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  1. Celiac.com 11/08/2018 - With the popularity and sales growth of gluten-free and other "free from" product categories outpacing their traditional counterparts, more major food manufacturers are moving to provide products for those customers. In the food and beverage sector "free from" products are growing faster than their standard counterparts, according Nielsen data. Antibiotic-free products enjoyed growth rates of nearly 20 per cent last year, followed by soy-free with 19 per cent, and hormone and antibiotic-free at 15 per cent. That means major manufacturers are looking to meet the increasing demand for foods that are "free from" gluten, antibiotics, pesticides or genetic modification, among other things. Consider cereal giant General Mills Inc., which makes the popular breakfast cereal Cheerios from naturally gluten-free oats. In theory, oats are gluten-free, but commercial oats also typically contain small amounts of wheat, barley or rye that can find their way into the oats via shared processing channels. To ensure that every final box of Cheerios was gluten-free when it left the factory, General Mills worked on finding a reliable way to sort through the one billion pounds of oats it uses each year. That solution took five years and involved teams of engineers, and the retooling of numerous machines, along with the construction of a specially-built eight-story sorting facility. "We knew if we wanted to take our Cheerios gluten free, we needed to create our own system," said General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas. Other examples of companies looking to adapt to new customer demands are McDonald’s Corp., which plans to source more than 20 million of its Canadian Angus burgers over the next year from sustainable sources. Meanwhile, Tyson Foods Inc., is looking to make inroads into to the organic market with its recent purchase of organic chicken producer Tecumseh Poultry. Major U.S. wheat miller Ardent Mills has created “The Annex,” a unit devoted to the future of specialty grains and plant-based ingredients. As the market continues to grow, look for more manufacturers to offer gluten-free and other specialty foods at markets near you. Read more at: TheStar.com
  2. Even an 8th grader found gluten in Cheerios! This kid is going places! http://atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/8th-graders-celiac-warning-gluten-in-cheerios/ It is legit and not fake news! https://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/sites/default/files/gsef-2018-honors-ribbon-recipients.pdf
  3. Celiac.com 12/19/2017 - The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) finds itself facing questions of rumor-mongering and inaccuracy in the face of its ongoing comments about General Mills and Gluten Free Cheerios. The CCA recently retracted a controversial October 20 press release in the face of questions about the accuracy and validity of its statements. The retraction reads as follows: "The CCA retracts its statement of October 20, 2017 and replaces it with this statement due to errors in the original statement." They retracted every claim made in the first press release. In addition to its erroneous, and now retracted press release, the CCA has made numerous public statements casting doubt on the process General Mills uses to create their Gluten-Free Cheerios, and other oat-based cereal products. The CCA has spread fear and confusion about the gluten-free status of Cheerios, and implied widespread gluten contamination in Cheerios. For example, the following statement attributed to the CCA was published on October 26, 2017 by Globalnews.ca: "[CCA] expressed doubt in the company's mechanical sorting system and claim of 100 per cent removal of cross-contaminants." Additionaly, Canadiangrocer.com reported in August 2016 that the CCA was, to paraphrase, "awaiting evidence showing the new line [of Gluten Free Cheerios] is 100% free of gluten." The article quotes Sue Newell, the CCA Manager, Education and Special Projects, as saying: "Our fear is that there are hot spots in their oats. Any given box may be fine, but every third or fifth box may not." Canadiangrocer.com has quoted the CCA's Manager making a very specific claim about the gluten-free status of Cheerios. If her claim is correct it would mean that 20% to 30% of all Cheerios boxes are contaminated with gluten above 20 ppm, and General Mills is producing millions of boxes of tainted cereal per month which are fraudulently labeled "gluten-free." When Celiac.com invited Sue Newell to further clarify her position she would neither confirm nor deny making the quotes, but instead said that her quotes were simply "media impressions." Although Celiac.com requested more clarification, Ms. Newell would not respond to further written questions (re-printed below) about her "media impressions." Celiac.com also requested that the CCA produce any evidence to back up their claims, but so far the CCA hasn't produced anything. In response to our questions (re-printed below), which mostly remain unanswered, the CCA demurred with vague claims about general levels of gluten contamination in raw oats, and even more vague claims about the unreliability of optical sorting systems in removing gluten. They referred to studies that, after further review, appear to be unrelated to General Mills' proprietary sorting and production processes. CBC reported on August 31 2016, that the "Canadian Celiac Association is warning against gluten-free Cheerios products over concerns the cereal is not 100 per cent safe for people with celiac disease." What does the CCA mean by "100 percent safe for people with celiac disease?" To our knowledge General Mills has never made the claim that their sorting process results in "100 percent removal" of gluten from the oats used in their Cheerios. It is our understanding that General Mills has only ever claimed that their process results in gluten levels under 20 ppm, which allows them to be labeled "gluten-free" in both the USA and Canada, and as such they are considered safe to consume for those with celiac disease. When Celiac.com asked the CCA to provide a source for the "100% free of gluten" General Mills claim, or for clarification of her "100 per cent safe for people with celiac disease" statement, no response was provided. Is the CCA hinting that the labeling standard for gluten-free products should be 0 ppm allowable gluten? Again, they would not answer this question. It seems that the CCA made this recommendation and their associated statements based not on independent product testing, or on any confirmed accounts of gluten-exposure in people with celiac disease who had consumed Cheerios, but instead on anecdotal evidence and innuendo. For their part, General Mills has at least publicly described their optical sorting process, and have gone on the record as saying that their raw unsorted oats contain anywhere from 200 ppm to 1,000 ppm gluten. They describe exactly how their sorting process reduces the gluten content in their oats to below 20 ppm, and how they then pulverize, process, and mix their sorted oats to make Cheerios (from Celiac.com's perspective it is this milling/pulverizing and mixing process that should eliminate any chance of "hot spots"). They have even applied for a patent on their optical sorting technology, and in order to receive this patent their process needs to