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Trader Joe's
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I just wanted to let you all know that I got a horrible glutening recently from a box of Trader Joe's Low Sodium Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup. It says it is gluten free and does not mention that it is made on equipment shared with wheat,only with nuts or soy. However,after eating it,I got very sick,as I have with quite a few other TJ's products.

I wrote to the company asking more about their 'Gluten Free' vs. 'No Gluten Ingredients' labels. This was their response:

"Thank you for providing this valuable feedback. We believe that quality

is essential to good value, and that's what we are all about! We would

like to extend our apologies for any disappointing experience you have

had.

Our products are labeled as 'No Gluten Ingredients', as many are made on

equipment shared with wheat. We do not label Gluten Free unless there

is no wheat at all in our suppliers' facilities.

Our statements are a reaction to a large number of customers that

requested this information on the labels. It is a very difficult

balance for us to maintain between the information we provide and the

actual health risk for those that suffer from food allergies. We are

actively trying to separate manufacturing processes for all products

where we can, however, the suppliers for many of our products are not

large suppliers, and they do not have the ability to build separate

facilities for each item they package or produce, or to build in the

necessary barriers in their existing facilities.

Our statement is voluntary, and just because another retailer or

manufacturer doesn't have similar statements on their packaging doesn't

mean they have separated their manufacturing processes. A set of

universal dietary guidelines for Celiac Disease does not exist. Our

suppliers follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's) to segregate

ingredients on shared equipment and/or in the facility. Individuals

have different levels of sensitivity, so remember the motto: When in

doubt, leave it out.

We have forwarded your comments to the appropriate departments. We will

continue to monitor this product for future trends, as this does appear

to be an isolated experience. I also wanted to make sure you are aware

of our "Product Guarantee." If you are dissatisfied with any product

purchased in our stores, you can take it, or just the package, back for

an exchange or full refund. At that time you can ask to fill out our

Product Complaint Form that notifies our Quality Assurance Department of

the incident. This way we can address and resolve the issue with our

supplier thoroughly.

At Trader Joe's, we are always striving to improve, and this would give

us the opportunity to do just that."

I took that as meaning that none of their products are really totally safe for really sensitive people(myself included). I've got glutened a few times from their products and I just wanted to share this in case anyone else was wondering...it's too bad though.

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Thanks for posting. I was thinking of wandering around our local TJ this week. May not now.

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They are being honest. Even though they make their best efforts, and disclose any CC risk in their facility, they have no control over the companies that supply their ingredients.

There is never an honest guarantee against cross contamination in any manufacturing facility.

Ingredients come from sources where they may have come into contact with gluten. Employees at the gluten-free facility may come to work with crumbs from their breakfast toast on their clothing, under their fingernails, or in their hair. There can never be a 100% guarantee.

Trader Joe's is as good as it gets.

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Did you read the part about only labeling gluten-free if there was NO WHEAT used in the manufacturers facility? You said the soup was labeled gluten-free, right? But still you believe there was gluten. It couldn't have been anything else you ate in the previous three days? It couldn't possibly be anything else?

I've consumed lots of things from Trader Joe's. I drive out of my way to find them when I travel and then stock up! I think their disclosure policy is as upfront and honest as possible.

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Did you read the part about only labeling gluten-free if there was NO WHEAT used in the manufacturers facility? You said the soup was labeled gluten-free, right? But still you believe there was gluten. It couldn't have been anything else you ate in the previous three days? It couldn't possibly be anything else?

I've consumed lots of things from Trader Joe's. I drive out of my way to find them when I travel and then stock up! I think their disclosure policy is as upfront and honest as possible.

Yes,I did read that and I checked very closely on their labeling policies. There was absolutely nothing else it could have been. Some people may not react to these products,but I know that I did. I think Trader Joe's is one of the best places although I've found that I personally can't have any of their processed foods, but then again, I'm really sensitive.

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Traders Joe's goes out of their way for folks with celiac disease.......I wish people with gluten issues were more understanding and appreciative of anyone's steps for going gluten free. I'm sensitive as well, very much so, however....sometimes I think we forget that some things just don't agree with your belly that have nothing to do with gluten!! Maybe you have issues with something else in their soup...I can't have onions, which has nothing to do with being gluten free. I understand its frustrating when you get sick and you aren't sure why, but please let's try not to be so quick in throwing good companies under the bus (i.e. the title line being TRADER JOE'S NOT GLUTEN FREE). Hopefully you're feeling better.

