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Certified gluten free, but made on shared equipment?

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How can something be certified gluten free, labeled as such, and then say that it is processed on equipment that “sometimes processed wheat”? I get if it’s not certified, but this product I have is. I’m so irritated. Is this something I need to stay away from? Aren’t there stricter testing requirements to be certified gluten-free? How annoying. I hope it hasn’t been making me sick.

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3 minutes ago, Fbmb said:

How can something be certified gluten free, labeled as such, and then say that it is processed on equipment that “sometimes processed wheat”? I get if it’s not certified, but this product I have is. I’m so irritated. Is this something I need to stay away from? Aren’t there stricter testing requirements to be certified gluten-free? How annoying. I hope it hasn’t been making me sick.

Usually, if you ask them, they clean extremely well .  Often test the machines before running the gluten-free product.  Then test the product at the end.  All that “certified “  means is they agree to the certifying entity’s procedures.  That usually means the finished product must be tested for gluten and test to below 20 or 10 ppm - depending on the requirement.

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Just now, kareng said:

Usually, if you ask them, they clean extremely well .  Often test the machines before running the gluten-free product.  Then test the product at the end.  All that “certified “  means is they agree to the certifying entity’s procedures.  That usually means the finished product must be tested for gluten and test to below 20 or 10 ppm - depending on the requirement.

This product is some dairy free Halo Top ice cream. Would you still eat it? I will ask them about their practices.

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5 minutes ago, Fbmb said:

This product is some dairy free Halo Top ice cream. Would you still eat it? I will ask them about their practices.

I wouldn’t because it has soooo much erythriol ( spell?) .  Those bother me.  I would probably check the website and ask about procedures if I wanted to eat it. 

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I posted about this exact topic a few weeks ago!! I don’t think I post in the right subtopic because I rarely get answers. So I’m so happy you asked about this!! I too question things made in a facility that processes wheat/gluten. I’ve contacted a few companies about specific products, but I’d be interested in hearing from experienced celiacs about what their personal philosophy on this is. Do you eat the things certified gluten free but made in a shared facility? Do you call about every item separately? Or do you just avoid anything in that situation?Anyone out there like to share? 

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6 minutes ago, pschwab said:

I posted about this exact topic a few weeks ago!! I don’t think I post in the right subtopic because I rarely get answers. So I’m so happy you asked about this!! I too question things made in a facility that processes wheat/gluten. I’ve contacted a few companies about specific products, but I’d be interested in hearing from experienced celiacs about what their personal philosophy on this is. Do you eat the things certified gluten free but made in a shared facility? Do you call about every item separately? Or do you just avoid anything in that situation?Anyone out there like to share? 

So, I have been gluten free for a little over a year and a half. Typically i stay away from anything processed on shared lines. That said though, companies aren’t required to tell you that. They do have to tell you if the products contains wheat, but they don’t have to tell you if it’s made in a shared facility or on shared lines. I almost think companies who take that extra step are more reputable. Because just because something says it’s gluten free doesn’t mean it isn’t made on shared lines or in a shared facility. 

I am just confused about the certification when the product is made on shared lines. My aunt (also has celiac disease) says it’s a CYA statement and that if they’re testing the products then she would eat them. I know that I probably won’t eat this product ever again, because I’m so traumatized by gluten that I can’t handle the anxiety over it. I’ve been extra tired these last few days and all I can think about now is how I have been killing myself with halo top ice cream. 

But.....I tend to be pretty anxious about it and ultra careful, to the point of being obnoxious. Rationally, I think it’s fine and I think I’m tired because both of my kids were rocking 103 fevers a week ago, and I’m recovering from 5 days of almost no sleep.

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41 minutes ago, Fbmb said:

This product is some dairy free Halo Top ice cream. Would you still eat it? I will ask them about their practices.

I wouldn’t because it has soooo much erythriol ( spell?) .  Those bother me.  I would probably check the website and ask about procedures if I wanted to eat it. 

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There is a difference between “shared machinery” and “ shared facility”.  The grocery is a shared facility.  The park bench is a shared facility.  Shared facility doesn’t mean much in regards to gluten. It might be important to a person with a peanut allergy. Some of these warnings are more for a severe allergy.  

