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Gluten In Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas?


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22 replies to this topic

#1 nascarrunner71

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 01:35 PM

Forgive me if this has been covered here, but my sister (celiac) just had this problem. I encouraged her to try corn tortillas. She purchased Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas at Whole Foods after reading the ingredients (Organic Sprouted Whole Kernel Corn, Filtered Water, Sea salt, Lime) and discussing it with a Whole Foods employee (they used to be stored next to the other gluten-free tortillas). She had a terrible reaction after having the tortillas, so I encouraged her to contact Food for Life. When she went to their website, she found the tortillas under the "Gluten Free/Wheat Free" section. The package doesn't say gluten-free, but it says "gluten free, flourless" on the website. However, while browsing the rest of the website, she found this comment relating to the non-gluten breads:

"sprouted in filtered water with a touch of organic malted barley and sea salt'

When she contacted Food for Life, she received the following response:

Thank you for your email. I am sorry that you obtain a stomach ache from the Organic Sprouted Corn Tortillas. That product does contain gluten. We offer a Wheat Free/Gluten Free Whole Grain Brown Rice Tortilla that IS free of gluten. Im sorry if there was a mix-up in the products that you can have due to you being Celiac. I will gladly send you out a packet of information regarding the products we do offer that are Gluten & Wheat Free if you would like. I will also include some money saving coupons. Please respond to this email with your full name and mailing address and I will get that information out to you as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Shannon Delbridge
Food For Life
Customer Relations.

So am I missing something? There is no wheat on the label. And since when does filtered water have INGREDIENTS? She was also offended by the "sorry for the stomach ache" comment.

My sister contacted our local Whole Foods and they seemed very concerned and removed the product from the shelves.

Thoughts? I just wanted to make every one aware. I know I have spoken to other celiacs in the tortilla section at Whole Foods--that and the gluten-free baking site are usually where I meet people!
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#2 kareng

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 02:12 PM

I just looked at the web site and they do list them as gluten-free. On another part that explains sprouted grains, they mention the barley in the water. I sent them a comment that I thought that was missleading. Maybe if a few others would send notes, too, they will look into it.
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#3 Skylark

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 02:15 PM

I do not buy Food For Life products because their labeling is confusing and has been deliberately misleading in the past. They were calling their spelt breads "wheat free" until an FDA crackdown forced them to recall the breads and relabel. As you found in your "stomach ache" email, the company does not seem to care much about consumer health issues.

http://fooddemocracy...for-life-bread/

The "contains wheat ingredients" does not apply to malted barley, and there are no celiac labeling rules in effect yet. The barley is probably below the % threshold where it has to be declared, although a more scrupulous company would declare it anyway. I'd report them to the FDA, since the product made your sister sick from an undisclosed ingredient.
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#4 conniebky

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 02:26 PM

When I was reading your post, I, too, was offended about the "sorry 'bout your stomach ache."

Stomach ache?? My Aunt Fanny it's just a stomach ache! I never heard of Food for Life, but that's reason enough for me not to want to know anything further.
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#5 skigirlchar

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:00 PM

how offensive - i'll make sure to never purchase their foods & i am sending this to all my friends who are amazing in their accommodations for me when i visit to make sure this is on the "do not buy" list.

i'd love for them to experience one of our "stomach aches" and then re-send that w/ a straight face.
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-severe soy, wheat & yeast allergies 2006
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+continually working on gluten-free/CF/SF related to allergies & celiac like symptoms
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#6 nascarrunner71

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:05 PM

Thank you for the support everyone. We just don't want anyone else to have the same problem. If we can make enough waves to fix the ingredient list--even better.
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#7 StephanieGF

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:06 PM

Why do companies do this, I mean really, can even a gluten eater taste that bit of barely in the water. :rolleyes: Yet it is a major problem for a growing part of the population. Especially when you market your product to health food stores like whole foods where people on gluten-free diets tend to shop. I wish WFs would stop carrying that product, I know at my whole foods it is right next to many other gluten-free products.
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#8 admin

 
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Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:12 PM

FYI: The Gluten-Free Mall is in the process of finding out more information about this product, and will drop it instantly if we find out that there is any gluten in this product. I'll let you know what we find out. Also, the customer service letter you posted was a typical "off the cuff" response that I would not put too much stock into. We did speak to someone at the company today named "Griffin" who already disagreed with what that letter said. He is going to get back to me with more details in the next few days.

Take care,
Scott
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#9 nascarrunner71

 
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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:23 AM

Scott,
Thank you for posting an update. I've also received an email from celiac.com stating they are working on this issue. I appreciate everyone's attention.

I suspected the email was a "blow-off" and that I why I have been attempting to gather info from other sources.
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#10 nascarrunner71

 
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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:28 AM

Why do companies do this, I mean really, can even a gluten eater taste that bit of barely in the water. :rolleyes: Yet it is a major problem for a growing part of the population. Especially when you market your product to health food stores like whole foods where people on gluten-free diets tend to shop. I wish WFs would stop carrying that product, I know at my whole foods it is right next to many other gluten-free products.


