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Label says "naturally gluten free food"

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I went to Aldi because friends said they had a lot of gluten-free items. I bought Clancy's cheese curls thinking they were gluten-free but when I double checked before feeding my daughter the gluten-free logo looked different to me. It has the wheat in a box and gluten free is in a box next to that. The word naturally is above the box and the word food is below the box. It is located under the ingredient label. It does not say anywhere that it is processed in a facility that has wheat. I emailed Aldo and they checked with the supplier. Here is their reply. "The  Clancy Cheese Puffs are produced in a facility that produces  pretzels  using  wheat flour which are not gluten free."

is this label just a misleading advertisement or what?  I'm not worries about her not getting cheese curls. Lol but their rice is labeled the same way. I didn't buy the rice so I couldn't inquire about that product. I tried posting a pic of the label but am not having good luck with that.

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A lot of products and companies can be very misleading. A lot of them do not understand the complexities of Celiac Disease and how serious it is. I think these labels are like this because of the "fad" gluten free diet. Those are the people that do not have to necessarily worry about cross contamination like we do. If it is processed in a facility that also processes wheat it is cross contaminated and not safe. It is very frustrating that the labels can be very misleading like this. I only eat certified gluten free products at this time because I don't feel comfortable trying anything else. Good catch. Hope this helps!

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There have been a bunch of issues with aldis and gluten free item along with a whole bunch of contamination and mislabeling. I know gluten free watch dog posted at least 3 times about issues in the past few years. Best stay away from them for food.

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Just got off the phone with them. So frustrating. I logged a complaint but I doubt it accomplishes anything. She said I can always call and check on a product. I told her that defeats the purpose of labels. I can't call every single time I purchase and what if they change facilities after I have checked an item? I said I felt that this was a purposeful attempt by Aldi to make consumers believe there was something special about this product. Wow! A gluten-free item that is affordable?! Thank you Aldi! When in fact they could harm my child with these misleading labels.  It's one thing if they advertise it on the front that it's a naturally gluten-free food. But to go to the trouble of making a logo that is so very similar to the gluten-free certified logo and strategically place it under the ingredients is imo criminal.

 

again, I doubt they care. ....sigh

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There's quite a few brands out there that say this as well. I just watch if it says where the product is manufactured. If it's dedicated that's great. If not that's not great. It's really up to us as consumers to read every label carefully. It may be naturally gluten free and say its gluten free but it may or may not have been cross contaminated. Unfortunately it's part of the marketing yes however it's not directed towards Celiacs in general. It's directed towards everyone who has issues with gluten. Those who are watching their diets, are just being curious, who are just learning, who have sensitivities and intolerance, etc. Certified gluten free labels are the safest.

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Part of this has to do, at least in the US and Canada, with regulations regarding labels. To label something "gluten free" is misleading if it does not distinguish the product from other, similar, foods that are not.

To label apples "gluten free" would be considered misleading. But you can label apples as a naturally gluten free food. That applies to all apples, not just the ones in the current package.

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Although a lot of things are naturally gluten free like fresh veggies, and fruit. Sometimes stuff does happen, always rinse your fresh produce, in my case the veggies are right next to the open bakery at one store. Drifting flour can be a issue or people take gluten food samples at the front door then handling produce.  As of late a few other issues have happened as companies expand into sauces/flavored versions in the same facility. This on a rare occasion can lead to CC of the raw and plain frozen/canned versions. This is a current issue with Birds eye in the past few months, where a few reports have surfaced of CC and people getting sick, birdeye in email response claims they could no longer guarantee gluten-free veggies despite practicing good manufacturing and packing procedures. They do admit to using the the same equipment but cleaning it between runs.

 

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On February 16, 2017 at 3:21 PM, celiacgeorigapaeach said:

A lot of products and companies can be very misleading. A lot of them do not understand the complexities of Celiac Disease and how serious it is. I think these labels are like this because of the "fad" gluten free diet. Those are the people that do not have to necessarily worry about cross contamination like we do. If it is processed in a facility that also processes wheat it is cross contaminated and not safe. It is very frustrating that the labels can be very misleading like this. I only eat certified gluten free products at this time because I don't feel comfortable trying anything else. Good catch. Hope this helps!

Just because a product in produced in a shared facility does not mean it is contaminated. The possibility of it being cc'd increases with shared lines.  Big difference.  I know some people do not believe this but I have been gluten-free for a dozen years, am incredibly sensitive, and do eat some products from shared facilities with zero issues in 12 years. That would never be possible if everything were contaminated with wheat.