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1 minute ago, kareng said:

There is a difference between “shared machinery” and “ shared facility”.  The grocery is a shared facility.  The park bench is a shared facility.  Shared facility doesn’t mean much in regards to gluten. It might be important to a person with a peanut allergy. Some of these warnings are more for a severe allergy.  

This packaging says shared equipment, but I emailed them and I’ll see what they have to say. They have one dairy free flavor that contains wheat. The rest are gluten free. I’m guessing that it’s just to cover their butts.

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I had this same issue with a container of Do Delicious no sugar added icecream. I just gave it away, not worth the risk. If I had gotten a batch of them I would have tested one with a Nima Sensor and gotten a bunch from the same lot # but did not think it was worth it with just the one container I got on a whim.

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3 hours ago, Ennis_TX said:

I had this same issue with a container of Do Delicious no sugar added icecream. I just gave it away, not worth the risk. If I had gotten a batch of them I would have tested one with a Nima Sensor and gotten a bunch from the same lot # but did not think it was worth it with just the one container I got on a whim.

I agree, not worth it. I’ve been buying this brand for about a year and it must be just recently that they have added wheat to their statement. I pulled a few pints out of my freeze and looked at the statements and they do all say that it’s processed on the same equipment that sometimes processes wheat. Mostly I’m emailing them so that I can gauge whether or not I have been contaminated from eating it. I sure hope not. :(  The ingredients clearly indicate that the product is gluten free though. And like I said before, the fact that they tell you about the shared lines just makes them transparent. I’m sure I eat a lot of gluten free products that are made on shared lines, but the companies just don’t disclose it. 

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"Made on shared equipment" is a voluntary statement, meaning that lots of companies do this but don't disclose it. Assuming you mean GFCO certified (there are several organizations that provide 3rd party certification), then yes, they allow this practice.

I once contacted a company about a problem with a GFCO certified product - I found a "corn chip" in my bag that was definitely not made from corn (by taste and appearance). They disclosed that although they had an allergen-free line, some of their gluten-free stuff was made on shared equipment that they cleaned "very carefully" between runs. Needless to say, I stopped buying stuff from this company.

Does this mean the thing you have is unsafe? Hard to say. There is likely a lot of variability in company policy, actual implementation of that policy (minimum wage temp workers don't care much), and whether or not cleaning is realistic for a particular factory set-up. For example, in one of my undergrad engineering courses, we got pitched a project from the nearby Doritos (Frito-Lay) factory - they wanted to improve their cleaning protocols as they had to shut down for ~1 week to clean all the cheese/flavour gunk between runs using manual labour. Cleaning industrial equipment is hard, especially with many moving parts. I have my doubts when companies say they "clean carefully."

Does that mean your product is safe? I have no idea. YMMV. I've found that shared equipment food items tend to go badly for me. Since the label is voluntary, I research companies or contact them before I buy now, and avoid them if they do shared equipment.

 

 

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11 hours ago, apprehensiveengineer said:

"Made on shared equipment" is a voluntary statement, meaning that lots of companies do this but don't disclose it. Assuming you mean GFCO certified (there are several organizations that provide 3rd party certification), then yes, they allow this practice.

I once contacted a company about a problem with a GFCO certified product - I found a "corn chip" in my bag that was definitely not made from corn (by taste and appearance). They disclosed that although they had an allergen-free line, some of their gluten-free stuff was made on shared equipment that they cleaned "very carefully" between runs. Needless to say, I stopped buying stuff from this company.

Does this mean the thing you have is unsafe? Hard to say. There is likely a lot of variability in company policy, actual implementation of that policy (minimum wage temp workers don't care much), and whether or not cleaning is realistic for a particular factory set-up. For example, in one of my undergrad engineering courses, we got pitched a project from the nearby Doritos (Frito-Lay) factory - they wanted to improve their cleaning protocols as they had to shut down for ~1 week to clean all the cheese/flavour gunk between runs using manual labour. Cleaning industrial equipment is hard, especially with many moving parts. I have my doubts when companies say they "clean carefully."

Does that mean your product is safe? I have no idea. YMMV. I've found that shared equipment food items tend to go badly for me. Since the label is voluntary, I research companies or contact them before I buy now, and avoid them if they do shared equipment.

