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    General Mills Sued Again, This Time for Misleading Labels on Gluten-free Cheerios


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 02/02/2016 - General Mills seems to be having a hard time catching a break lately, especially when it comes to their new gluten-free options.


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    Photo: CC--JamieAfter some minor good news that their new gluten-free versions of Cheerios breakfast cereal was driving a small increase in an otherwise falling cereal market, the company has found itself on the receiving end of several lawsuits.

    In the latest lawsuit, a Kentucky woman is suing the cereal producer over what she claims are misleading labels on their gluten-free products, including gluten-free Cheerios.

    In her class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 18 in the Eastern District of California, Jacklyn Haddix, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, alleges that General Mills, General Mills Sales, General Mills Operations, and Does 1-50, engaged in "unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, negligence and violations of Kentucky and California consumer protection laws."

    The suit states that after General Mills began to advertise and distribute its gluten-free Cheerios products throughout the U.S., in September, the Food and Drug Administration received consumer reports of adverse reactions from people who had eaten gluten free-labeled Cheerios.

    On Oct. 5, after FDA tests of 36 Cheerios samples that certain samples contained gluten levels well above the mandated limit for products labeled gluten-free.

    General Mills subsequently recalled 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios. Two days later, the company revealed finished product testing had not been performed on the recalled Cheerios, according to the suit.

    Haddix and others in the suit seek "compensatory, exemplary, punitive, and statutory damages, plus return of purchase prices, interests, reimbursement, disgorgement, and attorney fees and costs" exceeding $5 million.

    Stay tuned for more developments on this and other gluten-free product lawsuits.

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    As I've stated for other post ... Go certified only! I don't know how you can sue when it states on the box it is gluten removed. Not worth eating! No wonder they support the celiac foundation, the are ruining your villi one grain at a time.

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    I think it is not a good idea to sue the company for a little mistake . It is discouraging for the company and its staff to produce more gluten free products . Celiac people would suffer because of limited products available in the market, but the lady would enjoy winning $5 million and would buy new luxury item and travel free by catching a little mistake . Just it is my personal opinion. Thanks

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    As I've stated for other post ... Go certified only! I don't know how you can sue when it states on the box it is gluten removed. Not worth eating! No wonder they support the celiac foundation, the are ruining your villi one grain at a time.

    I agree Tara, not worth the risk to me either.

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    Beginning the article with "General Mills seems to be having a hard time catching a break lately, especially when it comes to their new gluten-free options." is a biased position. If you want to be seen as reporting the facts, please do not use leading language like this, especially when it reveals your commitment is not to celiac patients but to Cheerios.

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    Guest JFStinson

    Posted

    This lawsuit is not about any ones health, its about attorneys preying upon industry trying to offer choices.. The only ones to benefit from this will be the lawyers and it may harm efforts to encourage more such gluten free products in the future. I am disgusted.

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    Guest Jackson

    Posted

    I think it is not a good idea to sue the company for a little mistake . It is discouraging for the company and its staff to produce more gluten free products . Celiac people would suffer because of limited products available in the market, but the lady would enjoy winning $5 million and would buy new luxury item and travel free by catching a little mistake . Just it is my personal opinion. Thanks

    I agree with amir. These company's are willing to provide gluten free products and then come along people who are willing to destroy these company's for nothing but greed.

    So all of us must suffer as many other company's will be watching this issue of General Mills and decide whether they themselves will continue gluten free food products.

    Those who want to sue need to stop thinking this is a perfect world where no one makes mistakes.

    Cut me a physical break! We all know that getting the big bucks from General Mills is what's behind all this. I urge others to contact General Mills to continue to provide gluten free foods.

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    I agree with amir. Lets be a little forgiving. I'm a celiac and I want to continue to enjoy my Cheerios.

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    Guest bluffwallace

    Posted

    we should not sue. If we sue, we won't have gluten free products available. We are lucky to have the product availability and prices that we have now. please don't ruin this for us.

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    The point is, you thought they were providing gluten free products, but they weren't. Their testing wasn't accurate in any way, and the product that was presented as gluten free was actually adversely affecting your health. This was not a mistake, it was negligence in the part of a company that thought they would get more of your money before their deceit was discovered. Saying "we should be grateful" is undervaluing yourself and your health--if we buy these products, we deserve to receive actual gluten free food!

