Related Articles

34 Comments

  1. 1

    GF and more

    Agree with GD. Keep on doing what you are doing and doing it right. Emphasize how you leave nothing to chance, leave no crack for something to fall through. For celiacs, that is what will draw them to your shop – at least, it would for this celiac!
    Without solid evidence about their practices, it seems risky to call them out. And they can just be sneaky about it if they are of a mind to be (not saying they are), slipping through an investigation. It would be dicey for your own reputation if you were wrong.

    And GD – your point #3, yes! Don’t do this for money, do it to do the right thing honestly for the consumers. It’s no game.

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Gluten Dude

      Thanks. Regarding #3, I have no problem with people making money from the community, and profiting handsomely even, if their heart (and their gluten-free practices) are in the right place. It’s a HUGE investment to open a bakery like this and I’d like to see them be successful. Just wanted to clarify what I meant.

      Reply
      1. 1.1.1

        Lisa Mims

        I would respectfully disagree with the prior poster: being something of a non-cook before my celiac diagnosis, I spent the first several years of being gluten-free eating Amy’s, which is made in a shared facility.

        I still stayed a little bit sick, was still lactose intolerant, and eventually got microscopic colitis for a few years, which is really awful.

        When I started following gluten-dude’s, “no shared facilities” rule, I had my lactose intolerance resolve after fifteen years. I’m less sick than I’ve been in twenty years, at the moment. If I could sue Amy’s because they make food in a shared facility, I would.

        This is a public health issue. There is not a way to compete with someone who has better marketing, but is lying. I think the letter writer should test products from the not-actually-gluten-free bakery, and write an article, if it’s true that they are not gluten-free. She would be doing her community a major public service.

        Reply
        1. 1.1.1.1

          GF and more

          I totally agree with the importance of a clear dedicated facility. As some on this forum know, I refuse to eat out at all unless the facility is 100% GF – which essentially means I don’t eat out. I don’t buy packaged food – only raw ingredients I cook myself. I won’t eat at other people’s houses unless I am beyond doubt that they know how serious this is. I hate how in the US, something can be “GF” if it has less than 20ppm – GF means FREE of gluten, not below a certain level. Free means free.

          All I wanted to get across was that making accusations about someone’s business practices can be dicey, and without iron-clad proof it might do more harm than good to come out and blast the other company in public. Now, if she has actual proof (beyond personal experience of getting sick from there – though that definitely raises suspicions) it is a different story and it would make total sense to call them out. But I didn’t get the sense from the letter that she has that yet. By alerting others to the possibility as she has here, it might raise some questions and prompt an investigation, which would be great if it clears up the doubt.

          Reply
        2. 1.1.1.2

          GF and more

          Forgot to add, the link that GD posted about the CSA problem with the beer had some info in the comments on the problems with testing kits and how those can be misleading sometimes – or at least how they can raise questions from some. I don’t know what the answer is about how to tell for sure, but I’m just saying it might not be as easy as putting a thermometer in a child’s mouth to see if there is a fever. I wish there were a way to figure it out and get through to people that there is NO safe amount of gluten and shared facilities are deadly.

          Reply
      2. 1.1.2

        GF and more

        I know what you meant. :-) It is hard to do the GF thing. And I think what we get upset about (or at least I do) are companies that are trying to profit off the GF “trend” and don’t get that this is a disease for people with a real medical need. Not a game to exploit until the next trend comes along. I don’t think this letter writer is one of those, quite the contrary. And the other bakery, we can’t be sure of their motives, but I hope that they are also trying to serve a need fairly, not jumping on a trend bandwagon.

        Reply
  2. 2

    Terry

    I agree. The best way to address this is to promote what his GF bakery is doing right.

    Reply
  3. 3

    Lisa Mims

    What you have here is what we in the legal business, call a chain of custody issue; this is what she needs to do:

    Get a smartphone that will film for at least ten minutes. Park in front of the bakery with a batch of Glutentox tests, which you can buy at Gluten Free Mall, online, and then, test the stuff in your car, while continuously filming.

    It gets around your chain-of-custody issue. It’s proof that would probably hold up in court. If the baked goods test over 20ppm–there you go. You can write an article, and they might sue, but you’d win.