 

 

They emailed me, explaining that they take extra precautions to make sure their products are tested and are safe. But, my concern is, this company doesn't have their own plants. They contract out to third party manufacturers to process and distribute their products. All of Halo Top's staff work remotely, and I believe there are fewer than 30 of them. 

I just don't trust any company that contracts out to third parties to manufacture their food products. They aren't there each day, inspecting the processes, making sure that things are being cleaned. I told them that until they have dedicated lines I won't buy from them again. I think it's too risky - and there are other ice cream companies who actually do take good care to make sure that their products are safe. It seems to me that Halo Top caters to fad dieters who want to say that they're gluten free, and not those who actually have to be.

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@Fbmb

I think I would agree with your take. I think a lot of companies want to profit from being able to slap on health halo terms (such as gluten-free, vegan, low ___, non-___) without actually doing the work required to ensure that these statements are entirely factual.

Many (most) companies outsource manufacturing to the lowest bidder. Based on my experience with products that I know are made on shared equipment (from manufacturer's statements), I don't have a huge amount of trust for this situation.

If you're looking for ice cream/ice cream-like products, Chapman's has a lot of gluten-free flavours of ice cream and sorbet (dairy free). Based on their website statement about gluten-free, it seems that they have dedicated lines. I am not sure if their stuff is available outside of Canada, but I'd go with that.

https://www.chapmans.ca/HealthAndAllergies/GlutenFree

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On 7/14/2018 at 12:18 AM, apprehensiveengineer said:

@Fbmb

I think I would agree with your take. I think a lot of companies want to profit from being able to slap on health halo terms (such as gluten-free, vegan, low ___, non-___) without actually doing the work required to ensure that these statements are entirely factual.

Many (most) companies outsource manufacturing to the lowest bidder. Based on my experience with products that I know are made on shared equipment (from manufacturer's statements), I don't have a huge amount of trust for this situation.

If you're looking for ice cream/ice cream-like products, Chapman's has a lot of gluten-free flavours of ice cream and sorbet (dairy free). Based on their website statement about gluten-free, it seems that they have dedicated lines. I am not sure if their stuff is available outside of Canada, but I'd go with that.

https://www.chapmans.ca/HealthAndAllergies/GlutenFree

I’ll check out the health food store today to see if they carry this brand. Thanks for the tip!

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5 hours ago, Fbmb said:

I’ll check out the health food store today to see if they carry this brand. Thanks for the tip!

 

I just checked and it seems that they don't distribute in the US, which is unfortunate (though predictable given the political/economic context of dairy). If you ever come to Canada, you'll have good luck in almost any big box grocery store or convenience store - it's a pretty basic/cheap brand of ice cream.

Breyer's has a lot of gluten-free products (in Canada at least). You might try those? I'd be more inclined to trust a larger company with stuff like this - they have the volume to run dedicated gluten-free ice cream/dessert products.

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On 7/11/2018 at 8:18 PM, pschwab said:

I posted about this exact topic a few weeks ago!! I don’t think I post in the right subtopic because I rarely get answers. So I’m so happy you asked about this!! I too question things made in a facility that processes wheat/gluten. I’ve contacted a few companies about specific products, but I’d be interested in hearing from experienced celiacs about what their personal philosophy on this is. Do you eat the things certified gluten free but made in a shared facility? Do you call about every item separately? Or do you just avoid anything in that situation?Anyone out there like to share? 

If the product is certified, then the FDA has approved it, which means it can ONLY have 20 ppm of gluten or less. I've been gluten free for 8 years, I have super severe reactions to gluten, and I've never been sick from anything that's certified. So yeah, if something is certified gluten free it's completely safe to eat.

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39 minutes ago, Harpsichord said:

If the product is certified, then the FDA has approved it, which means it can ONLY have 20 ppm of gluten or less. I've been gluten free for 8 years, I have super severe reactions to gluten, and I've never been sick from anything that's certified. So yeah, if something is certified gluten free it's completely safe to eat.

That's not how that works.  "certified" means the company has bought a right to use a seal from a certifying company.  The manufacturer agrees to a certain standard that the certifying company has set.  Some are less than 10 ppm. The company tests per the schedule of the certifying organization.  The FDA doesn't approve any gluten-free foods or even test them.  

