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So Confused...got 2 Different Responses From Truumoo Company

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First I emailed them last week asking about their TruuMoo whole chocolate milk. Today I got this response:

Although we do not have any gluten containing ingredients, we source some of our ingredients from Third Party Suppliers and they do notify us that their ingredients are Gluten-Free; however, this is based on information from our ingredient suppliers. We do not test for gluten and cannot guarantee it's absence. Persons who are allergic to gluten should consult with their physician before consuming any new food item. We hope this information is helpful.

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Yesterday morning I decided to call the company and was told that the TruuMoo milk we have is indeed gluten free. I guess they have different plants around the country...and each plant might have different ingredients. When I called they took the UPC code off the container and told me yes...it was gluten free.

I am really confused though by the email...and not sure which to believe. Do I call back Dean's foods? Ask why I was told two different things?

CC

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They believe it to be gluten-free, but because they don't test they can't guarantee that contamination has not taken place. Standard legal CYA statement.

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Yep, you are correct. I received a call from them today. They told me that because they don't test for gluten they can't say "gluten free" on the label but I was told they don't have any ingredients for which contain gluten so it would be gluten free...unless of course there was some cross contamination issues. He told me though that they take great care to not have that issue. I was pretty satisfied with the conversation. :)

They believe it to be gluten-free, but because they don't test they can't guarantee that contamination has not taken place. Standard legal CYA statement.

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Welcome to the wide world of company calling. :P

Sadly, it's not a different plant, I would bet money on it. This is just how it typically goes when you call up companies, pretty standard. The 'it's gluten free' response is the 'I'm just reading what they tell me to' response. It's usually from someone who is not as knowledgeable about the company's policies and all the details and is just reading off a list.

The detailed responses tend to come when you talk to someone higher up, or you get an email that came from a more knowledgeable member of the company.

In the end, it boils down to this: the company does not test their products for gluten, so that means that they do not know if it's really gluten free or not. Period, end of story. If they weren't in the USA, it would be illegal for them to make the gluten free claim without proof to back it up. But since they're here, they can make a 'good faith' effort to be careful about their sourcing, and their ingredients, and that's good enough. Or at least, it's good enough that they can tell you 'it's gluten free' without any legal problems from it.

Some celiacs are comfortable with this, some aren't. It often depends on the product, the company, the ingredients involved, the likelihood of cc based on other foods processed in the factory, and so on.

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Yeah. Trader Joes carries gluten-free stuff. I noticed this week, suddenly labeling changed to "no gluten ingredients", which is more accurate because 90% of what I pick up says it was made on lines with wheat, etc. I did find some creme br

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You can buy carrots at the grocery store. They have not been tested for gluten content. Do you eat the carrots? How about potatoes? Apples? Steaks?

There is a risk of possible contamination in ANY product of ANY type. Find your own comfort level. Mine is clearly different than Shauna's.

I am satisfied when a company follows good manufacturing practices. I do not insist that all products and ingredients be tested. Even if they were, there would still be a risk since no test is sensitive enough to detect gluten below a certain level. The most common test detects 20 parts per million. It isn't free, and the 99% of people who don't care about gluten don't want to pay extra for the test. You decide for yourself.

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You can buy carrots at the grocery store. They have not been tested for gluten content. Do you eat the carrots? How about potatoes? Apples? Steaks?

Considering that we're talking about the gluten free status of a processed product with added ingredients, I don't see how comments about its gluten free state could be construed as applicable to produce or other unrelated whole foods. Or am I misunderstanding something? Besides...farmers might not test their produce for gluten, but they aren't labeling their carrots as gluten free to try and get more business, either.

When it comes down to it, testing isn't even the core issue in a situation like this. It's money and honesty. Our money and a company's honesty. The answer that is so often called the CYA answer is at least an honest one. We can use the facts presented and decide on the risk level involved (whatever we judge it to be) and make an informed decision, based on our comfort level. Although of course we need to get consistent facts, first.

A company telling us an untested product is gluten free is not only iffy in the honesty department, it's clearly geared at getting more people to buy that product. I can't see that as the better response and the 'CYA' statement as the more weasel-lawyer answer.

The response that puts money first and our health second seems like the poorer choice on a company's part, IMHO. It's not like they're telling us an untested product is gluten free because they want our lives to be easier, or because they're trying to help us. They want us to spend our dollars with them.

A company that makes the same claim but also tests for gluten strikes me as one that has more of a balance between our health and its bottom line.

And oddly enough, for all our differences, I don't insist that all ingredients and products be tested in the processed foods I use any more than Peter does. In fact, NONE of the few processed foods that I use make any claims of being gluten free, nor do they test for gluten. But they are willing to answer very detailed questions about their processing, their ingredients, their packaging, and so on.

