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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Kraft, Conagra, Unilever
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30 posts in this topic

I had been hearing a lot about Kraft, ConAgra and Unilever voluntarily labeling all sources of gluten on their full product lines. I wanted to confirm this myself just to be safe, and I thought I would share what I discovered in case anyone else is interested. (This information was gathered in May 2008.)

Kraft and ConAgra both confirmed that they do list any source of gluten including wheat, rye, barley and oats on all of their products. Kraft also said this includes the shared equipment statements (ie, if the product was made on the same equipment as any barley product, the label would state this).

Unilever said they DO NOT label all sources of gluten for their full product line. They only do it for some of their products, like Hellmann's and Ragu (this isn't the full list).

I just wanted to share - hope this is helpful to someone!

~Jessica

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Thank you for posting this. But, would you kindly post your source for this information.

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I had been hearing a lot about Kraft, ConAgra and Unilever voluntarily labeling all sources of gluten on their full product lines. I wanted to confirm this myself just to be safe, and I thought I would share what I discovered in case anyone else is interested. (This information was gathered in May 2008.)

Kraft and ConAgra both confirmed that they do list any source of gluten including wheat, rye, barley and oats on all of their products. Kraft also said this includes the shared equipment statements (ie, if the product was made on the same equipment as any barley product, the label would state this).

Unilever said they DO NOT label all sources of gluten for their full product line. They only do it for some of their products, like Hellmann's and Ragu (this isn't the full list).

I just wanted to share - hope this is helpful to someone!

~Jessica

Thanks for the information Jessica!

Did you happen to get all the products Unilever does disclose gluten in?

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I would repeat Lisa's request. Please provide the source for your new information about Unilever.

This change in Unilevers's policy is important news, if it can be verified, so please share the source.

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Based on this thread, I decided to contact Unilever via their website. I was extremely disappointed with the canned response that didn't even address the question.

I asked: "What is Unilever's policy on ingredient labeling of foods? I know that the top 8 allergens(which includes wheat) has to be shown if present. Will Unilever also list barley, rye, and oats (whether it be the actual ingredient or an ingredient derived from these)for those who are concerned about Celiac disease? Does this labeling policy also apply to non food items? Thank You."

The response was: "Thanks for writing!

Gluten is found in wheat rye, barley, and oats. In our sauces, the source of Modified Food Starch is corn. The source of Carmel Coloring is a brown food coloring obtained by heating sugars. Malted Barley, which has been partially germinated to permit some of its carbohydrates to be broken down into simpler sugars, is used to provide flavor and sweetening to food products.

Because our products are formulated for use by the majority of our consumers, and not specifically for those on restricted diets, it is possible our product formulations may change at any time. As a result, we cannot provide a list due to several factors:

- Lists of this type reflect products as formulated at a specific time

- Possible that more products/varieties may have been added

- More important, changes in existing products may have occurred

Therefore, we suggest READING ALL INGREDIENT LABELS CAREFULLY.

We hope this information is helpful!

Your friends at Unilever Bestfoods

wsh"

It was disappointing because they didn't answer whether or not barley, rye, or oats would also be identified. Instead they tell me that they can't provide a list (which I didn't ask for) and that I should read labels carefully (which I do otherwise I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place). Very frustrating!

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Agreed. This is a disappointing response. Sometime, the response is determined by how you ask the question and how experienced the customer service rep is. I still think that we are not getting the correct response from Unilever. I think a mass inquiry is required here. I'm on a mission.

I wrote to them last week as well with no response. I wrote today requesting their policy regarding full disclosure of gluten on their ingredient listing. I would encourage others to do the same. A non-response is not acceptable.

Here is their contact information:

http://www.unileverusa.com/ourbrands/

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Hope this helps. I contacted Unilever in Feb 08.

First response (after asking the company's policy)

Hello Laura, Thanks for writing! Gluten is found in wheat rye, barley, and oats. Because our products are formulated for use by the majority of our consumers, and not specifically for those on restricted diets, it is possible our product formulations may change at any time. As a result, we cannot provide a list due to several factors: - Lists of this type reflect products as formulated at a specific time - Possible that more products/varieties may have been added - More important, changes in existing products may have occurred Therefore, WE SUGGEST READING ALL INGREDIENT LABELS CAREFULLY. Kind regards,

Your friends at Unilever

My response to their response:

Can you please answer my actual question, from my original comment, which is: What is your company

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Here is their contact information:

http://www.unileverusa.com/ourbrands/

OK . . . I apparently brought their website down . . . :ph34r: . . . I wrote my letter, saved a copy (just in case), hit submit and now . . . :blink: . . . don't tell anyone it was me.