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Traders Joe's goes out of their way for folks with celiac disease.......I wish people with gluten issues were more understanding and appreciative of anyone's steps for going gluten free. I'm sensitive as well, very much so, however....sometimes I think we forget that some things just don't agree with your belly that have nothing to do with gluten!! Maybe you have issues with something else in their soup...I can't have onions, which has nothing to do with being gluten free. I understand its frustrating when you get sick and you aren't sure why, but please let's try not to be so quick in throwing good companies under the bus (i.e. the title line being TRADER JOE'S NOT GLUTEN FREE). Hopefully you're feeling better.

Yep.. totally agree! I cant do raw spinach! TJs does a good job I think. They dont try to cover up- its just important that we read labels where we have doubts!

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I felt their answer was honest and upfront. They are mearly saying they know the ingredients of the product should be gluten-free in their purest form hence the "Gluten Free Ingredients" label. But they also say that they will not label it made in a gluten-free facility if it is not. As has been said before, we constantly eat from non-dedicated facilities. Mom's house is and my house is as my DH keeps bread there. It's very hard to get a pure food anywhere.

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Traders Joe's goes out of their way for folks with celiac disease.......I wish people with gluten issues were more understanding and appreciative of anyone's steps for going gluten free. I'm sensitive as well, very much so, however....sometimes I think we forget that some things just don't agree with your belly that have nothing to do with gluten!! Maybe you have issues with something else in their soup...I can't have onions, which has nothing to do with being gluten free. I understand its frustrating when you get sick and you aren't sure why, but please let's try not to be so quick in throwing good companies under the bus (i.e. the title line being TRADER JOE'S NOT GLUTEN FREE). Hopefully you're feeling better.

could not agree more with this, Mo!

I eat TONS of stuff from TJ's, even sometimes taking a risk w/ products made on shared equipment, and NEVER have a problem. Perhaps I am less sensitive (this was NOT so in the beginning......had reactions to ALL kinds of things, including dairy, flax seeds, beans, so it wasn't all gluten).

I think this is an individual choice - Trader Joe's has been WONDERFUL to me - I am in there about twice a week and am actually on a HUGGING basis with a couple of their employees! :) and some of their items are stapes and necessities for me (chicken mini tacos, certain sausages, Columbus lunch meats, all kinds of cheeses, their gluten-free granola - YUM - tons and tons of stuff).

:)

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I am a big Trader Joe's fan. When I first went gluten-free, I could not eat many of their products (processed) without a reaction because I was VERY sensitive. When they started labeling whether or not foods were processed on shared equipment, it helped me weed out what was OK and what was not.

I, like others who posted here, really appreciate their honesty. I may not be able to eat all their processed food but at least I have the information to make the decision.

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When TJ's products list "no gluten ingredients," does the packaging also say that the item is manufactured in a plant that processes wheat?

Sorry if I missed it.

Thanks,

Lyn

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Due to our multiple food allergies, there isn't much we can eat from TJ's. We do not eat stuff made on shared equipment.

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I wish I read this post before. I ate Trader Joe's Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup on two occasions in the past two weeks. The first time was at a friend's house, so there were other possibilities for contamination (although we were doing our best to minimize those), the second time at home (this was a different box). Both times I had obvious signs of being glutened (I am still recovering). I connected the dots only after the last time I had the soup. The frustrating part is that the packaging states that No Gluten ingredients were used, but nothing about what type of facility or equipment it was manufactured at/on - until now I thought that this meant that the facility does not process items that contain gluten. I will have to rethink which items from TJ's besides Udi gluten-free bread and fresh fruits and vegetables are safe...

I personally find it very hard to navigate the various approaches that different companies take to label their products. As many others, I used to think that if TJ's product was labeled with G, meaning no gluten ingredients were used, that the product was safe. Then, I realized that this was not the case and that some products are labeled with additional information about whether they're produced on equipment that also processes wheat and other ingredients that contain gluten - however, some products (e.g., Trader Joe's Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup) do not have this information, making things very unclear (do they lack this information because allergens are not used at the given facility or because this information is provided voluntary?). And then at times you can find a statement of this nature: "we follow Good Manufacturing Practices to segregate ingredients on shared equipment and/or in the facility," which further makes one think that the product should be relatively safe... However, it seems to me that folks who are really sensitive need to doubt everything that is displayed on TJ's product packaging (perhaps with the exception of when the package states that the product is gluten free -- supposidly used only when no gluten at all is used at the facility).

Try explaining this to friends and family members who go the extra mile to provide you with gluten-free options while you are visiting and get especially excited when they see a big G label on TJ's products...

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