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Do Not Trust The Trader Joes Labels


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#61 T.H.

 
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:53 PM

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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#62 quincy

 
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Posted 05 January 2011 - 05:36 PM

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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#63 AussieChris

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:41 AM

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. Posted Image 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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#64 tom

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:51 PM

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

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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>>>>>>> tom <<<<<<<

Celiac 1st diagnosed as a toddler, in the 60s. Docs then, between bloodletting & leech-tending, said "he'll grow out of it" & I was back on gluten & mostly fine for 30yrs.

Gluten-free since 12-03
Dairy-free since 10-04
Soy-free since 5-07

#65 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:17 PM

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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#66 AussieChris

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:31 PM

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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#67 tom

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:44 PM

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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>>>>>>> tom <<<<<<<

Celiac 1st diagnosed as a toddler, in the 60s. Docs then, between bloodletting & leech-tending, said "he'll grow out of it" & I was back on gluten & mostly fine for 30yrs.

Gluten-free since 12-03
Dairy-free since 10-04
Soy-free since 5-07

#68 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:45 PM

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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#69 CeliacAndCfsCrusader

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 04:15 PM

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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#70 mushroom

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:03 PM

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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#71 Lisa

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

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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#72 kareng

 
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 06:24 PM

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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#73 CeliacAndCfsCrusader

 
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Posted 19 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

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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#74 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:35 AM

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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"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way we cope with it makes the difference." Virginia Satir

"The strongest of all warriors are these two - time and patience." Leo Tolstoy

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else" Booker T. Washington

“If idiots could fly, the sky would be like an airport.”― Laura Davenport 

"Do or do not. There is no try. "-  Yoda.

"LTES"  Gem 2014

 

Misdiagnosed for 25+ years; Finally Diagnosed with Celiac  11/01/10.  Double DQ2 genes. This thing tried to kill me. I view Celiac as a fire breathing dragon --and I have run my sword right through his throat.
I. Win. bliss-smiley-emoticon.gif





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