:lol::lol:

I'll try again a little later.

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Laura (happygirl) posted the most current information. Holy Cow Janet! Who let you out of Sillyville? :o:lol:

Here is Unilevels response today and my reply:

> Hello Lisa,

>

> Thanks for stopping by!

>

> Gluten is found in wheat rye, barley, and oats.

>

> Because our products are formulated for use by the majority of our

> consumers, and not specifically for those on restricted diets, it is

> possible our product formulations may change at any time. As a result,

> we cannot provide a list due to several factors:

>

> - Lists of this type reflect products as formulated at a specific time

>

> - Possible that more products/varieties may have been added

>

> - More important, changes in existing products may have occurred

>

> Therefore, we suggest reading all ingredient labels carefully.

>

> We hope this information is helpful.

>

> Your friends at Lipton

>

........................................

With all due respect, you did not answer my question. I shall ask again.

What is the POLICY of Unilever regarding listing all forms of gluten on their

ingredient list on your products.

If a product contains malt, is it the POLICY of Unilever to disclose that as

an ingredient.

Lisa

>

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I, too, contacted Unilever this week and after their first reponse which seems to be the one that everyone else received about not having a 'list', I reworded my question and here is their response:

Thanks so much for writing!

It is important to know and understand that Unilever takes a proactive role in managing all food allergy issues.

Unilever also follows good manufacturing practices-established procedures to identify potential risk areas to prevent "cross contact" between allergen and non-allergen foods.

Unilever has accurate labeling and good manufacturing practices. Unilever focuses of the eight most common allergies identified by both U.S. FDA and the Food Allergy Network. These allergens are eggs, milk and dairy products, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish as well as any ingredient that may contain gluten.

Unilever takes great care to be certain that the ingredient statements of all of our products are accurately labeled and are in full regulatory compliance as outlined by the FDA/USDA guidelines.

As always, if you cannot determine whether the product contains the ingredient in question, you should not use it.

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Four stars for Unilever's gluten listing policy. Zero stars for their customer service idiots. <_<

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Four stars for Unilever's gluten listing policy. Zero stars for their customer service idiots. <_<

LOL! I liked this statement.

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I realize this is an old thread, however I am responding to let you know my recent experience with Unilever's "labeling policy". I had been suffering many of my food allergy symptoms and decided the common thread was Knorr bouillon. I wanted to double check the gluten-free status so I called the customer service line. By giving her the UPC code, the customer service rep was able to tell me that the bouillon contains gluten. When I mentioned what I understood the labeling policy to be she replied, "Well, it [gluten] can hide in things like caramel color."

Here is the Knorr policy (a subsidiary of Unilever) as per their website (bolding by me):

"Most Knorr products are made with gluten-containing ingredients, and cannot be considered gluten free. Ingredients that may contain gluten are always listed on the label. Since product formulations change from time to time, we do not have a printed list of products that identifies those products that contain specific allergens or gluten. The best advice we can give you is to check the ingredient list on the label. If you cannot determine whether the product contains the ingredient in question, we suggest you do not use it."

This is, I believe, misleading. Now, I interpret it to say "We always include all the ingredients on our label and you must decide if they contain gluten."

I believe their labeling policy is just this: they label the ingredients on their products. I do not believe that it is safe to assume they are clear and transparant regarding gluten.

(PS- Isn't it illegal to not clearly label allergens? I realize this doesn't include gluten, but still...)

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Of course they label "all the ingredients." That is the law. But, some terms permissible on labels can have multiple meanings.

My read on that statement by Unilever has always been that rye, barley, oats and wheat are ingredients that will be clearly disclosed.

BTW, caramel color is gluten-free. That particular myth was shown to be false years ago.

By law, only eight identified allergens are required to be labeled. Wheat is included, but rye, barley and oats are not.

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And, your information is only as good as your customer service representative. B)

I use HerbOx, and they are labeled "gluten free".

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I've called Knorr within the last 10 mos and was told that both the products I've used from them are gluten free. Those products are Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo chicken flavor bouillon, and Caldo de Tomate tomato bouillon with chicken flavor. Neither of them have any ingredients that would be gluten that I can see.

