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Do Not Trust The Trader Joes Labels
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I agree that we shouldn't buy things on shared equipment. And I do not think companies thoroughly wash down the "shared" equipment so much that we don't have to worry about it. If we didn't have to worry about it then why legally protect yourself by putting it on a label for those with food allergies? Because they know that they are not gonna clean that equipment good enough to prevent a cross contamination. So buyer beware...

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For me, I am very thankful that products/manufacturers who label their items "gluten-free" will tell me that the item was produced in a place that also processes gluten-containing items. Then, it is my choice if I feel it is appropriate for ME to consume. If they didn't have to say their products were produced in a shared facility, then I would always be wondering. For anyone (like me) who is in the early stages of intestinal healing, or who otherwise are extremely sensitive, just don't eat processed food. Eating pure/whole food is healthiest for all of us anyway.

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Right now, I am extremely sensitive to refined "gluten-free" foods. I stay away from most of them, but occasionally, I give in. I find I do best with GIG certified gluten-free foods.

For those who are are hyper-sensitive (or for those who are not hyper-sensitive but fear that cc may be an issue with healing), visit the Gluten-Intolerance Group (GIG) of North America site at gluten.net.

GIG has a gluten-free certification program that measures ppm's (parts per million). You can read about it on their site. GIG is a great organization -- their website could be a bit more user-friendly, but if you find yourself confused about anything, call them! They are wonderful about getting back to you and answering questions.

When I purchase refined foods, I look for the "Certified Gluten-Free" GIG label, and I do well. If it doesn't have the certification, I hesitate before buying and always call to speak to someone at the facility first. My first question: How many parts per million in your product?

If they don't know, or if it's over 10, I run the other way!

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This thread provoked a lot of thought. I worked for TJ

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Being a newbie 3 months in for gluten-free diet, I will not eat shareded equipment. I try to limit the gluten in my house., I love trader joes for some of the deli meat and produce. I do not buy their items that are produced on shared items. Mostly becauced I am so new to this and I like less pain free days.

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I've never had an issue with anything I've had from Trader Joe's marked as gluten-free. I hate to see a store that goes out of their way to be informative about the content and manufacturing of their food deemed a villain. That seems so over the top to me. Some of us are more sensitive than others so we just have to make our own best decisions based on the information provided (ingredients, facility, equipment, etc.). Trader Joe's does an excellent job at providing that information.

vodka and coke was their fav drink yet neither are gluten free

Coke is gluten free. I've also bought vodka that is made entirely from potatoes. No gluten. There are also some fabulous gluten-free beers on the market.

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Right now, I am extremely sensitive to refined "gluten-free" foods. I stay away from most of them, but occasionally, I give in. I find I do best with GIG certified gluten-free foods.

For those who are are hyper-sensitive (or for those who are not hyper-sensitive but fear that cc may be an issue with healing), visit the Gluten-Intolerance Group (GIG) of North America site at gluten.net.

GIG has a gluten-free certification program that measures ppm's (parts per million). You can read about it on their site. GIG is a great organization -- their website could be a bit more user-friendly, but if you find yourself confused about anything, call them! They are wonderful about getting back to you and answering questions.

When I purchase refined foods, I look for the "Certified Gluten-Free" GIG label, and I do well. If it doesn't have the certification, I hesitate before buying and always call to speak to someone at the facility first. My first question: How many parts per million in your product?

If they don't know, or if it's over 10, I run the other way!

Thanks, Lynayah. This is very helpful. I think I will do as you do, looking for the GIG label and asking about the ppm in future! :) I usually avoid processed food too, as it often ends in disaster (and I have to throw out expensive products...)

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The little g symbol does not mean gluten free. They have the g on the symbol on front and on the back it very clearly states that it only means no gluten ingredients are used. I've never found any of their private labeled products claim to be 100% gluten free.

I almost purchased some baked cheetos at Trader Joes today. The front of the package had the mark indicating it was gluten free. The back, however, indicated that the product had been processed on equipment that also processed wheat products.

I have sent an e-mail to Trader Joes but have not yet heard back from them.

Please be very careful and do not trust their gluten free label on the front of their products.

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Coke is gluten free.

The last information I had (which is, admittedly, a few years old. 2007) was that coke was adhering to the WHO gluten free standards, which are 200ppm or less. So it may be a problem for more people than many other gluten-free products.

