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45 Comments

  1. 1

    ShelbysKitchen

    This is a huge pet peeve of mine, right after restaurants who say they have gluten-free menus only to find out they have no idea what gluten-free is. I agree with your stance on labeling, it has to be regulated. “Gluten-free” is becoming what “organic” once was. Everyone can slap a label on something and call it gluten-free, but as the consumer, we still have to do the leg work to make sure it is edible for us. #annoying!

    Reply
  2. 2

    The Gluten Dude

    Totally.

    Was in the store yesterday asking about a chicken to see if it was gluten-free. The employee said it must be gluten free because it’s organic. Ugh.

    Reply
  3. 3

    The Gluten Dude

    I received the following email from Amy’s Kitchen. Thought you’d like to read it.

    Hi Gluten Dude,

    We appreciate your thoughts on our Gluten Free products and felt we owed you a response to your challenge. Way before gluten free became a household name our owners championed this line of products to serve gluten intolerant consumers like you who need good tasting and nutritious GF meals. Some of these GF intolerant consumers happened to be among their own family and friends. Whilst our GF product offerings and demand have grown, we have always done everything possible to assure our gluten free products are just that, free of gluten. In addition to testing all high risk ingredients used in our gluten free meals upon receipt, we also test all finished goods for the presence of gluten. Amy’s follows Good Manufacturing Practices, which include a wide range of activities and cross checks completed, for all of our meals to ensure that there is never an instance of cross contamination.

    You do bring up an interesting point about our label statement that these GF products are “manufactured in a facility that processes foods containing wheat.” Although it may sound contradictory to our GF claims, years back we decided to add this statement after talking with some of our most sensitive GF consumers. These consumers told us that they would prefer to know this via a label statement, so that they could personally decide for themselves whether they could safely consume our products given their high sensitivity. Although we do make our GF pizzas, wraps, and cookies in a gluten free only processing room we wouldn’t feel comfortable removing this statement given our consumers feedback, despite our confidence in the gluten free nature of our products.

    Thank you for your shared passion for all things gluten free,

    Amy’s Kitchen

    Reply
    1. 3.1

      Cindy

      I got sick on there food and wrote to them as well. They really don’t care about the consumer because if they did they would have changed their practices by now. And they would also get outside testing to be verified not just their “in house” testing. They claimed they cared and wanted to talk to me in the phone in addition to the FB post and email. I asked about what? And unless they plan on changing their practices that will continue making consumers sick I wasn’t sure what the discussion would be about. Guess what they didn’t call back. The truth is in their actions and I am 100% an Amy’s kitchen Basher.

      Reply
  4. 4

    Christine

    I totally agree with you. I never buy anything from this company either and for the same reasons.

    Reply
    1. 4.1

      The Gluten Dude

      It’s a shame Christine, because they really seem like good people and their food is pretty dang good. But I do believe they are missing out on a chunk of their target audience by not having a gluten free facility.

      Reply
      1. 4.1.1

        Lesley

        The sad part is that they may be nice people,
        they are nice people who are profit maximizing
        on the backs of the GF community.

        If they really cared they would not
        come up with excuses for not having separate facilites
        they would just do it. Short term cost for long term profit.
        its not like we GF community arent dedicated to those
        who invest in our well being.

        Reply
      2. 4.1.2

        Gracie

        Sorry gluten dude I’m not buying they are good people. You challenged them in 2011. I wrote to them in 2016 about the same thing because I did get sick from their food and I was new to the celiac game and didn’t know if an item said gluten free you still had to read the small print for allergens. I also didn’t figure it out right away. So their food did some serious damage while I was still learning how to navigate the bs food labels. Yes FDA needs to step up and protect us but companies like Amy’s kitchen aren’t the good guys. If they were they would have done the right thing years ago. Or at least not sell to celiacs on their website which is marketed directly to us. I personally think they are evil. Any company not doing the right thing is in my eyes.

        Reply
  5. 5

    Marleena

    With this staement from Amy’s letter to you explain how there is a cross contamination issue for the Gluten Free Pizzas, Wraps and Cookies?
    “Although we do make our GF pizzas, wraps, and cookies in a gluten free only processing room”

    If they only make gluten free products there on that line than where would the cross come from? I towuld seem to me there would be no chance of cross.

    Reply
    1. 5.1

      The Gluten Dude

      Makes your head spin sometimes, doesn’t it?

      Reply
      1. 5.1.1

        Marleena

        Yep. Even after 18 years there’s so much to learn and watch out for.