function as described. Ultimately General Mills stands by their product every day by putting a "Gluten Free" label on every box right next to their trade mark. Remember Paul Seelig? Back in 2011, before we even had gluten-free labeling laws in the USA, he sold regular bread that was labeled as "gluten-free." He was tried and convicted of fraud and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The idea that people can just slap a gluten-free label on a product that contains gluten above 20 ppm and somehow escape our judicial system, whether it be private attorneys who sue them or criminal prosecutors, is highly unlikely. Ultimately the CCA is calling General Mills, Health Canada and the FDA into question when they make unfounded claims based solely on fear and innuendo. The CCA is also casting doubt on U.S. and Canadian gluten-free standards. If 20% to 30% of Cheerios contain "hot spots" of gluten contamination, then why can't the CCA, or anyone else, produce a single box that is tainted? Where are the trial lawyers who ought to be lining up to sue them? Cheerios are are subject to regular, random testing by both Health Canada and the FDA. The FDA recently tested major American gluten-free brands for gluten-free labeling compliance and found that 99.5% of products tested are compliant with current gluten-free standards. The FDA found just one non-compliant product out of the hundreds they tested. They worked with the manufacturer to recall the tainted product and correct the manufacturing process. There is no indication that the non-compliant product was Cheerios or any other General Mills product. In this case the burden of proof for such extraordinary claims lies with the CCA, and not with General Mills. Someone can claim that the Earth is flat, or that humans never walked on the moon, however, the burden of disproving such claims doesn't lie with scientists who spent their entire lives creating a massive body of evidence which support what are now generally accepted facts, but with those making the extraordinary claims. Accordingly, it is only fair that the CCA must back up their claims with more than the equivalent of a vague conspiracy theory, which to disprove, would require General Mills to literally test every piece of cereal in every box of Cheerios (i.e., billions of boxes). General Mills returned our telephone calls and freely answered our questions. They provided a reasonable description of their sorting process and answered our questions about it. The CCA has been coy and evasive when questioned about their past statements, their claims about Cheerios, and their stance on the 20 ppm gluten-free standard, or any other standard for gluten-free labeling. Until such time as the CCA stands by their statements, and until they provide actual evidence to back up their claims, their claims should be regarded with skepticism. In their reply to our questions, the CCA included three links to articles they feel support their position on oats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623493 Koerner et al 2011 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814616312614 Fritz et. al 2016 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijfs.13288/full Fritz et al 2016 Celiac.com addresses those studies in a separate article, entitled: Why Do Quaker and General Mills Approach Gluten-Free Oats Differently? Questions Emailed to the CCA by Celiac.com, followed by their response: QUESTIONS FOR THE CCA REGARDING CHEERIOS GLUTEN-FREE LABELING AND RELATED ISSUES: The standard for under 20 ppm allowable gluten in gluten-free foods remains unchanged. in Canada, the US, and the EU. The standard is supported by Health Canada, which says that gluten levels under 20 ppm are safe for the vast majority of people with celiac disease. The 20 ppm standard is also supported by the CFIA, the FDA, the EU, by scientific and medical data, and by all major celiac disease researchers. QUESTIONS: 1) Health Canada says that 20 ppm gluten is safe for celiacs. Does the CCA believe and support that standard? ANSWER: No Response. If not, what standard is safe, according the CCA? ANSWER: No Response. 2) Health Canada allows up to 5 ppm gluten in "Marketing Authorization" oats. Obviously, gluten content above 0 but under 5 ppm is not "100% gluten-free. Does the CCA have any problem with such "gluten-free" oats? ANSWER: No Response. 3) With respect to the gluten-free Cheerios products in Canada, Candiangrocer.com reported in August 2016 that the CCA was, to paraphrase, "awaiting evidence showing the new line is 100% free of gluten." Is that still the position of the CCA? ANSWER: No Response. 4) The Candiangrocer.com article also states: "Our fear is that there are hot spots in their oats," said Newell. "Any given box may be fine, but every third or fifth box may not." Is the CCA asserting that 20% to 30% of Cheerios boxes are contaminated with gluten? What is the basis for this claim? Is the CCA forming policy based actual official test results? ANSWER: No Response. 5) Similarly, the CBC reported on August 31 2016, that the "Canadian Celiac Association is warning against gluten-free Cheerios products over concerns the cereal is not 100 per cent safe for people with celiac disease." Can you clarify what you mean by "100% gluten-free" and "100 percent safe for people with celiac disease?" ANSWER: No Response. 6) In a recent article published in October 26, 2017, Globalnews.ca writes "[CCA] expressed doubt in the company's" mechanical sorting system and claim of 100 per cent removal of cross-contaminants. https://globalnews.ca/news/3826328/celiac-association-applauds-general-mills-decision-to-pull-gluten-free-label-from-cheerios/ ANSWER: No Response. 7) Again, can CCA clarify what it means by "100 percent removal" of gluten? ANSWER: No Response. 8) Also, we are unaware of General Mills ever making a claim that their sorting process results in a "100 percent removal" of gluten from the oats used to makes Cheerios, only that their process results in gluten levels under 20 ppm, and within the range for labeling product as gluten-free. Can CCA provide any source for General Mills ever making a claim that their sorting process for oats results in a 100 percent removal of all gluten? [http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Research/2017/10/General_Mills_details_gluten-d.aspx?ID=%7BD74CACED-0224-49C3-951A-4E62E87AA243%7D&cck=1] ANSWER: No Response. 9) Is it the position of the CCA that the standard for gluten-free labeling should be 0 ppm allowable gluten? If so, how would that be measured? What products would be able to makes such a claim? ANSWER: No Response. 10) Does the CCA have any scientific data that shows that gluten levels under 20 ppm are dangerous or harmful for people with celiac disease? ANSWER: No Response. 11) Does the CCA have any scientific data or medical testing to show that Cheerios do not meet the 20 ppm standard for gluten? ANSWER: No Response. 12) If Cheerios meet US FDA standards for gluten-free products, and routinely test at below 20 ppm gluten, does the CCA feel removing the gluten-free label in Canada makes people with celiac disease any safer? If yes, how? ANSWER: No Response. 13) Regarding CCA claims of member complaints about Cheerios: Is it not possible that people who claim an adverse reaction to Cheerios are actually having a reaction to the avenin protein in oats, or to higher fiber in oats? ANSWER: No Response.