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Sometimes "shared facilites" means separate buildings on the same corporate campus or separated parts of buildings.  I really worry more about "shared machinery"  than facilities.  And even if they use shared machinery, if it tests at <20 ppm, they may call it gluten-free in the US.

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On 2/19/2017 at 6:55 PM, kareng said:

Sometimes "shared facilites" means separate buildings on the same corporate campus or separated parts of buildings.  I really worry more about "shared machinery"  than facilities.  And even if they use shared machinery, if it tests at <20 ppm, they may call it gluten-free in the US.

Shared facilities may be fine or it may not. The real question is whether the place takes precautions to prevent cross contamination. This is something you can often determine with a simple phone call to the manufacturer. The issue the labeling laws in the US have zero teeth so celiacs do probably need to stay a bit vigilant even if it says gluten free (and especially if it says 'naturally gluten free'). Technically "Gluten Free" should mean under 20 PPM, and if it is genuinely under 20 parts per million, you'll be fine. But not every company tests for that. They are under no obligation to test and the government doesn't do anything anyways. These are almost completely voluntary labeling laws. 

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1 minute ago, AristotlesCat said:

Shared facilities may be fine or it may not. The real question is whether the place takes precautions to prevent cross contamination. This is something you can often determine with a simple phone call to the manufacturer. The issue the labeling laws in the US have zero teeth so celiacs do probably need to stay a bit vigilant even if it says gluten free (and especially if it says 'naturally gluten free'). Technically "Gluten Free" should mean under 20 PPM, and if it is genuinely under 20 parts per million, you'll be fine. But not every company tests for that. They are under no obligation to test and the government doesn't do anything anyways. These are almost completely voluntary labeling laws. 

Lots of companies make "naturally gluten free" foods and nothing that isn't.  An apple sauce factory isn't going to make bread.....  You can always all to see what they are talking about in regard to shred facility.  You might find it isn't what you think. 

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Just now, kareng said:

Lots of companies make "naturally gluten free" foods and nothing that isn't.  An apple sauce factory isn't going to make bread.....  You can always all to see what they are talking about in regard to shred facility.  You might find it isn't what you think. 

Sure, but it is also a known weasel word companies used to use before the labeling laws. My point is, it should either be gluten free or not gluten free. When they say it is naturally gluten free, that implies that are not doing anything to make sure it stays that way. At the very least, it is a red flag. Why wouldn't they just label it gluten free? 

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2 minutes ago, AristotlesCat said:

Sure, but it is also a known weasel word companies used to use before the labeling laws. My point is, it should either be gluten free or not gluten free. When they say it is naturally gluten free, that implies that are not doing anything to make sure it stays that way. At the very least, it is a red flag. Why wouldn't they just label it gluten free? 

I think you should ask the companies.  I am guessing it is because they are not testing the applesauce, for instance.  It would add to the cost for everyone, even the people who don't care about the gluten-free label. And may be a "legal" cinsideration

 

 

Also, the shared facility is a voluntary statement.

Edited by kareng

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1 minute ago, kareng said:

I think you should ask the companies.  I am guessing it is because they are not testing the applesauce, for instance.  It would add to the cost for everyone, even the people who don't care about the gluten-free label. And may be a "legal" cinsideration

 

 

Also, the shared facility is a voluntary statement

Okay but if they are not testing it or they don't think it is under 20 parts per million, then that isn't gluten free (or at least too high risk IMO). I am at the point these days where if I see naturally gluten free on the label, I just don't buy that brand. 

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Just now, AristotlesCat said:

Okay but if they are not testing it or they don't think it is under 20 parts per million, then that isn't gluten free (or at least too high risk IMO). I am at the point these days where if I see naturally gluten free on the label, I just don't buy that brand. 

Just because they don't spend the extra money to test a naturally gluten-free food - like applesauce, doesn't mean they believe it contains more than 20 ppm. 

If something is "certified" gluten-free, it does not mean that some certifying group does inspections or testing of the foods.  Its more of an agreement a company makes with a certifying organization.

I am not making all these posts to change your mind, I can see you have made up your mind.  I just want to give other people a chance to understand.

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2 minutes ago, kareng said:

Just because they don't spend the extra money to test a naturally gluten-free food - like applesauce, doesn't mean they believe it contains more than 20 ppm. 