        Reply
    2. 5.2

      BlueWillow

      Cross-contamination could occur via their HVAC system.

      Reply
      1. 5.2.1

        Dottie

        Wow I had no idea. I’m celiac diagnosed almost 3 years ago. I am strict and eat at one restaurant with GF facility, I make all of my own food. I thought Amy’s was safe…I can not afford any issues, I’m still healing from gluten in my thyroid meds for 2 years post diagnosis.

        Reply
  6. 6

    Kate

    aaaaagggggghhhhhh how did i miss this?! it explains SO MUCH. *le sigh*

    Reply
  7. 7

    Adalaide

    This is one of the things that infuriates me. I’m only about six months into my new life, but the clear lack of respect for the health of consumers just pisses me off. I think the FDA should require a “processed in a facility with” statement. Some of us simply are that sensitive, and I’m one of those lucky ones.

    Also, what’s up with being allowed to label things gluten free that aren’t actually gluten free? I’ve heard/read that there is a recommendation to the FDA that things should test at or below 20 PPM to be labeled gluten free, but there are much more sensitive tests. Hell, Benefiber tests at less than 20 PPM, labels itself gluten free and is MADE OF WHEAT! I’d want to die if I used it. I’d need my charger for my ereader and a wi-fi connection so I could electronically check out library books.

    I’m not usually all “I want the government to make a bazillion new rules” but where are the labeling laws for gluten? They seem to have them for everything else we eat. And who the hell is recommending that 20 PPM be the standard? That’s like saying it’s okay to put a little poison in everything. Of course, it’s a sure way to get me to go whole foods.

    Reply
    1. 7.1

      Marleena

      Adalaide they are still sitting on the laws for labeling gluten free have been since they first promised them to us way back in 2007.

      Reply
    2. 7.2

      The Gluten Dude

      Beyond frustrating, isn’t it Adalaide (which by the way is my mother’s middle name.) The FDA is simply dragging their behinds while thousands needlessly get exposed to gluten.

      Reply
  8. 8

    Joyce

    Just wanted to let you all know that I recently tried a gluten free pizza (made in a completely gluten free facility that was really tasty (expensive) but made with really good quality ingredients. The brand is “Against the grain gourmet” …made in Vermont by small company. My local Whole Foods is carrying a few of their items, all have been very good! Hopefully you can find it locally near you :)

    Reply
  9. 9

    Joyce

    Here is the link, just in case you want to check it out…enjoy!!

    http://www.againstthegraingourmet.com/

    Reply
    1. 9.1

      The Gluten Dude

      Thanks Joyce. Will check it out.

      Reply
  10. 10

    Gluten Free Guerrillas

    Great post. This is a big bug bear of ours even here in the UK. Some companies have even started using the phrase ‘not suitable for coeliacs due to the manufacturing process’. At least they are honest and clear and you can make an informed decision then about whether to waste your hard earned dosh on something that may hurt you. Do you have the phrase ‘no gluten containing ingredients’ (NGCI) over there? That one’s a killer. It actually has no legal basis (so the FSA aka Food Standards Agency in the UK explained to us), it doesn’t mean an item is GF. Nor does it mean it is regularly tested. What it does mean is that the item is made in the same facility as gluten products. It became used when the new EU law on gluten free products came into play recently. So we went from 200pm and less = gluten free to it downsizing to 20ppm and less to be labelled gluten free. As food producers didn’t want to pay for extra testing etc they decided it was cheaper to add NGCI on packets. Which is ironic as the FSA here confirmed that was introduced as a new phrase so that restaurants could use that on catering food packs to give chefs a better idea of whether something contained gluten or not. All very odd. I wonder how the FDA / labelling will evolve in the USA if your levels are also reduced to 20ppm. Maybe you’ll hit similar problems. It seems the food companies lobby hard and the Coeliac societies aren’t always as vocal as you’d like them to be. Keep up the good blogging!

    Reply
  11. 11

    Alaine @ My GF DF Living

    I have had bad experiences with Amy’s. I won’t buy it again. Don’t worth the pain afterward and certainly not worth the price tag. They do seem like a good company though and I would love to see them change their practice.

    Reply
  12. 12

    Marial

    I totally agree… Since it’s made in a facility that process foods containing wheat than there’s a chance of it not being gluten free. It’s just like the gf pasta brand Heartland. The pasta is labeled gluten free but when you read the back it says made in a facility that process foods containing wheat. Things like this can easily be missed and can make people sick. My daughter is a silent celiac so she would not have any symptom. Thank you for letting everyone know about this.