(The information was from an email from a fellow gluten free gal and can be found here:

http://www.glutenfreeceliacweb.com/gluten-free-beverages/ )

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Coke's carbonated beverages are all gluten-free. The color, at least in North America, is derived from corn, but would be below 5 ppm in any event (that is the coloring being below 5 ppm, not the finished product).

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Coke's carbonated beverages are all gluten-free. The color, at least in North America, is derived from corn, but would be below 5 ppm in any event (that is the coloring being below 5 ppm, not the finished product).

I was finally able to look into their gluten content more closely, and it seems they have updated their gluten standards to 20ppm or below, which is great. However, according to them, they do have some ingredients that are derived from gluten containing grains, although I am having a heck of a time finding out what ingredient exactly IS derived from gluten. I'm kind of curious, because if it weren't for the fact that the color is from corn, that's what I would have assumed would be the issue. I am awaiting further information from them on what ingredient is the issue.

At this point, this is what they've said, from an email they sent a few days back:

"...Some minor ingredients in these products[long list from them] are manufactured from plants that gluten-sensitive people could react to, so we are unable to state categorically that they are totally gluten-free even though they may have undetectable levels of gluten in them. The Codex guideline provides a very low threshold for gluten content. However, extremely gluten-sensitive individuals should discuss consumption of these products with their health care provider..."

Anyone have more information on this, I'd love to learn more.

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I was finally able to look into their gluten content more closely, and it seems they have updated their gluten standards to 20ppm or below, which is great. However, according to them, they do have some ingredients that are derived from gluten containing grains, although I am having a heck of a time finding out what ingredient exactly IS derived from gluten. I'm kind of curious, because if it weren't for the fact that the color is from corn, that's what I would have assumed would be the issue. I am awaiting further information from them on what ingredient is the issue.

At this point, this is what they've said, from an email they sent a few days back:

"...Some minor ingredients in these products[long list from them] are manufactured from plants that gluten-sensitive people could react to, so we are unable to state categorically that they are totally gluten-free even though they may have undetectable levels of gluten in them. The Codex guideline provides a very low threshold for gluten content. However, extremely gluten-sensitive individuals should discuss consumption of these products with their health care provider..."

Anyone have more information on this, I'd love to learn more.

This is a timely topic for me. I just recently was at TJ's and was about to buy their tomato sauce. When I looked on the back of the jar I saw the warning that the equipment used was shared with wheat containing foods. I put the bottle back.

I then went and bought their French String Beans in the frozen section. Later that evening I steamed and sauteed the beans but a few hours later started to experience my tell-tale "pangs" in under my right rib cage. I was wracking my brain to think of what it was. I then went and looked at the bag and it had the same warning as the sauce. I NEVER imagined a frozen vegetable would be sharing equipment with wheat. Joke on me for assuming anything when it comes to wheat....

thanks for this thread.... gonna read through it now completely....

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I have had a celiac reaction to gluten in Trader Joes Organic Rice pasta both times I've eaten it. I was late diagnosed with Celiac Disease nearly three years ago, and inadvertently eat something with gluten in it about a half dozen times a year. I'm getting pretty good at identifying what caused the problem, though mostly it's from dining out. Each time, I try and identify the source of the gluten, to prevent it from happening again.

Trader Joes has created its own gluten free logo, a g with a sprig on the top right. Gluten-Icon.gif There is no peer review associated with Trader Joes claim that these products are free from gluten. That is, no one else is testing their claim, and their method and results in deciding that a product is gluten free is not available or open to external verification. In fact they say "no gluten ingredients used" rather than gluten free, something that immediately made me suspicious. Whether they are being naive or just cynical, this is purely a marketing ploy that tricks people into buying their products thinking they are gluten free. It is not helpful information, as they claim.

When I delved further into Trader Joes "No Gluten" logo, I noticed that they had a disclaimer "use at your own risk". Correct me if I'm wrong, but this tells me that they don't even stand by their "No Gluten" claim themselves.

The USFDA has a proposal to allow companies to call a product "gluten free" if it contains less than 20ppm of gluten. Interestingly, the test for the presence of gluten can be tested to 5ppm. For this reason, in Australia and New Zealand, countries that have the strongest Gluten Free product labeling laws, you can only call a product "Gluten Free" if it contains less than 5ppm of Gluten. That is, you can only call a product Gluten Free if you test it for Gluten using the best available test, and the test cannot find any gluten present.

Europe, the UK, USA and Canada either have or are proposing laws that allow products to be called Gluten Free if they contain less the 20 parts per million (ppm) of Gluten.