    Years ago, Mission Corn Tortillas did an interview talking about why they stopped saying their corn chips were gluten-free. One of their managers acknowledged that, in a shared facility, even away from the manufacturing floor, the air is probably 10ppm gluten. They said they wouldn’t sell something as gluten-free, if they takng a chance on making people sick. Their standards were that they wouldn’t say something was gluten free if it was not–not even in a large shared facility with separate lines. That is what a company with integrity will have as a standard for gluten-free.

    Reply
    1. 3.1

      Sally

      Just a comment on Mission, because ive been looking for GF tortillas lately. Mission corn tortillas are marked Gluten Free on the package, but the Mission website, when I checked, said they were produced in a facility with wheat tortillas.
      I’d love any suggestions for safe corn tortillas, btw :)

      Reply
      1. 3.1.1

        Lisa Mims

        And I thought I could no longer eat them because I’m sensitive to the added cellulose. Well that sucks. =0)

        Thank you so much for the correction.

        As far as where to get gluten-free tortillas?

        Maseca sells a certified gluten-free flour (tested to less than 20 ppm.) If you can get your paws on some and a tortilla press, I’ll send you a how-to video. (Gluten-free girl makes her own.)

        Reply
        1. 3.1.1.1

          Lisa Mims

          Incidentally, I don’t see Maseca’s certified gluten-free flour on their website, however, there is a picture of it on my food blog–I’m wondering if I got a lucky test run? I haven’t seen it in stores since I bought the bag I have.

          Reply
          1. 3.1.1.1.1

            sally

            Well, no tortilla press. I haven’t heard of Maseca before, I’ll look out for it. Really hating the packaged GF tortillas available, so I may look into a tortilla press.

            Reply
  4. 4

    Craig @GlutenFreeG

    Great advice GD… but the fundamental flaw here is policing and we’re all at risk of getting sick from gluten everyday, every moment and it sucks! Celiac Disease is still not being respected by FDA nor the hard working start-ups or establish brands of the world and that’s where the core focus needs to continue….

    In turn, we need to call out those establishments and brands that are doing it wrong, but we need proof. How do we continue to police this without proper facts and rely on our own symptoms, it’s also not entirely fair to do that because we’re all different, ahh! Thoughts?

    Gluten-Free = Safe for Celiac Disease

    Reply
  5. 5

    Zach

    Both bakeries should be frequently testing their products. Buy a kit and test their stuff to see what you get. If positive for gluten, then you should contact the proper authorities. Just Google Paul Seelig.

    Reply
  6. 6

    Jersey Girl

    GD-

    Great post. I am sure this will stir up a good debate. My thoughts are to keep operating the great GF café that you have and keep kicking ass. The backlash may be unpleasant and costly (emotionally and financially). The thing is if I get sick at a “GF friendly” place I just don’t go there again. And so on and so on. The place will fold eventually.

    xo-
    Jersey Girl
    ————————————————————————
    “Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
    She’ll beat you if she’s able.
    You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.”
    The Eagles

    Reply
    1. 6.1

      GF and more

      Yes, that is what happened to me when I was first rx’d and I didn’t understand about shared facilities. I learned fast and don’t go to restaurants anymore. The bad thing is that this takes time, and having celiacs/GFers get sick and have real internal damage to their intestines in the process is a huge price. Too much.

      Reply
  7. 7

    Darlena

    Sad thing is, when enough celiacs get sick at that bakery the word will spread.

    Have you thought about partnering up with the other good GF bakery to set up a closed FB group for the celiacs in your community? They could discuss some of the best places to eat and the places to avoid. I wish my community had a group like that.

    Reply
  8. 8

    Maria Inês Oliveira

    Everytime I read this kind of comments I wonder if the persons who have a almost grain free diet aren’t totally right.
    Although it’s much more difficult to do it, it seems safer and healthier to do it.
    Regarding the bakeries itself, I think it’s amazing to open such a business. I don’t know how this gluten theme is in the US but here in Portugal is almost impossible to find gluten-free bakeries! Gluten sensitivity is not that common although growing.
    Congrats to the bakeries founders…I agree with the ones who wrote both bakeries should be testing frequently their products.
    The consequences can be dramatic and emotionally also devastating!

    Reply
  9. 9

    sally

    Sooo… is this (safe) bakery anywhere in the Boston area???