    Reply
  13. 13

    David

    F Amy’s. Jesus Christ I’m so miserable from their meal right now. So mad.

    Reply
  14. 14

    Kat S

    I got a horrible reaction from their “gluten free” tortilla bowl. Whenever I’m exposed to any amount of gluten I break out into hives, angioedema and have an asthma attack. I suffered horribly for almost 2 days and I will never buy anything from this company again. It could have been much worse for me had I gone into anaphylaxis

    Reply
  15. 15

    Rowena Mitchell

    Thanks for this post, I thought I was going mad! I just had Amy’s Mac Cheese and am definitely having a reaction. I’ve only recently become gluten intolerant so it’s all new to me. I won’t be buying these products again.

    Reply
  16. 16

    michal

    I have been eating their meals since my diagnosis 6 years ago. Recently I have been having bad outbreaks without a change in diet and right now all the signs are pointing to Amy’s. I suspect that they have changed something with their manufacturing in the last six months. I had my last Amy’s meal yesterday.

    Reply
  17. 17

    Michael

    My wife is G-Free, and is fairly sensitive, but not really to the point where she requires a complete absence of possible cross-contamination. I am not g-free, for instance, and often prepare non-g-free foods in our kitchen. In the interest of her being able to eat more foods, go to more restaurants, and otherwise enjoy the eating life as much as possible, I have often wondered why there wasn’t different distinctions, such as Gluten-Free and 100% Gluten Free, or something to that effect. Since Gluten Intolerance is on a spectrum, many folks would do quite well with products and restaurants serving g-free foods prepared with the possible risk of cross-contamination. The obvious benefit of this would be a greater presence of such foods. I realize this does nothing for the person with Celiac, who requires the strictest codes…but actually, maybe it does. It would, at least, make the distinction clear so that the risk of accidentally eating something that was not truly g-free would be eliminated, or greatly reduced. It would seem to me that Amy’s is doing quite well to be upfront about the degree to which they are g-free, so that we can decide for ourselves.

    Reply
  18. 18

    Rowena Mitchell

    I’m sorry Michael but I really disagree with you here. Amy’s are marketing themselves as a gluten-free brand, their products appear in gluten free sections in supermarkets and all their products have ‘gluten-free’ stamped on the front. To then discover that there may in fact be a ‘little bit of gluten in there’ means that they may as well not bother as far as I’m concerned. If they can’t guarantee that it’s gluten-free then they shouldn’t market it as such.

    Reply
    1. 18.1

      Michael

      Rowena,
      First let me say that no one ever needs to be sorry for disagreeing with me. Now that that is out of the way, you really don’t disagree with me as much as you think. I think the labeling laws ought to be dramatically amended. They are currently unclear, or rather not clear enough, and someone who is in severe and grave danger of a gluten response should never be mislead into thinking something is completely gluten free. I merely was pondering the possibility that a labeling distinction be made between the different “grades” of the absence of gluten ingredients. This way, someone who must avoid products with even the hint of gluten will easily be able to navigate the labels, and select the products safe for his/her consumption. I don’t know what those labels ought to be. I believe Europe, as someone said above, has a “No Gluten Containing Ingredients” or NGCI label to distinguish it from “Gluten Free.” Perhaps that would suffice.

      This is selfish, I know. I am thinking only of people like my spouse, who would benefit greatly from such a distinction, because it would make it easier for her to eat at restaurants, and because of the increased likelihood that a greater selection of products would become available for her to consume. Clearly these products would be unhealthful, even dangerous, for the person with Celiac’s Disease, or very high on the sensitivity spectrum, but if the labeling is clear, then that danger is mitigated considerably.

      As for Amy’s, I have little stake in whether they are a good company or a bad one. Gluten Dude wants to give them some props for trying, so I’m deferring to his wisdom. Given their track record, I believe they, as a company, would happily comply with new labeling laws, if they were enacted. But if you believe they are being intentionally misleading, then by all means rail against them, boycott them, go get ’em. You will find no opposition from me.

      Cheers.
      -Michael

      Reply
  19. 19

    Brandy

    If you cannot eat gluten do NOT eat Amy’s. It is contaminated with gluten. My daughter got sick almost immediately. It’s too bad they advertise as such. Very misleading.