There's a certain obvious common sense approach to Australia and New Zealand's Gluten Free labeling laws, and you have to wonder why any country would propose a law that allows a product to be tested, to be found to contain 5 to 19 ppm of gluten, but still be able to be labeled Gluten Free. This a very strange kind of insanity, and is definitely not in the interest of people with Celiac Disease, the primary buyers of Gluten Free products.

Australia and New Zealand have the most stringent labeling laws regarding labeling for gluten containing products, and labeling a product as Gluten Free. These two countries show that it is possible for the labeling laws to really look after the health interests of the gluten allergic and intolerant public. Despite claims by industry "experts" that this approach is unfeasible, our governments need to look to these countries on how to best serve the public, and stop pandering to industry special interest groups and corporate lobbyists. Industry will always lobby government to put in the weakest labeling laws, as this will maximize their profits. I'm not blaming them for that. But I expect my government to look after my health interests before industries bottom line.

Write to your member of parliament, your congressman, your state senator, your local media, and tell them that "Gluten Free labeling should be legislated to mean the product contains NO DETECTABLE GLUTEN. Anything else is a scam."

Further reading:

Mealanie Weir's article about Gluten Free labeling

New UK Gluten Free Labeling Laws

Latest news regarding USFDA proposed labeling legislation

New European Gluten Free labeling legislation

Article on Gluten Free labeling laws in Australia and NZ - world's best practices

Trader Joes "No Gluten" logo - note, they say use at your own risk

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I have had a celiac reaction to gluten in Trader Joes Organic Rice pasta both times I've eaten it.

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I've eaten that for years & never had a problem. Are you certain the sauce etc, colander, side dishes, were all gluten-free?

I actually think TJs is doing the labeling right. This isn't their first iteration.

I don't think there ever will be enough dedicated-gluten-free manufacturing facilities to produce everyone's gluten-free food in buildings/equipment that have never seen wheat.

It sucks that we have to go w/ trial & error regarding which companies might be more prone to cross-contamination, but before trying something new I do a search on it here. I know Lays & Amy's frozen foods get questioned a lot.

I think new celiacs are often overly-alarmed by the "facility MAY have"-type disclaimers.

My own kitchen would lose its "100% gluten-free facility" status if a kid walked through w/ a KitKat.

The phrase "No gluten-containing ingredients" lets ppl know they don't have to worry about barley malt snuck into Natural Flavors etc - one example of a formerly legitimate concern that's wiped away by TJs policy.

Btw, there are many open questions regarding how well the ppm tests even catch hordein, the barley gluten.

I can imagine some gluten-free companies testing everything all the time & passing on the costs but personally I don't think my 1 or 2 ingredient items from TJs have an associated risk worthy of constant testing.

Lastly, it's in no way a "scam" for TJs to put their little G on products w/ no gluten-containing ingredients.

Imho, it's a service.

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I think the biggest benefit to buying at TJ's is the no gluten ingredients PLUS they label many foods with the type of facility it was processed in.

If it says "processed with wheat" I steer clear, most of the time.

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I've eaten that for years & never had a problem. Are you certain the sauce etc, colander, side dishes, were all gluten-free?

...

Imho, it's a service.

Hey Tom ... you're right in saying that it's difficult to be absolutely certain where the contaminant come from. I live in a two person household, and the house is nearly completely gluten free. But, of course, my reactions could possibly come from elsewhere. But I will be avoiding this product myself to be safe.

I guess a large part of my reaction to the TJ gluten free icon is that this is not how the food industry should do labeling, and that this would not be legal in many countries. On the same product TJ have labels for USDA Organic, and International Quality Assurance Certified Organic. Both of these organic logos are for external organizations that stand behind the organic status of the products that use their logo. They say the product in a Product of Canada. They break down the food nutritional Facts for us. There are labeling laws behind the regulating this packaging information, and repercussions should the information be incorrect.

The Trader Joes Gluten Free label is in-house, and likely invented by their marketing department. They possibly test some of their own products, they may look at some of the production plants, but at the same time they warn on their website regarding their g* logo, to "use at your own risk". If they get it wrong, sorry, but too bad. They may, as you clearly do, believe that they're being helpful, but I can't trust them if they their legal disclaimer attached to their gluten free advice shows that they don't take any legal responsibility for their advice. If their testing and research were rigorous, they would not need the disclaimer.

There are four gluten free certification programs in North America. These are independent organizations, with an associated logo label, that guarantee to the consumer that a product has been independently tested and verified to be gluten free. Details of these organizations can be found here.