  4. Celiac.com 10/26/2016 - There's been a bit of confusion lately over claims by the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) that the optical sorting system used by General Mills to produce gluten-free Cheerios and other cereals is somehow flawed, and their products not safe for people with celiac disease. The CCA has issued a warning to Canadian consumers with celiac disease against eating gluten-free Cheerios products, based on concerns of possible contamination due to a what they say is a faulty sorting process. General Mills debuted their patented optical sorting process and launched gluten-free Cheerios in the U.S. last summer, and they spent millions of dollars developing the new technology. Later, the company voluntarily recalled nearly 2 million boxes, when a plant mixing error caused wheat flour to mixed with oat flour. However, since that time there have been no known reports of systemic contamination, which is what the CCA is alleging. General Mills launched five flavors of gluten-free Cheerios in Canada this summer: Original, Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate. Clearly, the CCA is looking to protect people with celiac disease from the perceived possibility of gluten contamination, but the CCA's statement goes beyond urging simple caution, and urging celiacs to report any cases of gluten contamination and to save boxes for lab testing. "Hearing stories…" Samantha Maloney, former president of the Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association, told CBC Radio's All In A Day that the General Mills process of sorting grains to produce gluten-free cereal is "flawed." She and her group claim that they have made the claim because they have "heard stories." Has Maloney or anyone in her group actually followed up on these claims, these "stories" she's "hearing?" Without offering any proof or names, or scientific data for making her claim, Maloney went on to say that General Mills is having "a bit of a problem" with the way they are cleaning their oats. Is she saying that the product is being contaminated by gluten? It seems so. Well, if that's true, then surely some celiac suffer who ate Cheerios and had a bad reaction must have a box of cereal that can be tested. If General Mills is churning out box after box of gluten-tainted cereal and labeling it "gluten-free," then it seems like a massive scandal and lawsuit waiting to happen. Maybe some enterprising person, or even a law firm, can go grab some boxes and get them tested, and add some actual evidence to these claims. One would think Maloney and the CCA would confirm such information beforehand, rather than first making the claim, and then asking people to provide confirmation after the fact. If Maloney's claims are proven true, then General Mills deserves to be called out, and Celiac.com will certainly be among the first to report it. Until then, saying that General Mills is knowingly using a faulty system to sort their gluten-free oats is simply irresponsible hearsay, and doesn't really help provide accurate information for consumers with celiac disease, something the Canadian Celiac Association claims is part of its mission. It's one thing to urge caution, and to call for testing and evidence gathering that supports any claims of gluten-contamination, but it's entirely another to claim without any evidence a product and process are flawed and likely to harm people with celiac disease. What happens if the General Mills process turns out to be okay? What happens if Gluten-Free Cheerios and other products are perfectly safe? That means the CCA was not only wrong, they were wrong without even having any facts to support their original claim. How does that help people with celiac disease or the CCA? Celiac.com continues to support efforts by the CCA and other groups to inform and protect people with celiac disease, but we also urge proper facts, data, context and evidence to support any hard claims about products, gluten-free or otherwise. Regarding the status of General Mills' patented optical sorting process for producing gluten-free grains for their Cheerios and other gluten-free products, Celiac.com urges caution on the part of individual consumers. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that any of these products not gluten-free, but, there is also no evidence that similar gluten-free oat cereals made by smaller companies do a better job to ensure that their products are safe, yet there is no controversy about them. Ultimately people with celiac disease should use caution, and, in the event they experience gluten contamination, they should save the box and report it to the Canadian Celiac Association, and/ or any of the other official resources listed on the CCA website: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (all provinces except Quebec) MAPAQ (Quebec only) General Mills Customer Service In the USA, the FDA. Stay tuned to celiac.com for information on this and related stories.
