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Ivy

Whole Foods Cya?

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It had been a couple of years since I went to the Whole Foods site and read their gluten free information. Recently I purchased some of their 365 brand, packaged - as they do not recommend we (celiacs) use the "bin food". The labeling was lacking a bit, it had declared allergen info, but nothing on gluten really, so I went to their site. Sifting through the double-speak of fine print they state "Whole Foods Market Private Label does not gather shared equipment information, because it is the manufacturer's legal right to change equipment used for production (as long as GMPs are used). We do gather shared allergens in a manufacturing facility, and this information is reflected on the label." What exactly does this mean? Isn't that pretty well a blanket CYA for us on food not labeled gluten-free? In another section, they have a cross contamination disclaimer, very CYA.

I should add that I have a problem with trace amount accumulation, meaning it may not hit me the first day or the second, but after a week...it's like a slow slide back to being glutened instead of an immediate reaction. Does anyone else have this happen?

Anyway, we aren't entirely covered by allergen labeling are we? I mean just because there's no wheat doesn't mean there isn't gluten does it? Being sensitive, have I hit that point where unless it is labeled gluten-free AND "Processed in a dedicated facility" I have to worry about if it's safe? GMP just means maybe ok, and if they don't have to list other sources of gluten because they're not on the allergen list, where are we?

Thanks to anyone who can input on this.

Ivy

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Wow, that is disturbing. I wish I had an answer for you more than my two cents: Send an email saying how lousy that is and cast your vote for a different company that does provide that info by voting with your money and buying their product. Send the good companies emails saying how much you appreciate their efforts to help with the growing population of gluten sensitive people's food choices. Sometimes you get coupons for free products :D Amy's is a great company for sending fabulous coupons for their products.

Sorry that wasn't the best answer, I'm with you on the being disgruntled about companies lawyering-up to protect their butts at the cost of our health. The way you can ever truly know for sure is to make your own foods, which isn't always an option. Even when something is labeled properly, their is always the off chance that something went wrong and the product gets recalled by the FDA and most of the time it's too late then because you already ate it. Our food industry needs a complete and total overhaul and it is going to takes years to happen, but if we all start voting with our dollars, voicing our disappointments and praising those who do well, we are at least contributing to making it better...

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Anyway, we aren't entirely covered by allergen labeling are we? I mean just because there's no wheat doesn't mean there isn't gluten does it? Being sensitive, have I hit that point where unless it is labeled gluten-free AND "Processed in a dedicated facility" I have to worry about if it's safe? GMP just means maybe ok, and if they don't have to list other sources of gluten because they're not on the allergen list, where are we?

Thanks to anyone who can input on this.

Ivy

Basically, what this statement is to me is definitely CYA. BUT, it also helps me make an informed decision. So, while I may not like it, at least it's there. You can call some of the companies and ask what processes are in place, the time difference between when the allergen in question and the 'safe' food is processed... because this statement can also apply if you have other food problems. I see this warning often concerning peanuts/tree nuts with no mention of wheat.

So, to answer your question... yes, just because it's wheat free doesn't mean it's gluten free. For a couple of reasons: something can be wheat free but contain barley or rye, it could be gluten-free, but be contaminated during processing. Everyone has a sensitivity level, however, so what you may or not be able to tolerate could be completely different from the level that I can tolerate. Generally speaking, I have a very high sensitivity to gluten and soy. Some things I do fine with from a shared facility, others make me sick. Cereals, breads, etc. from a shared facility don't work for me. But, I've had hummus made in a shared facility and it didn't bother me at all. It's all trial and error, unfortunately.

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