    Reply
    1. 9.1

      Gemini

      Sally……there is a dedicated gluten free, nut free bakery in Millis, Mass., called Twist. They also have some dairy free options.I have been there twice and the food is phenomenal. They also serve brekkies and lunch, utilizing their own homemade gf bread. Soups, savory items and cookies, cupcakes, scones….the list goes on and on. I am a very sensitive, diagnosed Celiac and haven’t had a burp after eating there twice. I just put in an order for Easter because they have Hot Cross Buns!!!!!! Thank goodness it is a half hour from where I live or I’d be in trouble……check it out! : )

      Reply
      1. 9.1.1

        Sally

        Thanks Gemini! I just had to look up Millis, but it’s not too far from where I work. So I’m sure I’ll be down there soon :)

        Reply
  10. 10

    Craig @GlutenFreeG

    The important lesson here is that Celiacs and those in the gluten-free movement are taking way too many risks. Stop eating out! I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    Reply
    1. 10.1

      Gluten Dude

      I will kindly disagree Craig. It’s not rational to say “stop eating out”. We need to live our lives as risk-free as possible, but as long as we are celiacs, there will always be risks. We have to still live our life, and that life to me does not mean barricading myself in my house in fear of getting sick.

      I will always reduce the risk as much as humanly possible. But I will also live and enjoy my life as much as humanly possible.

      Reply
      1. 10.1.1

        Craig @GlutenFreeG

        GD,

        I am merely pointing out that Celiacs take too many risks. Not to mention the overall gluten-free consumer take even more because they don’t take it as serious as a Celiac. It rocks my heart because it upsets me everyday hearing/seeing it…

        I eat out, too, and accept the risks ahead of me and refuse to hide from the world because those days are long gone. Like others, I have gone through my own journey but try to enforce research, preparation and questioning before food is even considered… the risks vs reward is simple = healthy mind and body always wins.

        The main message that we should consider together GD is (1) obtain a universal food/ingredient education (2) demand accountability by transparency (3) reduce your risks by trusting less (4) exercise your control by planning ahead and bringing snackies and hydration everyday (5) live and make love not war everyday because step 1-4 empowers your new reality

        Reply
  11. 11

    Connie

    #1. Do everything GF said.

    #2. Find yourself a friend or family member who can ask about the certification and such for you. Hate to say it, but your bias shows through as a business owner of the competition – its not a wonder why they wouldn’t talk to you about it. Someone removed from the situation can be more polite and yet firm about seeing the certification they say they have.

    If they truly do not have a certification and they are saying they are, it would be the time to talk to a journalist and explain that you’ve been doing some investigating and that you would like to see if your results can be duplicated by them.

    Lastly, use your competition as an excuse to do a market analysis. Maybe you need to shake up your product line to make sure the line of you and your competition don’t meet and that you’re not missing a “blue sky” opportunity (just a suggestion, many bakeries are missing some unique items in their line up, like donuts, sandwich cookies, ethnic foods (like empanadas, amaretti cookies, danish butter cookies), etc.). Maybe you need to talk to the press about your exclusive flour blend and show off your facility. Bust your butt on finding the things that make your bakery unique, and shout them from the rooftops at every PR opportunity you can (including walk in customers!).

    The other suggestion I am going to make is to make sure that you market how GOOD your bakery is to everyone. In most areas, there’s a limited GF audience, and if you market yourselves to only them, you limit your business reach entirely by design. Regular folks will pay $7 for a designer cupcake just like the GF folks. If you can understand the opportunity to make your bakery something awesome that the non-GF people like (while they’re still eating your GF food!), you will double or even triple your business reach. If you make a good ethnic food that’s hard to get, regular folks and GF folks will come in droves as well. Depending on where you are, it might be Latino driven, Italian driven, or Polish driven. Around the Chicago area, there was only one gf bakery that made gf paczkis and amoniaczk for the holidays – there’s money sitting on the table…

    Sigh…the MBA in me comes out whenever we start to talk about gluten free bakeries. Feel free to look me up on my website linked above if you want to chat about other ideas.

    Reply
  12. 12

    Vik

    Be proud of your dedicated self! I would love to know the name and city of YOUR bakery! (Though I get why you might not want to publish it during this discussion…but dedicated bakeries are so far and few between, I bet I’m not the only one reading who would like to know.)