  5. Celiac.com 09/01/2017 - A recent story by Buzzfeed does little to answer the question of whether Cheerios and other General Mills cereals are actually gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease. There are a number of folks in the gluten-free community who complain that General Mills is making people sick by selling Cheerios that they know to be contaminated with gluten due to a faulty sorting process. Because General Mills uses a flawed sorting process, the story goes, their boxes of Cheerios are subject to gluten "hot spots," which is making some gluten-sensitive folks sick, thus the complaints. They point to regular complaints logged by the FDA to argue that Cheerios are clearly not gluten-free, and thus not safe for people with celiac disease. Comment sections on articles covering this topic show that plenty of people claim that Cheerios makes them sick, and triggers gluten-related symptoms. But, one useful measure of the basic scope of an issue is numbers. What kind of numbers are we talking about? How many complaints? How many boxes of Cheerios? It's important to realize that General Mills produces huge numbers of Cheerios each week. How many exactly? Well, according to their website, General Mills ships 500,000 cases of Cheerios each week. At about 12 boxes per case, that's about 6 million boxes each week, or 24 million boxes each month. We know that the FDA received a number of consumer complaints in 2015, when a mix-up at a Cheerios plant in California led to mass gluten contamination, and eventually to a full recall of 1.8 million boxes by General Mills. During that three month period, after the gluten contamination but prior to the recall, when many consumers were eating Cheerios made with wheat flour, the FDA says it received 136 complaints about adverse reactions to the product. So, during the 90 days when we know there was gluten contamination in nearly 2 million boxes of Cheerios, when people were definitely having gluten reactions, the FDA got 136 complaints. During that time General Mills shipped about 72 million boxes, and later recalled nearly 2 million of those due to gluten contamination. That's a complaint rate of about one complaint per 529,411 total boxes, and about one complaint for every 5,000 people with celiac disease; if each person with celiac ate 1 box, and the complaints came only from people with celiac disease. (Obviously this is simplified assumption for discussion purposes). Let's imagine another 2 million gluten-contaminated boxes got to consumers. Again, imagine that 1% of those buyers were celiac, so that 20,000 boxes of the 2 million went to celiacs—one box each. 146 complaints for 20,000 boxes is about 1 complaint per 140 boxes, give or take, for each person with celiac disease. That seems like a substantial complaint rate. So, how does that rate compare to the current rate, after the recall? Since the beginning of 2016, the FDA has received 46 reports of people with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten or wheat linking their illness to General Mills cereals, including Cheerios and Lucky Charms. Let's forget about Lucky Charms for a minute, let's focus on Cheerios. During the 18 months from January 2016 to July 2017, General Mills has shipped something like 450 million boxes. That's about one complaint for every 10 million boxes of Cheerios, or about one complaint for every 100,000 people with celiac disease. And those numbers don't include Lucky Charms, which account for some portion of the 46 complaints since early 2016. If General Mills is having an issue with sorting oats, then why have complaint ratios gone down so sharply? Also, General Mills uses its optically sorted gluten-free oats for other products. The FDA is certainly taking all of this into account. When they get complaints, they look at large amounts of data to help them put things into perspective. Has the FDA seen corresponding numbers of complaints for different General Mills products made from the same oat sorting process? It doesn't seem so. Celiac.com has covered the gluten-free Cheerios story from the beginning, and will continue to do so. We stand on the side of science, and accurate information. Beyond the obvious gluten-contamination that led to the recall, we have been skeptical of claims that General Mills' sorting process is flawed, and that their products, including Cheerios are routinely contaminated with gluten. If this were true, we think the numbers would be very different, and that the pattern of official complaints would reflect that reality. We also feel that General Mills would be facing down lawsuits from hungry trial lawyers looking to put a big trophy on the wall. We have simply not seen any good evidence that supports claims that Cheerios and other General Mills products are contaminated with gluten "hotspots" that cause reactions in people with celiac disease. We have also not seen evidence that rules out adverse oat reactions as the cause of many of these claims. If someone out there has different numbers, or better information, we are all ears. However, until we see convincing evidence to the contrary, Celiac.com regards Cheerios and other General Mills products as safe for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. We do offer the caveat that people should trust their own judgement and avoid any food they think makes them sick. Stay tuned for more on this and other stories on gluten-free cereals and other products. Read more at BuzzFeed.com and GeneralMills.com.
  6. Hi All, My my family and I just moved to Switzerland from Australia. As an American expat I was very pleased to find out that I could easily order gluten-free Cheerios for my 3 and 5 year old girls for the first time! Well...for the past two weeks my girls have been displaying signs of being glutened. They are now having terrible direahea for the past 2 weeks since I've been feeding them this cereal every other day or so. I've desperately been trying to rule out what is causing this but we are a gluten-free household...Now, I'm just waiting for the poo samples to come back because none of thier kindergarten and play group friends are sick but these test won't reveal gluten poisoning...sadly, I've just stopped the cereal for brekkie. I am am wondering if anyone here has had any problems with the gluten-free Cheerios as of late? Thank you!