    Reply
  20. 20

    John

    Looks like Amy’s has more than CC issues with their products at the moment (do they still process their GF goods in the same facility as the rest of their product line, or have they changed things with last year’s update of FDA GF regs?).

    I see they’ve voluntarily recalled over 73,000 cases of food (some of which is GF) over listeria contamination concerns. Apparently one of their suppliers shipped them a suspicious batch of spinach, and this has compromised a large volume of product made with it.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/amys-kitchen-recalls-possibly-tainted-food-contamination-fears/story?id=29851595

    This recall has spilled over into Canada, too. “This recall was triggered by a recall in another country,” according to this Canadian Food Inspection Agency report:

    http://www.inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/newsroom/food-recall-warnings/complete-listing/2015-03-23/eng/1427154314841/1427154318788

    Yikes! I wonder how many other companies besides Amy’s sell food products made with spinach from this same supplier?

    Reply
  21. 21

    Robyn Wright

    I appreciate this conversation and awareness! I am an organic GF bakery and soon-to-open organic and GF cafe with a dedicated GF kitchen. So many stores and coffee shops I sell to offer their house-made “GF” products that are obviously cross-contaminated in their gluten-filled kitchens. Just finished developing what seems to be the only organic and gluten-free pizza available anywhere.

    Reply
  22. 22

    Rachel

    I used to eat the Amy’s GF burritos and it was really the only prepackaged food I can eat without having an asthma attack from sulfites, etc. Recently they started tasting like mold. I thought maybe it was just one bad burrito or batch so I took a break from them and made the mistake of trying another one. Still tastes like mold. I will never be able to eat them again (gross!).

    Reply
  23. 23

    CR

    Suspecting that the Amy’s tofu scrambles which are “gluten free” are the reason I have been screwed up lately. It was a go to food for traveling. I don’t eat out and it is the only pre packed meal I ever eat. Not any more. So ticked off right now. The FDA really needs to get off it’s ass (their asses?) and require accurate labeling in the interest of public health!

    Reply
  24. 24

    zz

    I found this blog by goggling, “Is Amy’s gluten free?” because I just ate one of their frozen dinners and started feeling horrible. I’m still so new to this (4 weeks out from diagnosis), but it’s so frustrating when you think you can trust a company and find you can’t. (My SIL has celiac and told me that Amy’s was safe.)

    Anyway, this is a great website and have book marked it for future reference. Thanks, GlutenDude!

    Reply
  25. 25

    JJ

    NO AMY”S IS NOT GLUTEN FREE. I have been gluten free for 4 years and today i am totally suffering in pain b/c I did not read there label. I consumed a supposively gluten free vegetable pot pie and I am experiencing the worse upper epigastric pain I have ever had. It is almost like I just ate a piece of wheat bread. I DID NOT ready the label did not even think about it ….what a mistake I alway read labels. So as a 100% gluten free consumer who has not had a drop of gluten in four years I am suffering bad today. It is horrible almost to the point of going to the emergency room.
    This post is 100% honest. I am having a horrible reaction to this product because of my mistake of not reading the label and for AMY’s putting gluten free on her packet. Shame on them. THEY ARE NOT GLUEN FREE. I wish people would understand that gluten free is not a fad but is an allergy. I am a nurse and in my job I triage a lot of patients over the past two years I can honestly say that people with any autoimmune diseases need to be gluten free. These patient have many of the same diagnosis related to gluten intolerance and if they went gluten free their health would be improve greatly. These diagnosis Including anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, neuropathy, depression, affect disorders etc and of course the celiac diseases etc. I wish the medical community would wake up and realize that instead of given a pill…Treat the cause which is gluten.

    Reply
    1. 25.1
  26. 26

    Jess

    I thought this was just me. I brought the store manager to the freezer aisle the other day and pointed out that Amy’s is not gluten free… and showed him the labeling that states it is made in a facility where there is a chance for cross contamination. I’m hoping it’s brought up with corporate. He had no idea that this was an issue. I also posted to Amy’s FB page and got the same answer as above from 5 years ago.

    Reply
  27. 27

    Celiacer

    Thanks for this post! Amy’s makes me sick all the time! What really annoys me is every store carries them as their signature “gluten free” offerings and yet they are NOT! And then stores won’t carry other gluten free brands because they think they have it covered. I wish someone would start a class action lawsuit against this company, I’d be on board. They are cornering the market on small store and they are making people sick!

