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jasonD2

Is gluten-free Rice Chex Actually gluten-free?

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I haven't had any reaction to any of the newly gluten-free Chex cereals, per se. I DID have a box of the Honey Nut variety that had 2 smaller, darker Chex in it. I hemmed and hawed around about eating them and/or the remainder of the bowl but eventually decided they were just a bit over-browned, over-cooked and ate them anyway.

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!

I reacted badly to that bowl and felt absolutely MISERABLE for 4 or 5 days. I made a point of looking at the Wheat Chex box the next time I made a trip to the grocery and the photo of them matched, perfectly, to what I saw in my bowl that morning. How 2 Wheat Chex made it into my box of Honey Nut Chex is anybody's guess but I'll tell you that I check out EVERY spoonful before it goes in my mouth now!

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This is a small community. A suggestion can quickly turn into, "Oh, I don't eat those because they have an issue with cross-contamination." It happens. I've been at this for less than five years and I've seen it over and over. Even Kinnikinnick has been accused of it! Now, General Mills can take that hit. If gluten-free cereals don't pay off for them, they'll drop them and continue on. I don't think these smaller companies can do that. People stand to lose everything over mere suggestions.

Like I said, I'm not picking at you. I pretty much jump in to each post like this to say this same stuff. I absolutely believe you had trouble with them and may not be able to enjoy them. And that stinks. It's tough because they don't cost and arm and leg and they're easy to find. But our digestive systems are just different, I suppose. <_<

"People stand to lose everythig over mere suggestions" What are you talking about? Do you think they will punish people for suggesting that there's a possiblity of cross contamination? I mean, Do you think they will say "Well man, we were trying to help but you spoiled everything with your complaints"? Come on, they are a company who will try to SATISFY their customers' concerns. I think it'd be pretty inmature if they dealt with a complaint in that way, well I guess if I had a company I wouldn't act like that. Besides, not suggesting that something MIGHT be wrong is like being part of the problem and not part of the solution.

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This absolutely boils down to personal risk tolerance. After getting a massive glutening first time I ate the new Rice Chex, I wrote General Mills and inquired about their use of shared facility and equipment use. Sure enough, all Chex are made on the same equipment and "cleaning procedures" are applied to protect against cross contamination. Interestingly, their new Betty Crocker stuff is made on dedicated equipment and I have no issues with that.

I am one of those who reacts to trace amounts of Gluten so I personally find it much easier to just avoid foods that are made in shared facilities and on shared equipment. No "procedure" in the world will guarantee absolute perfection - every single cleaning - and therefore give you absolute protection against cross contamination.

After having owned my own restaurant for years, I take a tougher view on food companies when they make claims. If you are going to try to make money on your "Gluten Free" claims, you better be prepared to back that up. Or don't make the claim. No one is forcing them to try and make a few extra bucks off the Celiac community.

For example, in the case of Chex, General Mills is more than happy to make big marketing claims about new Gluten Free cereals. However, upon writing their customer service team for more details on possible cross contamination, I got the following response:

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I was ecstatic to see the Gluten-Free claim all over Rice Chex and Corn Chex in the cereal aisle three weeks ago. I immediately bought a box of each, and have been eating a bowl of either one each a.m. (usually Rice Chex) with Lactaid (I always use Lactaid with any cereal I eat). I immediately began having G.I. Symptoms (bloating, gas, diarrhea), but it was intermittent and there was NOTHING in my diet that had been changed. And, I was assured by the Gluten-Free claim on the boxes of Chex. So, I thought maybe I was getting sick or something.

Over the past three weeks, I have steadily gone way downhill. I am now in full-blown Celiac symptom mode with bloating, constant terrible diarrhea, gas, and extreme fatigue. I have re-contacted all pharmaceutical mfrs for any changes in fillers, and have come up empty. The only change to my diet over the past 3 weeks has been the Chex. I'm disappointed, but I can't see any other source as the cause!

I feel badly, because I really appreciate that General Mills is trying to accommodate Celiacs. But, I feel like they need to do something to double-check contamination issues or gluten-levels in whatever they are using in these cereals (both Corn Chex & Rice Chex are the ones I have been eating). I have noted other strings on Celiac.com where others are experiencing problems as well.

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That's very unfortunate. I'd definately stop eating Chex if I was you.

I've been eating Rice Chex for a long time now, long before they were labeled gluten-free (they didn't have to change any ingredients for that one). And the Corn Chex since they went gluten-free. Never had a big problem with any of the gluten-free varieties. All they had to do is replace the malt syrup with brown sugar. Malt syrup was a fairly minor ingredient anyway, sugar being the main contributor, so it really wasn't that big a deal for them.

The four Betty Crocker gluten-free products are made in Canada, I'll bet by a contracted company (probably a health food company). It wouldn't have to be too big of a facility compared to the chex manufacturing ones. Gluten-free cake and cookie mixes are nowhere near as difficult to formulate as cereal. All they do is mix some ingredients and put them into a box. Cereals are manufactured using a difficult process utilizing high pressure, high temperature extrusion. I once worked at Frito Lay as an extruder operator (among other things such as research lab tech). Cereals and many chips are made basically the same way.