  7. Celiac.com 10/27/2017 - Cereal maker General Mills has announced that it will no longer label their flagship cereal Cheerios as gluten-free in Canada. Has Canada Changed its Gluten-free Standards? No, the standard for labeling gluten-free foods in Canada remains same, at up to 20 ppm allowable gluten. Such foods are safe for the vast majority of people with celiac disease, according to both U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies, the EU, celiac researchers and numerous celiac disease support groups. Health Canada, the agency responsible for setting food safety standards in Canada says that gluten levels below 20 ppm are safe for people with celiac disease. That is also the standard for gluten-free products in the United States and the EU. Have Cheerios Changed? No, the Gluten-Free Cheerios sold in the U.S. are the same Cheerios that are sold in Canada now, and the same Cheerios that will be sold in Canada after the labeling change. Cheerios routinely test below 20 ppm, and are currently labeled as gluten-free in both the U.S., and Canada. Cheerios has not been the subject of a mandated recall in with the U.S. or in Canada, which indicates that the product remains safe for the vast majority of people with celiac disease. So, Why is Cheerios Changing its Label in Canada? It comes down to a technicality over oat testing standards. Canadian labeling laws require manufacturers follow a specific testing requirement for products made with oats, such as Cheerios. Under that Canadian testing requirement, oat products with gluten levels above 5 ppm, but under 20 ppm are considered "Investigative," a status under which the agency "notifies the regulated party of the result." They then "follow up with the regulated party to determine the source of the gluten." Moreover, the agency advises "the regulated party, such as General Mills in the case of Cheerios, to review their Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and process controls." The agency may require "corrective action." As a result, cereal maker General Mills has announced that it will no longer label their flagship cereal Cheerios as gluten-free in Canada. General Mills stands by its testing process and said Cheerios sold in the U.S. will continue to carry the gluten-free label. A statement by General Mills reads: GM: "Each serving of Cheerios products in Canada are gluten free, as defined by the current regulatory standard of containing less than 20 ppm of gluten. General Mills Canada has made the decision to voluntarily remove the gluten-free label from our Cheerios products in Canada until Health Canada and The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) publish a consistent testing protocol for products containing oats. At this time the product is not changing, just the label on the box. We look forward to labeling the Cheerios products in Canada as gluten free once consensus is reached on a consistent testing protocol for products containing oats." Comments made by both General Mills and the CFIA suggest the decision to remove the gluten-free labels from Cheerios stem from an issue around how products containing oats are tested for gluten in Canada. According to CBC News, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed that the move by General Mills to remove the gluten-free label was voluntary, and said the company had "informed" the agency of its plans in August. "This was a business decision made by the company and not a directive from the CFIA," the statement said. The statement from GM continues: "While Gluten-Free Cheerios products comply with the gluten-free standards in Canada and the United States, we have made the decision to remove the gluten-free label from our Cheerios products in Canada until the government agencies publish a consistent testing protocol for products containing oats. At this time the product is not changing, just the label on the box. For nearly a decade, General Mills has served consumers with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Since Gluten Free Rice Chex was launched in 2008, General Mills has grown its portfolio of gluten-free products to more than 1,000 items. It is now the second largest provider of gluten-free foods, including seven varieties of Cheerios, in the U.S. The company has also introduced gluten-free products in more away-from-home food outlets like restaurants and schools, and in new regions such as Canada and Europe." GM spokesperson Mike Siemienas said the company was waiting for "Health Canada and The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) [to] publish a consistent testing protocol for products containing oats," and that General Mills looks forward to labeling the Cheerios products as gluten-free once consensus is reached on a consistent testing protocol." So, while Cheerios will no longer carry a gluten-free label in Canada, Canadian standards for gluten-free products have not changed, and remain the same as American standards, at up to 20 ppm allowable gluten. The Cheerios sold in Canada are no different than Cheerios sold in the United States, where they will still carry a gluten-free label. So, only the Canadian label will change. Cheerios will remain the same. On either side of the border, people with celiac disease can continue to enjoy Cheerios with confidence. Those with oat sensitivity, or who react to high fiber levels, should use their own judgement about Cheerios, as with any other product.
  8. "October 20, 2017 (Mississauga, ON) The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has made an announcement that the words “gluten-free” will be removed from all Cheerios package sold in Canada by January 1, 2018. The Canadian Celiac Association first objected to the claim in August 2016 and strongly recommended that people with celiac disease not consume the cereal, even though the box was labelled “gluten free”. The announcement came in a letter addressed to a Canadian consumer who was one of many customer complaints to be filed against the products......." https://www.celiac.ca/gluten-free-claim-removed-general-mills-cheerios-sold-canada/
  9. Celiac.com 04/24/2017 - The fallout continues from General Mills' recall of nearly 2 million boxes of Gluten Free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios in 2015, which occurred after workers at a California plant accidentally loaded gluten-free oat flour into trucks that had been holding wheat flour, which contains gluten, and which then contaminated batches of "gluten-free" cereal produced with the grain from those trucks. In comments to the U.S. Ninth Circuit court, plaintiffs representing a proposed class of consumers claimed that a lower court had erred in dismissing their lawsuit on the grounds that the company's recall program made the claims baseless. They asked that the court allow their lawsuit against General Mills to continue. The suit is based on claims that the supposedly gluten-free Cheerios that had been made with the wrong flour, and that the cereal had sickened consumers. Lead plaintiff Christopher Hamilton told the panel that a refund program alone does not moot a claim for damages, as courts have held that, while refund programs do moot restitution claims, they do not moot claims for damages and injunctive relief, such as Hamilton's. "Indeed, in a case based on the exact facts present here, a court in California held that the Cheerios recall program did not moot a consumer's damages claim because the defendants did not satisfy the plaintiff's claims for statutory damages and injunctive relief," said Hamilton. Hamilton, who has celiac disease, brought his suit in March 2016 after buying the supposedly "gluten-free," wheat-contaminated Cheerios. One sample revealed 43 parts per million of gluten, more than twice the legal ceiling for the "gluten-free" label, Hamilton said in his complaint. Still, to the layperson, Hamilton's request for damages and injunctive relief invites questions. First, since the company issued a full product recall, what type of injunctive relief would they be seeking? Second, regarding damages, exactly what type of monetary damages would be claimed? Did these plaintiffs incur medical expenses, missed work or other costs? That is not made clear in these filings. When U.S. District Judge Michael McShane dismissed the original suit in July, he did so based on the fact that General Mills did issue a full product recall. In his statements on the matter, the judge wrote: "Rather than mitigate his damages by accepting General Mills' recall/refund offer, Hamilton is suing General Mills for false labeling, marketing and promotion of the product. Hamilton paints a discreet [sic] manufacturing mishap as a grand scheme of deceptive advertising, marketing and labeling." Judge McShane added, "I find this to be creative at best." But Hamilton says that he should be permitted to amend his complaint to include claims that the recall was delayed, and that the company was aware of complaints from sick consumers as early as July 2015. Hamilton also wishes to include allegations that General Mills deliberately ignored warnings from a dietitian that General Mills gluten-free testing was inferior. The case is Christopher Hamilton v. General Mills Inc. et al., case number 16-36004, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Read more at Law360.com.