If something is "certified" gluten-free, it does not mean that some certifying group does inspections or testing of the foods.  Its more of an agreement a company makes with a certifying organization.

I am not making all these posts to change your mind, I can see you have made up your mind.  I just want to give other people a chance to understand.

All I am saying is be on your toes if it says naturally gluten free. It may be a weasel word and they may not take sufficient measures to prevent cross contamination. And if the company knows very little about celiac disease they may not understand what sorts of things can cause cross contamination even if they are not processing foods with flour in them. 

Every certification is different but most do have testing requirements. Doesn't mean the certifying company comes in necessarily but it usually indicates testing is being done. 

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40 minutes ago, AristotlesCat said:

Sure, but it is also a known weasel word companies used to use before the labeling laws. My point is, it should either be gluten free or not gluten free. When they say it is naturally gluten free, that implies that are not doing anything to make sure it stays that way. At the very least, it is a red flag. Why wouldn't they just label it gluten free? 

Known to whom? This is not something "known" to me, and I have been on the diet almost 17 years.

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7 minutes ago, psawyer said:

Known to whom? This is not something "known" to me, and I have been on the diet almost 17 years.

It was one of the points made a great deal in the press when they are were changing the gluten free labeling laws. But it is something you see all the time. 

This is why when the FDA changed the rules, they said even something labeled Naturally Gluten Free must still conform to the the gluten free labeling guidelines. The label raises a red flag because it it conforms to those guidelines, they should be able to just label it gluten free. And if they are using the Naturally Gluten Free label, that isn't an excuse for not conforming. So the question is why are they labeling it naturally gluten free rather than just gluten free. 

And I am not talking about eggs and the like. I am talking about packaged or processed foods like canned vegetables or applesauce. 

Seriously I think we are our own worst enemies sometimes. 

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i think they just like chucking the word 'natural' in there, so it sounds healthier.  and gluten free or not, i'm not eating that weasel..... eewww....

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4 hours ago, notme! said:

i think they just like chucking the word 'natural' in there, so it sounds healthier.  and gluten free or not, i'm not eating that weasel..... eewww....

I am sure the reason varies from company to company. But I have contacted many the use the label and have frequently encountered the mindset among several that they don't have to take any special precautions because the food in its raw state is naturally gluten free. That is a very dangerous mentality if you are putting any kind of gluten free labeling on the item. 

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12 hours ago, AristotlesCat said:

And I am not talking about eggs and the like. I am talking about packaged or processed foods like canned vegetables or applesauce. 

 

There is a company in my city that only produces canned veggies and fruit, including apple chips and applesauce. Why should they have to go through the expense of having the items 'certified' gluten free when that is all they produce?  Naturally gluten free should be good enough. You may want to go with all unprocessed items for a while and then add items that are processed one at a time. That way you can identify what is bothering you perhaps more easily. I do hope you can figure out what is going on soon. Once we are diagnosed celiac sometimes doctors attribute everything to that when we may have another issue that is actually causing symptoms.  

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2 hours ago, ravenwoodglass said:

There is a company in my city that only produces canned veggies and fruit, including apple chips and applesauce. Why should they have to go through the expense of having the items 'certified' gluten free when that is all they produce?  Naturally gluten free should be good enough. You may want to go with all unprocessed items for a while and then add items that are processed one at a time. That way you can identify what is bothering you perhaps more easily. I do hope you can figure out what is going on soon. Once we are diagnosed celiac sometimes doctors attribute everything to that when we may have another issue that is actually causing symptoms.  

They don't have to certify. But the gluten free labeling rules say if it says gluten free on the label it is supposed to be under 20 parts per million. There are good reasons for this. It just takes a small amount of gluten to trigger a reaction in the body for weeks. If they can't take steps to occasionally check, to verify that their source isn't introducing gluten, and to make sure they are not accidentally introducing it through something like a cleaning agents or one of their workers eating a powdered donut, then they shouldn't be putting gluten free on the label. Yes if you want to call it gluten free you should take the time to make sure you are actually providing people with gluten free food. They shouldn't just slap 'gluten free' or 'naturally gluten free' on the label because they think it is all good. And the FDA guidelines were clear on this point: naturally gluten free still is the same as labeling it gluten free----it does not absolve them of any responsibility to ensure they are not introducing gluten. 

And if you think this isn't a problem, keep in mind that before the labeling rules were introduced, something like 5-10% of gluten free labeled foods tested positive for gluten. 

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