I refuse to eat or use anything processed without calling about it first. My first call was about Chapstick. They told me that they are currently trying to obtain some sort of certification from every one of their suppliers to validate that their product is gluten free, but as yet, they cannot confirm that there is no gluten in their products.
My second call was about lunch meat. I'm very adept at reading ingredient lists, but obviously that is just not enough. Cross-contamination is a real danger and I called Sara Lee about their Hillshire Farms products. The representative assured me that they do not hide any allergens in words like "natural ingredients". Those words may present on the ingredients list, but no allergens are included in the proprietary blend without full disclosure. They cannot certify that "caramel coloring" doesn't contain gluten, but it is their policy that if one of their products contains any sort of allergen at all it is run on a different day than the gluten free products and after the run, the machines are taken apart and washed extremely carefully.
Sara Lee does label their products if there is any danger of cross-contamination. Interestingly, and as I'd already guessed because of the "Utz fiasco", there is no governmental mandate about a cross-contamination product warning.
I'll keep updating as I call on different products.
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Jema added a blog entry in Jema's BlogUtz Products Are Not Gluten Free Food!The following is an email that I sent to Utz this evening after having suffered terribly all day in the emergency room of my local hospital. I bought this "gluten free food" because there was no warning of cross-contamination. Boy will that teach me not to trust labels and to ALWAYS do my homework before consuming any processed product.
[i]To Whom it may Concern:
I must say that I am really disappointed in Utz. You are irresponsibly mislabeling your products "gluten free", leading the consumer to believe that there is no danger of cross contamination. I have been diagnosed with Celiac disease and had been doing really well on the gluten free diet until eating your "crisp all natural potato chips". I spent all day in the emergency room today after reacting to your product.
I've have now visited several on-line forums related to your product misrepresentation. Many people have posted their communications to your company about this issue and your responses. A year ago a representative of your company assured one poster that you were going to change the labeling to include a warning about cross-contamination. Interestingly, the package I bought yesterday includes absolutely NO such warning - one year later no less. Has this package really been sitting in a warehouse for a whole year - or is your company really that greedy? You are willing to put the 100,000 diagnosed Americans (and an estimated additional 2.9 million undiagnosed) at risk because - what - you don't think Celiac disease is a real thing?
I want to let you know that I am beginning an aggressive anti-utz campaign and will be posting this information from blog spots to you-tube. I shall encourage other sufferers to do the same until your packaging changes. We 100,000 may not represent a large portion of your consumer base, but thanks to the internet we can really do some serious PR damage. Maybe when your company is visiting the metaphorical emergency room, puking and bleeding your profits away, the label will change? I guess we'll see.
Sorry UTZ. No-one should have to suffer what I suffered today simply because a greedy company doesn't feel like changing it's packaging.
With absolute sincerity,
I encourage any of you who have had similar experiences to do what I am doing. The only way to get them to change is to hit them where it hurts.
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