  10. Celiac.com 12/13/2016 - One in five people with celiac disease have a sensitivity to oats. Could that be the real issue behind claims of adverse reactions to Cheerios and other General Mills products? In an effort to answer questions regarding the safety of gluten-free Cheerios for people with celiac disease, we recently ran an article on warnings by the Canadian Celiac Association that Cheerios, and other General Mills cereals labeled 'Gluten-Free' are unsafe, are likely to be contaminated with trace amounts of gluten. Celiac.com found those claims to be lacking in evidence, and grounded mainly on unsupported claims that the proprietary process used by General Mills to sort oats is somehow problematic, and likely to permit 'hot spots' of gluten contamination that can exceed the 20ppm gluten-free FDA standard. Along with unsupported claims about General Mills' sorting process, the Canadian Celiac Association seems to base their opinion on vague claims of unnamed people with celiac disease suffering adverse reactions after eating the cereals. Yet, so far, no one has documented any actual problem with General Mills' method for sorting gluten-free oats, and certainly no one has shown any kind of a systemic problem, as the Canadian Celiac Association seems to allege. No evidence has been offered up to support any such claims. Again, to our knowledge, no one has provided any evidence of any actual gluten contamination in any box or batch of General Mills Gluten-Free cereals. Interestingly, that very lack of evidence to support claims of gluten contamination is cited by the Celiac Disease Foundation in its endorsement of General Mills Gluten-Free cereals. Recent scientific research has shown that around 8% of celiacs are sensitive to certain varieties of oats, and the Celiac Disease Foundation recently indicated in a response to a question on this topic posed by "cyclinglady," who is a Celiac.com board moderator, that nearly 20% of people with celiac disease may also suffer from oat sensitivity, and they suggest that oat sensitivity is the likely culprit behind any sensitivities to the product. The Celiac Disease Foundation's full letter was posted on Celiac.com's Gluten-Free Forum by cyclinglady reads as follows: "This is interesting. I sent an email asking the Celiac Disease Foundation about gluten-free Cheerios which they endorse/support, but the Canadian Celiac Disease Organization and the Gluten Free Watchdog do not? What do you all think?" She includes the full response by the Celiac Disease Foundation, which reads: "Aside from the initial contamination in Cheerios when they were first put on the market, Cheerios has had no other issues with the gluten-free status of their cereals. Most people with celiac disease can tolerate gluten-free oats, however, about 20%*(sic-actual figure should be 8%, see note below) of the population with celiac disease cannot tolerate oats in any form, even if they are gluten-free. It's that population that should avoid Cheerios. Our Medical Advisory Board has no evidence that General Mills gluten-free cereals are not safe for celiac consumption. General Mills is a proud sponsor of Celiac Disease Foundation, and they understand the importance of safe gluten-free food to our community. In fact, we enjoy Cheerios at the National Office ourselves where half of us have celiac disease. Cheerios only need to be avoided by those with celiac disease who also cannot tolerate oats." So, once again, the Celiac Disease Foundation endorses General Mills Gluten-Free Cheerios, and by implication, Lucky Charms and other cereals, as safe for people with celiac disease, with no medical evidence to the contrary. However, they do recommend that people with oat sensitivities avoid oat products. This runs counter to the warning by the Canadian Celiac Association that General Mills products were "unsafe" and the General Mills "had problems" with its sorting process. The fact that the folks at the Celiac Disease Foundation, including those with celiac disease, say they eat Gluten-Free Cheerios provides another positive testimonial that Cheerios are safe for people with celiac disease. However, it really all boils down to basing any proclamations about gluten-free safety on actual evidence, not stories, or opinions, or things we heard. In their letter, the Celiac Disease Foundation notes that "Our Medical Advisory Board has no evidence that General Mills gluten-free cereals are not safe for celiac consumption." Until evidence appears to the contrary, the overwhelming evidence is that General Mills gluten-free Cereals, including Cheerios and Lucky Charms, among others, are safe for people with celiac disease, but should be avoided by anyone with oat sensitivities. Anyone claiming they are not safe for people with celiac disease is simply not basing their claim on hard evidence. Of course, people should base their diets on their own experience, especially people with celiac disease, and/or sensitivities to oats or other things beyond gluten. Stay tuned for news on this and other important gluten-free topics. Sources: Cherrios and the Celiac Disease Foundation New clue in celiac disease puzzle: Cause of oat toxicity explained Scientists Catch Culprit Oat Peptides That Trigger Celiac Immune Response Should Celiacs Eat Oats? Depends on the Oat This article was updated on 12/14/2016 to include more sources, and to clarify the CDF's letter that was posted in our forum. *Corrected to 8% on 12/14/2016 per CDF web site