Our local whole foods where the tortillas were purchased has pulled the product off the shelves for now (after she supplied the company email). Previously, they had been displayed by the gluten-free products, but had been moved to a different area of the freezer. The manager was very concerned and was already walking toward the freezer before my sister requested they be pulled. I'd be curious if this spreads to their other branches. You might consider speaking to your local manager.
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#11 admin

 
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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:01 PM

FYI: I discontinued selling this product today on The Gluten-Free Mall in response to a phone conversation today with Griffin. His explanation about this product's gluten-free status was vague and confusing, even though they did and do still claim that the product is gluten-free on their own web site (which seemed to surprise him):
http://www.foodforli...ree-breads.html

I'd rather play it safe and stop selling it than take a chance.

He did assure me that their Food For Life Whole Grain Brown Rice Gluten-Free Tortillas are 100% gluten-free, and we will keep selling them.

Thanks for bringing this topic to my attention!

Take care,
Scott

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#12 GFinDC

 
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Posted 14 May 2010 - 08:30 PM

The sprouted corn tortillas are listed as gluten free on this page of their site. Last paragraph on the page.

Food for Life Gluten Free Bread: Delicious and Natural
Food For Life offers a wide variety of delicious gluten free products, including our new Sprouted Organic Corn Tortillas, Brown Rice Tortillas and two new Yeast Free Gluten Free Breads. All of our Gluten Free products are made with natural and carefully inspected ingredients.

I haven't seen on the Food for Life site where it says they use barley water in the sprouting process yet. Does anyone have a link to that?

Update

Ok, I did find a reference to barley water on the FAQs page. But it is talking about Ezekiel 4:9 bread. Not sure if there are other refs to the barley water sprouting process or not. It does seem like the sprouting process should be explained for the sprouted organic corn tortillas. They would have to use a different container for the sprouting and not use the barley to avoid CC.


FAQs
Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9® Sprouted Grain Bread is inspired by the Holy Scripture verse Ezekiel 4:9. Our 2,500 year old prodigy is made from six certified organic grains and legumes, sprouted in filtered water with a touch of organic malted barley and sea salt. This bread is truly the staff of life.
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Job 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
Thyroid cyst and nodules, Lactose / casein intolerant. Diet positive, gene test pos, symptoms confirmed by Dr-head. My current bad list is: gluten, dairy, sulfites, coffee (the devil's brew), tea, Bug's Bunnies carrots, garbanzo beans of pain, soy- no joy, terrible turnips, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and hard work. have a good day! :-) Paul

#13 nascarrunner71

 
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Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:35 PM

FYI: I discontinued selling this product today on The Gluten-Free Mall in response to a phone conversation today with Griffin. His explanation about this product's gluten-free status was vague and confusing, even though they did and do still claim that the product is gluten-free on their own web site (which seemed to surprise him):
http://www.foodforli...ree-breads.html

I'd rather play it safe and stop selling it than take a chance.

He did assure me that their Food For Life Whole Grain Brown Rice Gluten-Free Tortillas are 100% gluten-free, and we will keep selling them.

Thanks for bringing this topic to my attention!

Take care,
Scott


Scott,
Thank you for taking action on this problem. You were a great help.
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#14 kareng

 
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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:12 PM

I wrote them to ask about this the same day that this came up. This is the reply I recieved today:

Dear Karen, thank you for your interest in our products.



We do not advertise our Sprouted Corn Tortillas as ‘gluten free’. In house, we do take precautions against cross-contamination and we do not use any gluten ingredients in our Sprouted Corn Tortillas, but because we cannot be guaranteed by our supplier with ‘gluten free’ corn, we cannot responsibly make a ‘gluten free’ claim. This is simply an issue with the nature of the organic corn market at this time and there just isn’t a supplier out there who can guarantee this standard.



As for our filtered water, we have our own in-house reverse osmosis water filtration system and we do not reuse water in any of our products. Furthermore, we do not add barley or barley malt to our filtered water or our Sprouted Corn Tortillas.



I hope this information is helpful, please let me know if you have any further questions,



G. Griffin Boostrom

Customer Relations


This is what it still says on the website:

Food For Life offers a wide variety of delicious gluten free products, including our new Sprouted Organic Corn Tortillas, Brown Rice Tortillas and two new Yeast Free Gluten Free Breads. All of our Gluten Free products are made with natural and carefully inspected ingredients.

Also, when you click on gluten-free stuff it shows the sprouted corn but they have taken it off the actual list. I sent him back a note with the above & said that they might want to check the website.

This is too bad since I really liked the rice tortillas but feel that something is going on with this company (or maybe not enough is going on).
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Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare.  They are consumed in 12 minutes.  Half-times take 12 minutes.  This is not a coincidence.  - Emma Bombeck
 
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#15 CaraLouise

 
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Posted 19 May 2010 - 03:36 AM

I had them several years ago and I never felt quite right after eating them. Now I know why! Thanks so much for the research!
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