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    Gluten has serious impact beyond the obvious gastrointestinal symptoms. If I get gluten, it's 3 weeks of brain fog and sometimes depression. I have passed out before due to the extreme reaction to gluten in something that was supposed to be gluten free. I know others with worse reaction.

     

    Just because all you get is a tummy ache, don't be so quick to relieve a manufacturer from liability when they failed to keep a product gluten free in manufacturing, then failed to test it, then shipped and sold their product as gluten free.

     

    "Lucky" to have their product? Seriously? They tried to exploit a gluten free market without taking the proper steps every other manufacturer takes to protect us. They put us at risk for shortcuts. I don't trust them and I WON'T buy their product.

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    I think it is not a good idea to sue the company for a little mistake . It is discouraging for the company and its staff to produce more gluten free products . Celiac people would suffer because of limited products available in the market, but the lady would enjoy winning $5 million and would buy new luxury item and travel free by catching a little mistake . Just it is my personal opinion. Thanks

    Well said. People who jump at a chance to sue over that make me more sick than ingesting gluten and I have been a diagnosed celiac for 18 years

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    The point is, you thought they were providing gluten free products, but they weren't. Their testing wasn't accurate in any way, and the product that was presented as gluten free was actually adversely affecting your health. This was not a mistake, it was negligence in the part of a company that thought they would get more of your money before their deceit was discovered. Saying "we should be grateful" is undervaluing yourself and your health--if we buy these products, we deserve to receive actual gluten free food!

    Have you never accidentally eaten gluten but probably your own fault now you can jump because you can make a quick buck?

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    I got sick from eating Gluten Free Cheerios. I don't think after what they did they should be allowed to continue to supposedly make Gluten Free Products! They obviously don't care about our health. Just their bottom line!

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    I got sick from eating Gluten Free Cheerios. I don't think after what they did they should be allowed to continue to supposedly make Gluten Free Products! They obviously don't care about our health. Just their bottom line!

    I absolutely agree with you. And this may sound bad, but at least you got sick. I did also. And that is horrible, I agree, but what about the celiacs that don't have that reaction. They could be eating this totally unaware that their villi are being damaged. That 'Oh well, people got a little sick' attitude needs to stop. It is not the feeling sick, the brain fog, the migraines, or even my seizures (although all horrible) ...GLUTEN can be doing permanent damage is the biggest issue.

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    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.

    Jefferson Adams
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    To that end, a research team recently set out to try to get some information about the frequency and importance of clonal T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements (TCR-GRs) in small bowel (SB) biopsies of patients without RCDII. The research team included Shafinaz Hussein, Tatyana Gindin, Stephen M Lagana, Carolina Arguelles-Grande, Suneeta Krishnareddy, Bachir Alobeid, Suzanne K Lewis, Mahesh M Mansukhani, Peter H R Green, and Govind Bhagat.
    They are variously affiliated with the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, and the Department of Medicine at the Celiac Disease Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA. Their team analyzed results of TCR-GR analyses performed on SB biopsies at our institution over a 3-year period, which were obtained from eight active celiac disease, 172 celiac disease on gluten-free diet, 33 RCDI, and three RCDII patients and 14 patients without celiac disease. 
    Clonal TCR-GRs are not infrequent in cases lacking features of RCDII, while PCPs are frequent in all disease phases. TCR-GR results should be assessed in conjunction with immunophenotypic, histological and clinical findings for appropriate diagnosis and classification of RCD.
    The team divided the TCR-GR patterns into clonal, polyclonal and prominent clonal peaks (PCPs), and correlated these patterns with clinical and pathological features. In all, they detected clonal TCR-GR products in biopsies from 67% of patients with RCDII, 17% of patients with RCDI and 6% of patients with gluten-free diet. They found PCPs in all disease phases, but saw no significant difference in the TCR-GR patterns between the non-RCDII disease categories (p=0.39). 
    They also noted a higher frequency of surface CD3(−) IELs in cases with clonal TCR-GR, but the PCP pattern showed no associations with any clinical or pathological feature. 
    Repeat biopsy showed that the clonal or PCP pattern persisted for up to 2 years with no evidence of RCDII. The study indicates that better understanding of clonal T cell receptor gene rearrangements may help researchers improve refractory celiac diagnosis. 
    Source:
    Journal of Clinical Pathologyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205023