  11. Celiac.com 08/12/2016 - Cereal-maker General Mills has announced the debut of five varieties of gluten-free cereals in Canada by the end of summer. The five varieties include Original Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Chocolate Cheerios. General Mills is excited to offer gluten-free Canadians more gluten-free cereal options, says Emma Eriksson, director of marketing for General Mills Canada, said in a release. She adds that "gluten-free Cheerios products will maintain the same great taste that consumers love at the same price they're used to." All gluten-free Cheerios products will be clearly labelled "gluten free" on the front of the box. Gluten-free Cheerios was first introduced in the U.S. last summer. Gluten-free Cheerios products join other gluten-free cereals already sold by General Mills, including Rice Chex, Chex Honey Nut and Cinnamon Chex, with Chocolate Chex also launching in Canada this summer. Read more: insidetoronto.com
  12. Celiac.com 02/26/2016 - Consumer complaints to the FDA fueled a class action lawsuit claiming that cereal maker General Mills mislabeled gluten contaminated Cheerios as "gluten-free." The recent suit was brought by a Kentucky woman, who alleges that she purchased two boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios labeled as gluten-free, but which actually contained gluten levels more than two times higher than allowed under FDA standards. The consumer complaints led to FDA testing on gluten-free Cheerios. The FDA tested 36 samples of gluten-free Cheerios taken from different manufacturing facilities and lots. The tests found that some "Gluten Free" Cheerios samples contained as much as 43 ppm gluten. Current FDA rules forbid the use of the statement "gluten-free" on any food product with gluten levels above 20 parts per million. General Mills issued a recall on Oct. 5., and the suit was filed in late 2015 in a California federal court, and charges violations of California and Kentucky consumer protection laws. The suit alleges that supposedly gluten-free oats were cross contaminated with ordinary wheat at one of General Mills' processing facilities. Stay tuned for more news on this and other developments on gluten-free labeling and celiac disability claims. Read more at Legalnewsline.com.
  13. Celiac.com 01/21/2016 - With sales of non-gluten-free cereals enduring a slow, consistent downward slide in just about every category, gluten-free cereals have been one of the few bright spots for cereal manufacturers. In an effort to combat those falling cereal sales across its existing product line, manufacturer General Mills released five gluten-free Cheerios products. Initial results suggest that their plan is working, at least somewhat. According to General Mills, sales of non-discounted, full-price gluten-free varieties of Cheerios grew 3% to 4% last quarter, offering the fist improvement after multiple quarters of declining sales. This is particularly good news for General Mills, as it follows on the heels of an embarrassing recall of 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios in October, shortly after the introduction of their gluten-free varieties. The company chalked that issue up to "human error." So the fact that the latest numbers are strong so soon after a major product recall suggests that gluten-free Cheerios might just be the ticket for turning around their slumping sales. What do you think? Have you tried gluten-free Cheerios? Will you? Are you happy that major companies like General Mills are making gluten-free products available? Read more: buzzfeed.com
  14. http://www.celiac.ca/b/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/CCA_Statement_on_Cheerios.pdf An excerpt - " Recommendation The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) recommends that people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity DO NOT consume the gluten-free labeled Cheerios products at this time because of concerns about the potential levels of gluten in boxes of these cereals. The CCA is receptive to evaluating any additional information that General Mills is willing to disclose."
  15. When will Gluten Free Cheerios be available in Canada and which stores will supply them?
  16. Years before I developed full gluten intolerance (probably celiac) while I could enjoy many wheat products, I would get odd, unpleasant reactions to Ritz crackers and Cheerios. I did not think much of it and generally just avoided those products. I periodically retried them thinking it was a temporary problem with the product. I subsequently developed the same problem with any wheat and gluten product. Has anyone else noticed a similar prodrome to any food products?
  17. Celiac.com 02/25/2015 - General Mills has announced that original Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and three other Cheerios varieties will undergo formula changes, including a switch to gluten-free oats, and will be released as a gluten-free cereal. The move by the food and cereal giant mirrors a similar recipe change that successfully boosted sales for its Chex brand, which has been gluten-free since 2010. The company will likely begin selling gluten-free versions in July, says Jim Murphy, president of Big G Cereals, General Mills' ready-to-eat cereal division. Apparently, General Mills felt that that could no longer ignore the skyrocketing sales of gluten-free foods, and the slow decline of foods that contain gluten, including breakfast cereals. "People are actually walking away from cereal because they are avoiding gluten," says Murphy, a development that, at a time when cereal sales, including Cheerios, are already weak, the company can ill afford. Meanwhile, unit sales growth of food with a gluten-free claim on its packaging grew 10.6% in 2014 compared to the previous year, and gluten-free sales, especially among breakfast cereals are expected to continue double-digit growth through at least 2018.
