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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Complaints to FDA Led to Cheerios Gluten-free Lawsuit

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 02/26/2016 - Consumer complaints to the FDA fueled a class action lawsuit claiming that cereal maker General Mills mislabeled gluten contaminated Cheerios as "gluten-free."

    Photo: CC--Mike MozartThe recent suit was brought by a Kentucky woman, who alleges that she purchased two boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios labeled as gluten-free, but which actually contained gluten levels more than two times higher than allowed under FDA standards.

    The consumer complaints led to FDA testing on gluten-free Cheerios. The FDA tested 36 samples of gluten-free Cheerios taken from different manufacturing facilities and lots. The tests found that some "Gluten Free" Cheerios samples contained as much as 43 ppm gluten. Current FDA rules forbid the use of the statement "gluten-free" on any food product with gluten levels above 20 parts per million.

    General Mills issued a recall on Oct. 5., and the suit was filed in late 2015 in a California federal court, and charges violations of California and Kentucky consumer protection laws.

    The suit alleges that supposedly gluten-free oats were cross contaminated with ordinary wheat at one of General Mills' processing facilities.

    Stay tuned for more news on this and other developments on gluten-free labeling and celiac disability claims.

    Read more at Legalnewsline.com.


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    Hasn't this since been rectified? If so, mention of the fact that Cheerios are okay now would be a wise addition to this article.

    I received a recall notice before I could even eat them from Sam's Club. I remember that General Mills had quite a bit of information on their web site at the time. I agree, it should be noted that this has been rectified and it was an error that they quickly corrected.

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    I agree more follow up should be done regarding the recall and subsequent activities undertaken by General Mills. Working in the regulated industry, I know that whenever a recall is initiated, substantial "root cause" analysis is done to apply corrective actions to assure this doesn't happen again.

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    What does that mean: "gluten-free wheat was cross contaminated with ordinary wheat"?

    The article says 'gluten free oats were cross-contaminated with ordinary wheat'.

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    What does that mean: "gluten-free wheat was cross contaminated with ordinary wheat"?

    It means that the gluten-free oats were processed in a facility where wheat is processed.

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    Hasn't this since been rectified? If so, mention of the fact that Cheerios are okay now would be a wise addition to this article.

    I had the same question as Bob Zander: are the boxes of "gluten-free Cheerios" now on the shelves gluten-free? Those distributed last fall by General Mills were recalled...so does that mean that the product on grocery shelves today ARE safe to eat?

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    Stating that the oats were contaminated with real wheat is misleading because their process to render a gluten free product is by removing the gluten, NOT by preventing contamination. The fact of the matter is that their process of removing gluten is either not effective or that they did not do consistent testing to ensure the gluten free status. I personally will not consume their product until the celiac community has tried and tested it.

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    Stating that the oats were contaminated with real wheat is misleading because their process to render a gluten free product is by removing the gluten, NOT by preventing contamination. The fact of the matter is that their process of removing gluten is either not effective or that they did not do consistent testing to ensure the gluten free status. I personally will not consume their product until the celiac community has tried and tested it.

    As of now 3-14-2016 there must still be gluten in them. I have had celiac from birth and been getting real sick when I eat them.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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