    Reply
  13. 13

    Greg

    If you test it or try it and it is contaminated, do what I do, call the business and complain. Many don’t know the error in their ways, but when presented with customer fall-out sometimes they are willing to address the situation. If they don’t respond, write reviews in google, yelp, opentable, your local gluten free awareness group, or anywhere else you can get the word out. I imagine a good amount of people check these sites before they go, especially for the first time. If I see positive reviews I go, if I don’t I move on. Word of mouth makes or breaks businesses and with the internet, even more so.

    Reply
  14. 14

    IrishHeart

    I would continue to do things as you are. Focus on your dedicated bakery and let it go. WHY? because in this case, (and I am turning the phrase around to suit my purpose) right means might.

    The dedicated facility will always win out because eventually, celiacs will get sick at the other one and stop going there.
    And anyone who knows what CC is all about—will not eat those “GF” goodies anyway.

    I recently had to edit a review I made on Find Me Gluten Free because I kept getting ill even though I had vetted the place. I finally figured out what they were doing wrong and I wrote them a nice letter explaining what they could do to change it and make it safe for celiacs. But, they did nothing. Why? they do not have the money. They lost my business,yes. Do they care? probably not.

    Cross contamination and test kits etc.–really hard to prove.
    It would just look like a vendetta of some sort anyway if they know you are the one behind it. Don’t go there, hon. You’re doing a good thing right now. Focus on that.

    Good luck with your bakery! Wish you were right next door–or not–my thighs probably don’t need it. :)

    Reply
    1. 14.1

      Zach

      So if you know a place is doing things incorrectly and making people sick, it’s okay to not say anything and let others figure it out on their own? I couldn’t live with that guilt.

      Reply
      1. 14.1.1

        IrishHeart

        That’s not what I said at all. I did do something about it.
        I told the owners what to do.

        I did what I could within the parameters of the law without getting slapped with a slander or defamation suit. What can I do…walk out front of the place with a sign “do not eat here if you have celiac?” Just because I felt sick after? That’s not proof of anything.

        The person who told us this story knows that she felt sick after eating there. That’s it.
        It would be her word against theirs and honey, she will lose her business if she gets sued.

        Not worth it.

        We are all responsible for our health. We know CC can harm us, therefore, do not buy products made in a non-dedicated bakery.

        IMHO, as always.

        Reply
        1. 14.1.1.1

          GF and more

          Well said, both the original and the response. Doing GF right, in a dedicated bakery, and focusing on highlighting how good they are to the public will bring in people who care that their food is safe – truly safe. It’s risky to go after the other company, especially when proof is hard to come by.

          Reply
      2. 14.1.2

        Connie

        It’s one thing if you’re a person who can talk to them about it. But if you’re a competitor, and all you’re doing is harping on the competition, it starts to sound like they are trying to destroy the competition and it drives the customers away, regardless of whether its about safety or not (and whether or not they are out to officially destroy the other business).

        The rules are more conservative about behavior when you start bringing business and customers into the equation.

        Reply
  15. 15

    Molly (Based on a Sprue Story)

    Your Celiac Awareness Month idea sounds great, looking forward to it! And great advice in this post, too. :)

    Reply
  16. 16

    Mark

    I was a dedicated gluten free producer, but it became so difficult to try to compete with the other so called “GF” companies out there that were baking in a shared facility. Most of which did not make any disclaimer on their packaging that their products were made in a shared facility. I had to stop production even though there is a demand for my products. it took me 6 months of re-thinking my business and how I was going to make it work. Well after much thought and really weighing all the options i have decided to still bake dedicated gluten free products although i have changed the direction of my company to be a producer of Medical Marijuana Gluten Free. I found that people were willing to pay the extra for Organic ingredients made in a dedicated GF facility in this market segment as well as knowing that the medicine they were eating was completely safe for them to eat. I have Crohn’s and am allergic to well over 50 types of food including wheat, barley….so while i might or might not be celiac i am still extremely sensitive to any amount. Maybe i am celiac i just haven’t been tested for that. they want me to eat gluten filled products and get sick in order to test me to see if it is positive. I don’t know for the life of me why they did not do this test when i Paid the $1600 for the allergy blood testing.

    anyhow I also will never eat products made in the same facility that has shared equipment. I only eat in a few restaurants that i know are safe for me after talking with the owners and or chef’s. but that is a very limited number.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2016 Gluten Dude: The Naked Truth About Living Gluten Free | Website by Altera Web (alteraweb.com) | Legal Stuff