 

Some companies don't spend the money to get a "certification" and actually have stricter standards than those certifying organizations require.  

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1 hour ago, Harpsichord said:

If the product is certified, then the FDA has approved it, which means it can ONLY have 20 ppm of gluten or less. I've been gluten free for 8 years, I have super severe reactions to gluten, and I've never been sick from anything that's certified. So yeah, if something is certified gluten free it's completely safe to eat.

Umm I have gotten glutened off of gluten-free certified foods, Nima tested positive after. If you keep a eye on GlutenFreeWatchDog there are many cases of a company with the certifications changing ingredients and putting barley malt, or other gluten ingredients in the products and getting GFWD to call out on them...the FDA will very rarely get involved, infact there is a huge petition to get the FDA to actually start enforcing the rules more.

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4 hours ago, kareng said:

That's not how that works.  "certified" means the company has bought a right to use a seal from a certifying company.  The manufacturer agrees to a certain standard that the certifying company has set.  Some are less than 10 ppm. The company tests per the schedule of the certifying organization.  The FDA doesn't approve any gluten-free foods or even test them.  

 

Some companies don't spend the money to get a "certification" and actually have stricter standards than those certifying organizations require.  

Oof sorry I got confused. But if it has this label download.png.731715c26063ee3273198e53330884b3.png it's safe. I don't know about other certifications.

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4 hours ago, Ennis_TX said:

Umm I have gotten glutened off of gluten-free certified foods, Nima tested positive after. If you keep a eye on GlutenFreeWatchDog there are many cases of a company with the certifications changing ingredients and putting barley malt, or other gluten ingredients in the products and getting GFWD to call out on them...the FDA will very rarely get involved, infact there is a huge petition to get the FDA to actually start enforcing the rules more.

I think it depends on the certification. I was wrong before (sorry!)

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It comes down to "trust" and when you are dealing with processed [manufactured] food products, bear in mind that even major and long-loved companies have had issues. With gluten, with salmonella, with all sorts of contaminants and food safety issues. The butcher shop in my local Costco literally cleans down at the end of each day with live steam. Live steam on stainless steel cures a wealth of problems! But apparently a lot of food companies don't go to that effort. Rather than question how trustworthy some company and their "shared" resources might be, I'd get a gluten test gadget, pay the $5 per test it takes, and find out for real just how reliable that "gluten free" label might be.

Or, you stick to a "Ted Nugent" diet: If you didn't kill it, if it doesn't have a face, if you didn't dig it out of the ground, you don't eat it. (With apologies to TN and all the animal rights folks both.)

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Just to state on both sides of this again.
 

16 minutes ago, lyfan said:

I'd get a gluten test gadget, pay the $5 per test it takes, and find out for real just how reliable that "gluten free" label might be.

I have bought Just Hemp Foods Hemp Protein with a gluten-free certified seal and gotten sick...and tested positive on a Nima.

I have bought royal Hawaiian macadamia nuts.....processed on equipment that handles wheat....tested safe on a nima and did not make me sick.

I got glutened by steam fresh broccoli from birds eye few years ago after they started doing gluten sauced lines and they used the same packaging equipment.

It varies from company to company and how the product was harvested, transported, treated, processed, and packaged. At any one of these stages there could be a CC issues. Maybe the farmer grew wheat the previous cycle and some came back, Maybe that 18wheeler trailer had a load of what previously, maybe that grinding mill had a few grains of wheat from a CCed batch go through it, maybe the guy in the factory sourced the wrong version of a ingredient for what ever reason (few years ago had a recall after a guy ordered brewers yeast instead of nutritional yeast for a company, another time a probiotic company ordered a bacteria strain grown on a wheat substrate by mistake leading to a recall) , maybe that packaging machine ran a batch of something with wheat in it prior and some hung in the shoots.........the less processed it is, what it is, and what the company handles should all be taken into consideration along with the companies reliability, responsibility, knowledge, and testing procedures.

PS the whole foods fresh produce method is always the safest route.....unless of course your the HEB in Waxahachie with the open air bakery, and flour dusted dough prep table for "show" less then 10 feet from the open shelf of fresh produce.....dear god is nothing sacred.

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