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To add to this discussion I think that Unilever may have made some changes in the last year or so. I know this was brought up in another thread but the regular original Lipton Onion soup mix USED to be gluten free but now has barley listed on it. For the record, it is not the kosher brand i was looking at either. I have started experimenting by making my own with gluten free beef bullion, sugar, onion powder, and minced or dried onions. I think Unilever has started making it a point to correctly label, but I think that they are still causing confusion with their statements and through their customer service department. I have been hearing customer service will say one thing, but the label will say another so I would trust the labels more than customer service.

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To add to this discussion I think that Unilever may have made some changes in the last year or so. I know this was brought up in another thread but the regular original Lipton Onion soup mix USED to be gluten free but now has barley listed on it. For the record, it is not the kosher brand i was looking at either. I have started experimenting by making my own with gluten free beef bullion, sugar, onion powder, and minced or dried onions. I think Unilever has started making it a point to correctly label, but I think that they are still causing confusion with their statements and through their customer service department. I have been hearing customer service will say one thing, but the label will say another so I would trust the labels more than customer service.

The Autolyzed Yeast Extract (Barley), as listed in Lipton's Onion Soup Mix, is processed to the degree that the offending gluten is removed, thus safe for people with Celiac to consume.

Lipton Onion Soup Mix is considered gluten free, and subject to Unilever's excellent labeling policy, they list the source.

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To add to this discussion I think that Unilever may have made some changes in the last year or so. I know this was brought up in another thread but the regular original Lipton Onion soup mix USED to be gluten free but now has barley listed on it. For the record, it is not the kosher brand i was looking at either. I have started experimenting by making my own with gluten free beef bullion, sugar, onion powder, and minced or dried onions. I think Unilever has started making it a point to correctly label, but I think that they are still causing confusion with their statements and through their customer service department. I have been hearing customer service will say one thing, but the label will say another so I would trust the labels more than customer service.

I agree that the label should be trusted over customer service. I am very thankful for companies that do list barley when it is used. I personally wouldn't use the product with that as an ingredient. While I know the gluten is considered to be 'processed out' I prefer not to take the risk. For those less sensitive or with milder reactions it might be worth it but not for me.

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I was just reading about gluten from barley recently. The tests for it are not as good as the tests to detect wheat gluten. Different tests tend to greatly underestimate or overestimate the amounts.

The following advice was for companies who are looking to call their foods gluten-free

( http://glutenfreeworks.com/blog/2010/10/04/barley-malt-ingredients-in-labeled-gluten-free-foods/ )

"Thomas Grace, CEO of Bia Diagnostics, a food testing facility in Burlington, Vermont, says the following concerning the use of barley malt and barley malt extract in gluten-free foods:

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It only took one incident with barley that we didn't know about in a product to find that it gives my daughter the same reaction as wheat, so we avoid it.

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The worst to get information from is Kroger. I was trying to check on some of their store-brand products. It took me a full week of calling every day to speak to a dietician, and no one else was allowed to give out that information. It seems they anly have one dietician for all Kroger stores nationally.

In case you are wondering, Krogeer brand Carbmaster yogert is gluten free.

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Unilever is the company I called a few weeks ago when I noticed that their Lipton onion soup mix listed barley as an ingredient for the first time. I asked the customer service person why they would add barley to something that was gluten-free, and of course she didn't know. I asked her to have someone call me who did understand the decision-making process, and she told me they were too busy to answer my question. I kept going, and finally she said she'd put in the request. I got a call from a representative who left a message on my machine. The upshot of it is that Unilever isn't really required to report the barley, because it's such a miniscule amount, but they're doing it because they're such good citizens.

After reading some of what all of you have posted, I'm getting fed up with Unilever myself!

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The upshot of it is that Unilever isn't really required to report the barley, because it's such a miniscule amount, but they're doing it because they're such good citizens!

So, they voluntarily disclose barley (gluten), even when it is not required by law. What more, exactly, do you want?

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I decided to contact Unilever. Here is what I sent: "I have been diagnosed with celiac disease. I need to avoid products with wheat, barley and rye, including any derivatives of these. I am wondering if your label will identify if any of these ingredients are used in your products. For example, if Barley Malt is used, will it be labeled as "barley malt" vs just malt or natural flavoring? I am happy to read your labels to learn which products are safe for me to consume if I know your labels will tell me everything I need to know. Thank you for your response."

I will let you know if/when I get a response.

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