If you've ever tasted the health food store gluten-free cereals you know what I mean. They are absolutely terrible compared to mainstream products such as Chex. It takes millions of $'s and years of research and development to perfect these processes. Only the big boys can afford that kind of commitment.

Of course there are always going to be a tiny percentage of people with extreme intolerances who can't abide highly processed food products or those with more than 2 or 3 ingredients. The belief that any product not made in a completely gluten-free facility is automatically cross contaminated is a misplaced one IMO. Not that there couldn't be CC, of course there could. But it's simply not logical to think every box is. CC, if there is any, is a variable, not a constant.

best regards, lm

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I was ecstatic to see the Gluten-Free claim on Rice Chex and Corn Chex in the cereal aisle three weeks ago. I immediately bought a box of each, and have been eating a bowl of either one each a.m. (usually Rice Chex) with Lactaid (I always use Lactaid with any cereal I eat). I immediately began having G.I. Symptoms (bloating, gas, diarrhea), but it was intermittent and there was NOTHING in my diet that had been changed. And, I was assured by the Gluten-Free claim on the boxes of Chex. So, I thought maybe I was getting sick or something.

Over the past three weeks, I have steadily gone way downhill. I am now in full-blown Celiac symptom mode with bloating, frequent and urgent terrible diarrhea, gas, and extreme fatigue. I haven't had a normal bowel movement in over a week. I have re-contacted all pharmaceutical mfrs for any changes in fillers, and have come up empty. The only change to my diet over the past 3 weeks has been the Chex. I'm disappointed, but I can't see any other source as the cause!

I feel badly, because I really appreciate that General Mills is trying to accommodate Celiacs. This was such an appreciated and welcome development, that I hate to complain, but I am at a loss for any other explanation.

I called General Mills and they were very sympathetic but very emphatic that the Chex cereals that I have eaten (Rice Chex and Corn Chex) are indeed gluten free and are produced ENTIRELY on dedicated lines with dedicated equipment. I expected GM to perhaps be a little evasive, but the customer rep was very very willing to state that indeed, the cereal is truly truly Gluten Free. With that being said, I have now eliminated the Chex from my diet again, ... it's been 4 days, and I am finally feeling better. I really am perplexed. I absolutely WANT to be able to eat a regularly-priced, good tasting, mainstream cereal. They HAVE my business 100%, but I guess I can't go there right now, because it really seems like they made me sick. I want this product to be a success, but I can't help wanting to take that cereal to a lab and get it tested for gluten levels. Not to say "GOTCHA", but rather, to try to figure out whether there really is a problem, if I'm crazy, or if there is some ingredient or equipment problem that could be to blame in the boxes that I have purchased.

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I wonder if other grains in the US besides oats have the same cross contamination issues that exist with oats. Oats are not safe because they are stored in the same silos and are grown in rotation with wheat. I've pretty much taken it for granted that oats are the only gluten free grain that has this problem. But perhaps it is more widespread than I know.

Are main stream corn and rice stored in the same silos as wheat? Anybody from Farm Country who could speak to general mainstream farming practices for corn and rice in the US?

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We've just tried the new chocolate flavored Rice Chex. These are great.

My DD16 was complaining that I always give her some time of chip in her lunch and her friend started eating the bag of choc chex that I had packed and told her to shut up because they were sooo good. :D

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I just wanted to add my two cents to this discussion. I frequently eat Rice Chex and sometimes don't feel all that well afterwards. My theory is that I'm actually reacting to the preservative BHT. I'm definitely sensitive to other preservitives (such as sulfies) and the concentration of BHT is very variable as it's added to the packaging, so it probably wouldn't be a consistent issue.

Another interesting thing to note is that I tried the individual serving size cups a few times and had a much more severe reaction each time. It's very possible that there's a much higher concentration of BHT in the single size cups due to the packaging differences. Of course it's also possible that there's some cross contamination issue with the machinery that packages the cups, but I get the impression that General Mills takes the gluten free thing pretty seriously.

Just as a general comment, I find the expansion of gluten free products from the big food companies to be a bit of a mixed blessing. Some items are great, but more and more gluten free products contain the same crap as "regular" food such as MSG, colors, preservatives, massive amounts of sugar, etc.

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.......Just as a general comment, I find the expansion of gluten free products from the big food companies to be a bit of a mixed blessing. Some items are great, but more and more gluten free products contain the same crap as "regular" food such as MSG, colors, preservatives, massive amounts of sugar, etc.

With all due respect TL, I'm not on this diet to get healthy, as a normal person would by eating "health food". I just can't have gluten. I'm more than happy to get some "regular" food, sans gluten. I'll gladly take all the MSG, colors, preservatives, and sugar, etc. I can get, just to be able to eat a good tasting product once in a while.

BTW, all that stuff is in there for a reason. Makes it taste better, look better, have better properties, and last longer. :D

best regards, lm

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The odd thing is I ate some for the first time yesterday and didn't have a reaction. Then I  had some again today and within a few hours a headache started, that eventually turned into a migraine where I later puked, sweated, chilled & felt the room spin. Which is how I react to gluten. This is the only new thing in my diet so I have to Assume that's what it is, but I'm confused as to how I didn't have a reaction the day before ? 

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