But, as you say, the product may be gluten free. I had a reaction, you never have. I like Trader Joes, but I don't like the direction this kind of labeling is heading. If they want to help, they would be better off using an independent gluten free certification service that stands by their advice. With their label, they're effectively saying Gluten Free!!!!! (probably)

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They could legally just say nothing at all. Companies like Conagra are lauded for a 'no hidden gluten' policy, which is what "no gluten-containing ingred used" basically means to me, since I'm going to read the ingred list anyway.

I shopped gluten-free at TJs for years before the little g, I think many find it helpful & perfectly appropriate in this iteration of their gluten-free labeling. I'm not going to fault them for there being a CYA aspect to the statements. It'd be foolish not to these days.

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I think new celiacs are often overly-alarmed by the "facility MAY have"-type disclaimers.

My own kitchen would lose its "100% gluten-free facility" status if a kid walked through w/ a KitKat.

:lol: well said... and Amen, brother. :)

Everyone should use his/her best judgment, of course, but I am with PricklyPear, if it says "processed in a facility on shared equipment with WHEAT"-- I do not eat it, but that's just my preference.

If it says "CONTAINS WHEAT", now, that's a given.

(and just for the record,FWIW, this thread is old )

and not to pick at a sore subject, but the NFCA (one of those "4 independent organizations" in North America AUSSIE CHRIS mentions? has made a Gigantic blunder already this week with Dominos....

just sayin.

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Count me in as one that says I don't eat food "processed in a factory that also processes wheat...."

Interestingly, Trader Joe's is coming to CO soon. Now I know to read every label...which I do anyway.

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I do not consider a "processed in the same facility as" gluten warning to be an automatic no for me. I consider the company and the product and will most often buy it. I give a lot more consideration to something "processed on the same lines as" gluten, but again I am forewarned and would not blame the company for putting this statement on the package - instead I would thank them. Yes, it requires us to read and make an individual decision for ourselves. Many will not buy either of the above; I occasionally buy and eat both of the above. I had a problem with Amy's and have never bought any more. I have never had a problem with TJ's and shop there frequently.

I get frustrated with candy in New Zealand - it usually says "Contains glucose syrup - from wheat" on the label and I have no idea if it is refined enough to meet the 5 ppm standard or not. At any rate, keeps me from eating a lot of candy :D And at least it isn't HFCS. :P

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Count me in as one that says I don't eat food "processed in a factory that also processes wheat...."

Interestingly, Trader Joe's is coming to CO soon. Now I know to read every label...which I do anyway.

I don't get it. If you try a food that makes you ill, don't eat it again. Food sensitives can be complicated , and not all roads lead to gluten.

I applaud those companies who are willing to work with us. It's not a proven, nor perfected science yet, AND I GET THAT.

I'm grateful for the effort. B)

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Count me in as one that says I don't eat food "processed in a factory that also processes wheat...."

Interestingly, Trader Joe's is coming to CO soon. Now I know to read every label...which I do anyway.

It's not a law in the US that a company disclose that. Many companies don't. You may be buying and eating products that are processed in the same facility and don't state it on the label.

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I don't get it. If you try a food that makes you ill, don't eat it again. Food sensitives can be complicated , and not all roads lead to gluten.

I applaud those companies who are willing to work with us. It's not a proven, nor perfected science yet, AND I GET THAT.

I'm grateful for the effort. B)

You DO know that you can be c/c'd, without symptoms, and can still be causing damage to your intestines, right?

Yes, I'm sure I'm consuming gluten in trace amounts, whether I want to or not. But, to lessen the opportunities that gluten is killing me from the insides/out, I'll take every opportunity to NOT consume foods that are disclosed "may have been" processed on shared lines.

BTW, I have experience with food processing lines. Yes, they are cleaned between uses, but I wouldn't count on them being as clean as a Celiac patients would do for themselves. Sorry, they have a business to run...gluten is not their primary concern.

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But, to lessen the opportunities that gluten is killing me from the insides/out, I'll take every opportunity to NOT consume foods that are disclosed "may have been" processed on shared lines.

That is pretty much what I do as well.

The "shared lines" disclosure is much appreciated and I use it as a guide for myself. I know others do not worry so much about it, and that works for them, but I was very ill for so long and I handle my recovery with extra vigilance. When I do use packaged G F foods, I choose dedicated facilities. Again, that's just my preference.

I have no doubt we continue to consume gluten in trace amounts, no matter what we do. As someone very wise on here once pointed out, the "planet Earth is a shared facility". :)

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