    Reply
  28. 28

    S

    Just found this post nearly 7 years after it was written after getting sick from an Amy’s candy bar. I let my guard down for five minutes while I was waiting in line at the grocery store, and thought for a moment that I could trust it because it had “gluten free” proudly scrawled on the front of the package. Never making that mistake again. So disappointing. I sent in a complaint letter, but I doubt anything will change unless someone sues them or the FDA changes their labeling rules or something like that.

    Reply
    1. 28.1

      Gluten Dude

      Trust me…nothing will change.

      Reply
  29. 29

    Gluten free girl

    What bothers me most about Amy’s is how much they harm the gluten free community and continue to put allergy awareness into the dark ages. Some stores (like CVS, etc) buy Amy’s exclusively as their gluten free option. But it’s not actually gluten free so we have nothing to eat. And because the stores don’t sell them, since many people with celiac can’t eat them, the stores don’t think there is a need so they don’t offer more options. Amy’s as a company should be ashamed of themselves because they are hurting people. The statement is not just a statement, these foods contain gluten, I get sick from them. Since Amy’s apparently has no conscience maybe they need a class action lawsuit to change their ways and use gluten free facilities for all their foods so they can stop lying by saying their foods are gluten free.

    Reply
  30. 30

    Jean

    Thank you for this article. I have suffered from apparent CD for decades now — all the systemic symptoms, including joint pain, abdominal and intestinal issues, anxiety, then lack of motivation and depression (yes, those are real symptoms!), horrible fatigue, etc., etc., and within the last 12+ years, dermatitis herpetiformis — the skin blisters from hell. I do not have an actual diagnosis bc a dermatologist didn’t do a proper biopsy years ago, and most of my blisters are on my scalp, face, upper back, and so on — difficult to biopsy or so intensely painful and itchy (like a bee sting that hurts for days), that I’ve usually already scratched or squeezed them to relieve the pressure (and then no biopsy is possible).
    Anyway, I have cut out so many possible foods that I used to eat, including the tricky ones like sauces, seasoning mixes, and other sources of “hidden gluten”, that I am down to nearly all homemade food to be vigilant and safe. But I kept having regular glutenings and blisters to a low degree along with worse breakouts later. My one weakness at the grocery store that I had trusted and kept? You got it — Amy’s “gluten-free” dinners, burritos, and pizzas. I would have probably at least 3 or 4 Amy’s items each week…sometimes 6 or 7 if we were busy.

    What makes me angry is that, not only is the FDA lax in protecting us, but the medical community is, as well! Even people like us w CD (w or w/o DH) get confused as to what is or is not attacking our insides! So, I’m a little forgiving of the manufacturers and grocers.

    Two things about Amy’s that has not been mentioned here:
    They wrote to you that they fix certain foods in a “completely gluten-free room”. I’m imagining (now) a room that is just a big corner of the facility…not even a room, or at least not even a room with a narrow doorway and a door. A “room”. Wow. Big deal, Amy’s.
    The other thing is the fact that they produce just as many gluten offerings (and growing) than they do “gluten-free”; their labeling of “gluten-free” is not large, clear, or consistent from one offering to another; and grocers throw all the frozen Amy products together in the freezer, commingling the gluten and “non”, and EVEN, as I pointed out TWICE to one grocery store (who did NOTHING about it either time!) labeling the shelf price stickers as “GF” on ALL the Amy’s products, even though some clearly state they contain wheat (and are merely organic). So, for that, I fault Amy’s as much as the grocers.

    Lastly, I’m angry w myself for letting my guard down bc their products did taste good, and I KNEW that only truly “Certified Gluten-Free foods (by GIG) and, more importantly, completely GRAIN-FREE foods to cook and bake with at home were what I needed to heal. So, in effect, I’ve been causing more of my own permanent gut damage by trusting in something my conscience (my gut, literally) was telling me to avoid.
    I am giving away all my Amy’s frozen foods to a sister who can eat anything, wheat or not.
    I only wish I hadn’t enriched Amy’s all these years. :,(
    A person in a CD w DH Facebook group I’m in recently brought up feeling like she’d been heavily glutened by Amy’s — several group members replied, saying to stay away from Amy’s products. Wish I’d seen those replies years ago. They led me to search online, which is where I found this article.
    Please tell Amy’s owners, for the rest of us, that they should immediately quit their attempts at g-f and stick with organic labeling only. Boo on Amy’s, the FDA, the medical community, restaurants who pretend to know what g-f means and often make light of our severe illness …and me, for hoping.

    Reply

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