  18. Celiac.com 03/28/2016 - An Oregon man who claims to have celiac disease filed another proposed class action suit against General Mills in federal court recently. The company recalled nearly 2 million boxes of the cereal last year after what they claimed was a mistake at a local packaging plant. That recall incident has spurred several lawsuits already, which were covered in two previous articles, General Mills Sued Over Recalled Gluten-free Cheerios, and General Mills Sued Again, This Time for Misleading Labels on Gluten-free Cheerios. In the latest suit, named plaintiff, Christopher Hamilton, of Marion County, Oregon, individually and for all others similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit Feb. 29 in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Eugene Division against General Mills Inc. and General Mills Sales Inc., alleging violations of the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act and consumer protection statutes in several states. Hamilton's suit alleges that General Mills wrongly labels some of its Cheerios as "gluten free.” He claims he purchased a $15.98 twin pack of “gluten-free” original and honey nut-flavored varieties of Cheerios in late September from a Salem Costco that was later subject to recall. The complaint states that a test sample of the purportedly gluten-free Cheerios contained 43 parts per million of gluten, which exceeds the 20 parts per million federal limit for a food product to be labeled as gluten free. Source: Legalnewsline.com
  19. Celiac.com 02/02/2016 - General Mills seems to be having a hard time catching a break lately, especially when it comes to their new gluten-free options. After some minor good news that their new gluten-free versions of Cheerios breakfast cereal was driving a small increase in an otherwise falling cereal market, the company has found itself on the receiving end of several lawsuits. In the latest lawsuit, a Kentucky woman is suing the cereal producer over what she claims are misleading labels on their gluten-free products, including gluten-free Cheerios. In her class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 18 in the Eastern District of California, Jacklyn Haddix, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, alleges that General Mills, General Mills Sales, General Mills Operations, and Does 1-50, engaged in "unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, negligence and violations of Kentucky and California consumer protection laws." The suit states that after General Mills began to advertise and distribute its gluten-free Cheerios products throughout the U.S., in September, the Food and Drug Administration received consumer reports of adverse reactions from people who had eaten gluten free-labeled Cheerios. On Oct. 5, after FDA tests of 36 Cheerios samples that certain samples contained gluten levels well above the mandated limit for products labeled gluten-free. General Mills subsequently recalled 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios. Two days later, the company revealed finished product testing had not been performed on the recalled Cheerios, according to the suit. Haddix and others in the suit seek "compensatory, exemplary, punitive, and statutory damages, plus return of purchase prices, interests, reimbursement, disgorgement, and attorney fees and costs" exceeding $5 million. Stay tuned for more developments on this and other gluten-free product lawsuits. Source: legalnewsline.com
  20. Celiac.com 12/09/2015 - Less than a month after General Mills announced a recall of nearly two million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, the company is facing a class action lawsuit alleging it violated several consumer protection laws, and put consumers at risk. The complaint, filed in the eastern district of California on October 30 by plaintiffs Keri van Lengen and Deborah Nava against General Mills and Roxanne Ornelas (manufacturing manager at Gen Mill's Lodi plant), accuses General Mills of selling misbranded products; in this case, cereals advertised as gluten-free which actually contained gluten. It adds: "Plaintiffs and Class Members have all suffered and will continue to suffer harm and damages as a result of Defendants' unlawful and wrongful conduct." For the company's part, it states in a blog post published on October 5, by Jim Murphy, senior vice president and president of the Cereal division at General Mills, that: "Our Lodi production facility lost rail service for a time and our gluten-free oat flour was being off-loaded from rail cars to trucks for delivery to our facility on the dates in question. In an isolated incident involving purely human error, wheat flour was inadvertently introduced into our gluten-free oat flour system at Lodi. That error resulted in an undeclared allergen – wheat – being present in products labeled as gluten free at levels above the FDA gluten-free standard." Murphy went on to reassure consumers that the company's oat supply was safe, and that their gluten-free flours are pure. The post goes on to assure consumers that the company "tested our oat supply on these dates – and the oat supply tested as gluten free. We also tested the specific oat flour being used at Lodi – and our oat flour supply also tested as gluten free on the dates in question." The post closes by noting that General Mills is testing all finished product…[and has] instituted additional flour handling protocols at all facilities to ensure this will not happen again. Stay tuned for new developments or related news on gluten-free products from Cheerios or General Mills. Source: Food Navigator-USA.com
  21. Celiac.com 12/16/2015 - Just a month after General Mills recalled nearly two million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios from store shelves and warehouses due to "inadvertent" gluten contamination, the company and its flagship brand Cheerios are facing yet another public relations challenge. General Mills is being sued for false advertising by a major consumer watchdog over its Cheerios Protein cereal, introduced in March, 2014, as a "healthy alternative" to both classic Cheerios and other breakfast cereals. According to an official complaint filed with the Northern California District Court by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), "General Mills falsely and misleadingly markets Cheerios Protein to children and adults as a high protein, healthful alternative to Cheerios." According to General Mills’ official marketing language, Cheerios Protein "offers the benefits that go along with starting the day with 11g of protein and the great taste of Cheerios that kids and parents already know and love." According to the CSPI, while Cheerios Protein does contain a tiny bit more protein than classic Cheerios, General Mills has nearly doubled the recommended serving size for Cheerios Protein, making its protein content seem much greater than it actually is. So, while the "recommended serving size" of original Cheerios is 28g, the recommended serving of Cheerios Protein is 55g. When you crunch the numbers, Cheerios Protein only has just 7/10 of a gram more protein than regular Cheerios, hardly a major source of protein, or a major improvement over regular Cheerios. In their complaint, CSPI is accusing General Mills of engaging in what amounts to marketing sleight-of-hand, to trick consumers into paying an average of 70 cents more per box than other brands of Cheerios, for a product that contains an insignificant amount of extra protein, but 17 times more sugar than classic Cheerios. Yes, even though they have about the same amount of protein by weight, a serving of original Cheerios contains just 1g of sugar, while a serving of Cheerios Protein will give you a whopping 17g of sugar; about the same as half a can of Coke. Basically, eating two bowls of original Cheerios will give you about the same amount of protein as Cheerios Protein, but with far less sugar, and at a lower cost. That's where the lawsuit comes in. Basically, CSPI is hoping to use the courts to pressure General Mills to remove or revise their marketing cliams, which CSPI says, are little more than smoke and mirrors. Stay tuned for the latest developments on this and related stories. Read more at Inquisitr.com