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Near East Rice
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I did a search on Near East products before consuming the Spanish rice pilaf I bought yesterday and came up with no complaints. I, however, have been experiencing gluten-like symptoms each time I consumed more portions of the product from the box I bought. I called the company and the customer service guy told me that while the products do not contain gluten ingredients, they are packaged and shipped with other grains. I told them they need to LABEL that sort of thing on their boxes and they are compensating my pain by sending me more coupons for their poorly labeled products. Hurray.

I guess not everyone reacts to their products, but perhaps I'm especially sensitive. Anyway, I'm hoping the next person who searches for information on Near East products will come across this and think twice before they eat it because I'm definitely having regrets.

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I'm not familiar with that particular product, but most rice pilaf that I am aware of contains small pasta's mixed with the rice.

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No, this had no pasta or gluten ingredients, just cross contamination.

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THANK YOU!!! for the heads up! It was actually on my counter to make for dinner tonight. Weird sort of fate. I thought we'd try something new. We are super sensitive so I'm not taking any chances.

Jillian

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I want to give an update on what happened with Pespico when I contacted them regarding proper labeling of this product. I am absolutely infuriated by these companies' ignorance of this issue!!

I called to inquire as to the handling of the product and was told that although there are no gluten ingredients (which I already knew), the product is exposed to wheat in the manufacturing and packaging and shipping processes. I told them they need to label that sort of thing on the box next to the ingredients to prevent people like me from getting sick.

Michael Jenkinson, the lovely CSR I spoke with, proceeded to ask me if I had actually been diagnosed as having a gluten intolerance by a board certified physician. I told him that doctors really don't know a lot about it, and my bloodwork shows a genetic predisposition toward the disorder but my biopsy results were negative only because I waited 5 months after being off gluten to get them done rendering them inaccurate.

So Mr. Jenkinson apparently took this to mean that I don't know my body at all, because he sent me coupons to buy MORE of their products (all Quaker products--none of which I can eat), and a letter that said the following:

"Please understand that since you do not have any known food allergies, we cannot speculate on what may have caused the reaction you reported. We would encourage you to seek an evaluation and diagnosis from a Board Certified Allergist. If an allergen is identified, we suggest you carefully review the ingredients listed on all product labels if there is anything in particular you wish to avoid in your diet."

He enclosed a pamphlet on food allergies and information on board certified allergists so I could begin to identify the true reason why their product have made me sick. Wow Mike, thanks so much for your help!

INFURIATING!

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THANK YOU!!! for the heads up! It was actually on my counter to make for dinner tonight. Weird sort of fate. I thought we'd try something new. We are super sensitive so I'm not taking any chances.

Jillian

Jillian, I'm so glad this helped!

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Yikes! I don't think I've bought anything of that brand since we were diagnosed. Not sure why though.

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I want to give an update on what happened with Pespico when I contacted them regarding proper labeling of this product. I am absolutely infuriated by these companies' ignorance of this issue!!

I called to inquire as to the handling of the product and was told that although there are no gluten ingredients (which I already knew), the product is exposed to wheat in the manufacturing and packaging and shipping processes. I told them they need to label that sort of thing on the box next to the ingredients to prevent people like me from getting sick.

Michael Jenkinson, the lovely CSR I spoke with, proceeded to ask me if I had actually been diagnosed as having a gluten intolerance by a board certified physician. I told him that doctors really don't know a lot about it, and my bloodwork shows a genetic predisposition toward the disorder but my biopsy results were negative only because I waited 5 months after being off gluten to get them done rendering them inaccurate.

So Mr. Jenkinson apparently took this to mean that I don't know my body at all, because he sent me coupons to buy MORE of their products (all Quaker products--none of which I can eat), and a letter that said the following:

"Please understand that since you do not have any known food allergies, we cannot speculate on what may have caused the reaction you reported. We would encourage you to seek an evaluation and diagnosis from a Board Certified Allergist. If an allergen is identified, we suggest you carefully review the ingredients listed on all product labels if there is anything in particular you wish to avoid in your diet."

He enclosed a pamphlet on food allergies and information on board certified allergists so I could begin to identify the true reason why their product have made me sick. Wow Mike, thanks so much for your help!

INFURIATING!

You should have hung up the phone the minute this guy started asking if you had been diagnosed. Or you should have just told him yes. Your medical history is none of his business. Since you have this reps name I would write a letter to his head office and tell them about this. He was way out of line. Oh I would also draw a black line thru the UPC codes on those coupons and send them along with the letter.