And because of that, I have enough detail to make an informed decision, I'm not annoyed that the company is making unverifiable claims just to make money off of me, and so I make the purchase.

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Considering that we're talking about the gluten free status of a processed product with added ingredients, I don't see how comments about its gluten free state could be construed as applicable to produce or other unrelated whole foods. Or am I misunderstanding something? Besides...farmers might not test their produce for gluten, but they aren't labeling their carrots as gluten free to try and get more business, either.

No one in their right mind would label carrots as gluten-free because they don't have to. Carrots are gluten-free and anyone with a working brain knows that....unless they are swimming in a sauce of unknown origin. I think Peter's comparison was correct because you have made statements on this forum saying that vegetables can contain gluten and that's why you have to speak to farmers about their growing practices. This may be what you have to do for your own comfort level but no other Celiac I know checks veggies for gluten because they don't have to...fresh produce is naturally gluten free. Do we need a CYA statement for veggies? I hope not or most companies will give up on gluten free products because they'll be too worried about lawsuits.

A company telling us an untested product is gluten free is not only iffy in the honesty department, it's clearly geared at getting more people to buy that product. I can't see that as the better response and the 'CYA' statement as the more weasel-lawyer answer.

The response that puts money first and our health second seems like the poorer choice on a company's part, IMHO. It's not like they're telling us an untested product is gluten free because they want our lives to be easier, or because they're trying to help us. They want us to spend our dollars with them.

No one is being dishonest here. You can not prove there is gluten in a marked "gluten free" package because there is no test (supposedly) that goes that low and no one would be willing to pay for such expensive testing when clearly there is no need for the 99% of Celiacs out there who can safely consume most dedicated facility products. Many of these companies started up because they had Celiacs in the family and wanted to produce a product that the vast majority of Celiacs could enjoy. Thank God for Canyon bread, Udi's and all the others who make delicious gluten-free products, which make our lives more normal and our food more varied. Not everyone is doing it just for the money and I'm sorry you have the need to be so cynical. Most Celiacs make company calls and get the information they need to make an informed decision on that food product and pick up and move on. I have a lot of sympathy for those with multiple food issues because I have 2 myself but it need not be this complicated for most. If the vast majority of food out there for us were that contaminated, you would see a lot more Celiacs who do not heal and that is not happening. If you follow a strict gluten-free diet and take your recovery seriously, then healing should happen over time....even including gluten-free brownies and cake! If not, then it's time to look into other problems that may exist.

And oddly enough, for all our differences, I don't insist that all ingredients and products be tested in the processed foods I use any more than Peter does. In fact, NONE of the few processed foods that I use make any claims of being gluten free, nor do they test for gluten. But they are willing to answer very detailed questions about their processing, their ingredients, their packaging, and so on.

I have never called a company who didn't give me detailed explanations when asked and these were mostly companies who do label their products as gluten-free.

I'm sure those that don't exist but if they try and be that secretive about it, no one will buy their product. It doesn't make good business sense.

I really have no big issue with developing labeling laws other than what we have now because I have had little trouble over 6 years figuring out what I can and cannot eat safely. Granted, I eat mostly a whole foods diet with some goodies thrown in from time to time and am happy with that. If something makes me sick (and that happens rarely), I just don't eat it again. Does it set back my health any? For a couple of days or maybe a week but I survive and move on. It doesn't have to be this complicated, once you get through the learning curve and actually learn something about what is in the food you eat. Food education, on a basic level, will do more to help a Celiac figure things out than anything else the government wants to do. I just do not want things made so ridiculously strict that many companies will fear government intrusion and not make the effort to produce all these wonderful things people may want to buy and eat....and can do safely. The FDA regulates the food industry in the States yet we have disgusting meat facilities where salmonella and E. Coli seems to be a problem on a regular basis. How about doing something about that?

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Cannot add much more to the discussion---Gemini has covered it all so well :) ---but I would like to add that EVERY SINGLE company I have ever contacted, via email or phone, has been cooperative, informative and quick to reply. Whether it was about a medication or a deli item or topical lotion, I have received a courteous response and sometimes, COUPONS! :lol:

If the representative could not say for sure if CC was an issue, then I avoided the product. (the only time I was not sure about the status of a product was because the fellow I was speaking to was Korean and although I am a linguist, I do not speak Korean. :) It's not the end of the world --and I chose another product instead, just in case.

I avoid dairy and soy right now as well as gluten and navigating prepared or packaged products can be tricky. Companies invariably try to accomodate the consumer and for the most part, I think they have done a pretty good job adjusting to food labeling laws, food allergies, and the growing celiac population. Of course, to avoid ANY concerns about gluten in a product, choose PLAIN foods --like fruits, meats, fish, nuts, eggs and vegetables--that are inherently gluten -free. For gluten-free prepared foods, stick to companies with dedicated facilities, to ease your mind.

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