I have never tried a Bob’s Red Mill product. I’ve heard they were a good company run by good people. Since the day I was diagnosed with this crappy disease, I’ve heard that they were the answer to a celiac’s dreams. Tastes great. Completely gluten-free. Yada yada yada.
But then last week, somebody pinged me and told me that, while technically gluten-free because of our insanely stupid regulation that still allows gluten in gluten-free items (a rant for another day), Bob’s Red Mill products actually contains gluten, albeit under the 20ppm allowed by law.
Honestly, I was taken aback. I had just assumed because of their popularity among the celiac community, they were 100% gluten free.
Then a few days later I heard from a fellow celiac who got real sick eating one of their products. And then I did a bit more digging and read some more complaints. So I reached out to the company directly and asked them how safe their product was for somebody with severe celiac disease. Here is their response:
Our gluten free facility only processes products that test below the International Standard for gluten-free of 20 parts per million using ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) testing. Often gluten levels are lower than this, but we can’t guarantee that.
Before I decided to write this blog post, I reached out to my Facebook community and asked them if they’ve ever gotten sick from Bob’s. (Yeah…I know…I’m like an investigative reporter.)
If I received no negative responses, I wouldn’t write the post. After all, I do not want to spread unwarranted fear or misconceptions. There is enough of that going around in the celiac community.
Here is a sampling of the responses I received:
“Never have become sick from it.”
“I can’t tolerate their products.”
“Never. And I’m very sensitive.”
“I have gotten sick off of their pancake mix.”
“I’ve used Red Mill products for over 30 years with no problems.”
“I’ve only heard negative things, so I’ve never tried.”
“We use it in all of our bread and baked goods at our facility and we have never had a customer get sick.”
“I’ve eaten it every day for almost a year so have no idea why it’s making me sick now.”
“I’ve never had a problem with any of their flours or starches.”
“I have had trouble with their Sorghum flour & oats.”
And that’s sort of how it went. A mixed bag of responses.
You see…I have a dream. It’s not a dream where I can eat pizza, beer and bagels again. I’ve accepted my celiac fate.
But I do dream of the day when gluten-free means gluten FREE. When a product is labeled gluten-free, it’s gluten free. When a restaurant makes a meal they say is gluten-free, it’s gluten-free.
It’s not asking much. I just want us all to stay healthy.