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Including a curt reply about the fact that gluten intolerance and celiac disease are NOT food allergies and as such cannot be dx'd by an allergy specialist. Their company should really hire a consultant from one of the celiac centers to help them avoid negative comments and/or law suits from persons with this autoimmune disease who they are injuring through nondisclosure.

Being condescended to by a CSA is really a humiliating experience that will not help their corporate image with the 30,000 members of your internet support group and their families, friends and coworkers. Perhaps an apology is called for and a more humane company policy is in order.

This sounds all lawyerly and should get someone's attention. I would go to the site map of their website and see if you can find the e-mail of a higher up. I once did this and had good results within my own wire company. I couldn't find the guy's e-mail but I knew his name. When I saw the e-mail addresses of others in his company, I guessed at his and it worked.

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Including a curt reply about the fact that gluten intolerance and celiac disease are NOT food allergies and as such cannot be dx'd by an allergy specialist. Their company should really hire a consultant from one of the celiac centers to help them avoid negative comments and/or law suits from persons with this autoimmune disease who they are injuring through nondisclosure.

Being condescended to by a CSA is really a humiliating experience that will not help their corporate image with the 30,000 members of your internet support group and their families, friends and coworkers. Perhaps an apology is called for and a more humane company policy is in order.

This sounds all lawyerly and should get someone's attention. I would go to the site map of their website and see if you can find the e-mail of a higher up. I once did this and had good results within my own wire company. I couldn't find the guy's e-mail but I knew his name. When I saw the e-mail addresses of others in his company, I guessed at his and it worked.

Thanks for your comment. I just sent them a long letter and included a few good points you brought up.

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I did a search on Near East products before consuming the Spanish rice pilaf I bought yesterday and came up with no complaints. I, however, have been experiencing gluten-like symptoms each time I consumed more portions of the product from the box I bought. I called the company and the customer service guy told me that while the products do not contain gluten ingredients, they are packaged and shipped with other grains. I told them they need to LABEL that sort of thing on their boxes and they are compensating my pain by sending me more coupons for their poorly labeled products. Hurray.

I guess not everyone reacts to their products, but perhaps I'm especially sensitive. Anyway, I'm hoping the next person who searches for information on Near East products will come across this and think twice before they eat it because I'm definitely having regrets.

To play devil's advocate here for a moment.....Near east is a brand I used regularly before I was diagnosed. Since then, they no longer are bought in my household for the reason that they do not advertise themselves as being gluten free and I think they are under no obligation to mark their boxes as such or warn against cc. I already knew some of their products did not contain any gluten ingredients but the products are all grain based so the odds of cc would be high. It's one of those situations where a Celiac has to use their knowledge and instincts to make a decision for themselves and not blame the company for something they are not obligated to do. I do not think the box is poorly labeled at all. Mistakes will be made by newly diagnosed Celiacs and it's all part of the learning curve.

Having said that, the company rep was a moron to have spoken to you like that and he clearly was way out of bounds. It's not his job to lecture you regarding Celiac and diagnostics used...none of his business.

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Old thread but I wanted to add to it in case anyone searches the topic.

I believe I got glutened from the Near East Spanish Rice last night. The pain woke me up at 4 am and the Big D started and continued til 5 am and cramps til 6 am. I had a weird rumble after eating dinner and my appetite wouldn't be satiated, I was hungry soon after dinner ended despite having seconds - that should have been a clue now that I think about it.

I feel horrible today, like I had been beaten up. As I was writing in my food diary this morning (I track all incidents and culprits) I was thinking about everything I ate yesterday and the day before and narrowed it down to the rice since I make most things from scratch. I should have known better, I just wasn't thinking. Near East makes rice pilaf (a staple in our home before going gluten-free) and cous-cous so cross contamination is a high risk. It happens. I've had a good 6-8 weeks of no issues and I'm 8 months into the gluten-free diet. I guess even when we get into a good groove we still need to take a moment and reflect on our food choices. Going forward I'll make my own Spanish rice from scratch with safe ingredients.

I can't believe the company asked if you were diagnosed allergic by a certified allergist as if that was any of their business or had any bearing on their labeling practices. It's not an allergy! Oh boy.

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I haven't bought any of their products since going gluten-free. The potential for CC (due to all the couscous) as well as the dreaded "natural flavors" (which could be barley-based, since that doesn't have to be declared as an allergen) have kept me from even considering a purchase. I only trust Lundberg rice mixes at this point.

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