Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 2016 Additional Meeting Notes

At our last meeting on the 10th of January we discussed how Bob's Red Mill has changed their policy concerning Gluten free manufacturing of their foods marketed to us the Celiac & Gluten Intolerant community. I have been in contact with their Customer service as has Renee and here are some preliminary answers.

It was a total shock to me to find out that Bob's is no longer testing to 5ppm as in the past, and I found that out after having a full Ceilac reaction 3 times over the holidays to their supposedly GF oat flour. The Customer rep told me that they test to 20ppm and that the oat flour was not manufactured in their plant but in Canada. Supposedly on GF equipment but we don't know if the oats were grown under the puirty protocol or if they are using mechanically seperated oats. You will remember this discussion because of the Cheerios contamination and Renee's contact with GF Harvest about thier GF oats in Powell, Wyoming. Bob's sent an envelope and I mailed back the oat flour so they could test it to see if there was cross contamination.

In the past you could go to Bob's website and see a picture of their GF mill and factory. And they proudly stated that they test down to 5ppm using the Elisa method which is the
strictest method used for GF foods. Now their whole GF page has changed and they no longer even mention what PPM they are testing to. Here is a copy of the letter Renee recieved in answer to her email questioning their GF testing policies.

"Hi Renee,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Products. For over 30 years, Bob’s Red Mill has been committed to providing the very best in Gluten Free flours, cereals, baking mixes and grains for our friends on gluten free diets. For all of our gluten free products, we thoroughly batch test every product in our quality control laboratory upon delivery, during production and after packaging. We adhere to a standard of no more than 19 parts per million of gluten.  Should a test show that a product exceeds that limit, it would be simply rejected and made unavailable for distribution to anyone. Every step in the production of our gluten free products is done in a separate gluten free packaging division complete with specialized machinery to make sure that our products maintain their purity.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions and have a wonderful day."

Katterrina Ross
Customer Service Department
Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc.
13521 S.E. Pheasant Court
Milwaukie, Oregon 97222

Sounds good but it also sounds like they may be bringing in products that may be over 19ppm and once they are produced if they test above that then they are taken out of distribution?

I sent Bob's a lengthy Q and A letter asking questions such as are all products now packaged and manufactured on the same lines as the 19ppm products.
 Example, rice flour made from rice grown in a strict GF process should test at or below 5ppm.
I have not heard back from Bob's and as soon as I do I will send their answers out to you.

So sadly my friends it seems that we can no longer trust Bob's Red Mill to have our health and best interests at heart as they did previously. As for my self I am NOT using Bob's products until I hear from them.

I have heard many times "I am not that sensitive so I don't have to worry about it."
Here is something to think about, We are all here in our GF group and on our journey because our declining health forced us to stop and figure out why we were constantly sick and had
possibly numerous health issues. Meaning, that there has already been some dammage to our bodies and we are now having to deal with that damage, for most of us over the course of many years.
So, If we continue to eat 20ppm on a daily basis and at every meal from contaminated foods we are continuing to damage our bodies and will possibly pay for it with another mystery health issue or diagnosis. If I make a batch of cookies and eat 3 or 4 per day then I am getting gluten contamination every single time I eat them. It is hard enough to manage the restaurants, supposedly making GF foods for us and the possible ensuing illness we will suffer, without bringing it into our homes to eat every day.

As we have said before, the food manufacturing companies and the FDA wouldn't tell a peanut allergic child or person to "go ahead and eat a cookie with 20ppm peanut contamination,
a little anaphylaxis won't hurt you!" Neither can our bodies process ANY gluten, is like poison to our bodies.

So, how about some good news?
Hallelujah for Hodgson Mills GF products and company dedicated to us G-Freers and our health and safety!

Hodgson Mills has for many years been manufacturing safe Gluten free products. Their son is a celiac. I found them at Fry's when our first family member was diagnosed 12 years ago.
I have had an extensive talk with their customer service and I am so amazed at the lengths they go to for the Gluten Free foods they manufacture.
Some of the safety precautions they use are:
They have a separate air cleaner to make sure that no outside contamination comes into the building, They use shoe scrubbers and I think she said they wear suits.
They test to 5ppM and all GF products are made in a seperate dedicated GF area on dedicated lines. They are certified by the Celiac Support Association.
They are a small family owned company, and as a bonus thier corn products are non- GMO!
Cheryl, whom I spoke to at customer service was very nice and understanding and willing to help us in any way she could. She stated that they have been getting calls from consumers with similar stories about Bob's.
I am going to get a letter in writing of all of their policies and safety procedures manufacturing GF products and I'll forward it when i can.
In summary I am going to purchase their products from now on because of their dedication to us and our health and safety.

Another bonus! Now through January 24th shipping is FREE at Hodgson Mill on all orders over $40.00!
There are a limited number of their products at Walmart, I haven't looked recently at Fry's. Their cornbread mix is an award winner and is very delicious, even egg free.
They are also available at Amazon. Walmart has some great prices on Hodgson's products, cake mixes that aren't 3 or 4 times what you would pay for betty crocker.

I would like to see us request that Sprouts, Fry's and Walmart carry more of their products.
We should support the companies that go the extra mile for us. Vote with your dollars!

Also I have been in contact with Namaste foods and they say they also test their products to 5ppm. I have not sent them a letter but they have called and stated that they very much wanted to work with us in any way they can. I will forward their info when i receive it.
If you haven't tried Namaste's Spice cake mix it is delicious! I have made the carrot cake recipe and used canned pumpkin to make delicious muffins. All the health food stores carry Namaste foods and flours and mixes.

Renee has also been in contact with Pamela's Gluten free company and here is their reply.

"Good Afternoon Renee -

We appreciate your interest in Pamela's Products.  It is only through relationships with our customers that Pamela’s is able to celebrate 28 years in the natural food industry! Pamela’s passion has always been to create a food experience that will establish lasting memories for our customers!
 I would tell you exactly what the FAQ says:
The new FDA regulation for standardizing gluten-free claims and labeling on products addresses a serious issue for many of our customers. At Pamela’s, we are pleased to see there are now some standards in place to help those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance make educated decisions regarding their food choices. We are happy to say that we provide gluten-free products already in compliance with new FDA requirements and have been doing so for over 28 years. While the ruling requires gluten-free labeled products must test at 20ppm or less for gluten, Pamela’s products consistently test at under 5ppm or less.
On a side note, we do not receive complaints of cross contamination.
I hope this is helpful & please do not hesitate to let us know if we can be of further assistance. 
Have a great day!"          

Once again we want to state that the choice is yours, we cannot tell you what is right for you, we are only here to pass on information that we receive.

On our journey to health,

Linda and Renee

All information presented or discussed by the Prescott Area Celiac & Gluten Free Support Group members at its meetings, on its blog, or sent by email is for informational & educational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Persons with any health issues should consult a qualified, licensed medical professional for diagnosis & treatment.

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