The Test Results are In. Bart's Gluten-Free Cookies? NOT Gluten-Free.

barts cookies not gluten free

Dear Bart,

Hi Bart. It’s me…Gluten Dude. I hope you had a nice weekend.

In case you forgot who I am, allow me to refresh your memory.

On August 12, 2013, I wrote a blog post about how I didn’t think you were careful enough in your practices to be able to call your cookies gluten-free since you use shared equipment. I mean, here is a screenshot of a video you put together showing your mixer making your regular cookies.

barts gluten cookies

You use that exact same mixer to make your gluten-free cookies. I shudder at the thought.

Anyway, you wrote me a nice email after my blog post trying to persuade me your gluten-free cookies really are safe for celiacs. I didn’t bite (no pun intended) but I did write another blog post three days later, gently explaining that while I root for the little guys such as yourself, I cannot support your gluten-free cookies. Although you insisted they test to 5.6ppm via private testing, I was not convinced.

And that was that. Until May 21, 2014, when someone told me you created GlutenDude.org for the simple reason to bash me. So 9 months later, out of the blue, you come out from behind the curtain and turned things ugly.

So I responded with this and then all hell broke loose.

You got rightfully slammed on social media for not only breaking the law by using my trademarked name, logo, etc. (lawsuit pending), but also for lying your ass off.

And frankly Bart, as a fellow small business owner, your response on Facebook was just odd. Instead of engaging with your audience, those who may be willing to listen to your side of the story, you simply copy and pasted canned responses that made no sense.

And naturally, you continued to lie not only about me, but about your cookies.

And that’s when the good folks over at Gluten Free Watchdog got involved. Because your actions caused such a sh*t storm, they took the liberty of running your cookies through their scientifically backed testing process.

The results came in late last week. You may want to shut your eyes for this one Bart.

YOUR COOKIES ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO GLUTEN-FREE!

You kept claiming them to test at 5.6ppm? Well, if you multiply that number by 100, you still wouldn’t approach what your cookies tested at. Yes, the results were that bad.

When I was notified of the results Bart, I had a wide range of emotions.

I was angry. Angry that you hurt the celiac community. Angry that you put profits over people’s health. Angry that you attacked me instead of listening to me, when I was simply trying to help you when we first communicated.

I was horrified. Horrified that the test results came in so high. Horrified at the number of celiacs whose intestines have been damaged due to your selfishness and ignorance. Horrified that you are still selling them on your website.

I was disgusted. Disgusted at the whole ordeal. Disgusted at your attitude toward the celiac community. Disgusted that you chose to simply jump on the gluten-free bandwagon instead of trying to do it right.

I was sad. Sad that a company would be so reckless. Sad that your business will take a hit because of this. Sad because it all could have been avoided.

I was content. Content that there is an end in sight for all of this craziness. Content that the FDA can now get involved and take things from here. And yes, even a bit content that your plan to attack me instead of listening to me backfired so spectacularly.

But I don’t take pleasure in this stuff Bart. I’d rather not have to call companies out and deal with all the crap that comes along with it. You think I really WANT to take legal action against you? It creates drama and angst in my life when I have enough of that already thank you.

So here is what I say to you Bart…

Enough with this. I’d like to move on. And I’d like to see you have continued success with your business. Just not on the backs of the celiac community.

There are a few things I’d like you to do so we can move forward:

1. Stop producing your gluten-free cookies immediately.

2. Notify every retail store that sells your gluten-free cookies that the cookies are not gluten-free and need to be taken off the shelves at once.

3. Remove the gluten-free cookies from your website. Today.

4. Write an apology to the celiac community. We’re a real understanding bunch…I promise. If you write it, I’d be happy to post it.

5. Take down GlutenDude.org.

6. Relinquish the domains you grabbed using my trademarked name.

That’s it Bart. Let’s chalk this up to a learning experience. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. We all make boneheaded moves. Let’s learn from it and move on.

I wish you well.

GD

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60 thoughts on “The Test Results are In. Bart's Gluten-Free Cookies? NOT Gluten-Free.”

  1. Dude

    You’re a good man GDude, as I’ve said before. Yours is a very well reasoned response and solution, which, if Bart has any brains left in his head, Bart should happily comply with immediately.

    Hope it works out for you and the Celiac Community.

  2. I think you are handling this so well and have done nothing but be helpfull to Bart and the whole coeliac community. Hopefully he will see sense now and try and save what is left of his companies reputation. I haven’t ever bought these cookies but it has made me think twice about buying in items online. In Ireland if something contains an allergen against what is printed on the label the food safety authority issues a recall online and to the shops they are sold in. I wonder is there not a state or county organisation that this could be lodged with as hes not only harming local people here he ships everywhere and is still doing so. I have been very sick for a week and wracking my brain to figure out what I could have had as I am very careful normally and then I think how many of Barts customers have gone through this maybe blaming family or friends or a restaurant for the issue when all along it was the cookie you had for a small snack! Im with you in the angry department this wouldn’t be happening if he were throwing nuts into the mixers and declaring them nut free.

  3. I so admire you GD! Makes me wonder how many of us have suffered from eating these cookies not knowing what made us sick. This is another classic example of Celiac disease not taken seriously or they would not be so careless in the prepartion of their products. Such peopole that put the almighty dollar over the health of us, is why many continue to be sick and the damage to out intestines keep us from healing. I’m thankful to have someone like you to be our voice and do battle for us.
    My best wishes to you and your beautiful family. Gentle hugs for Mrs. Dude.

  4. Wow! Just….wow! I can let plain ignorance slide. But this is a spectacular example of willful ignorance. And then just flat out spite and desperation. Hopefully enough people know about this now do they will avoid his cookies until he either gets his act together (doubtful) or goes under. Good luck Dude!

  5. You are a model of restraint. I wish you didn’t have to deal with this crap with all that’s going on.
    Thank you, again, for standing up for us. It means a lot.

  6. Dude, keep taking the high road thank you so much for fighting for all of us. Even though I don’t have celiac, I would never try his cookies either. The days and possibly weeks that would follow would not be worth it.

    Good luck Bart…..

  7. Shows class dude. With everything else going on you’re offering a public classy way for him to do the right thing…sadly having met bart & puked for days from his pseudo gluten free cookies, I’m thinking he will try to bury said hatchet in your back.
    Oh wait he already tried that 😮 and failed…as you were 😉

  8. This is how you deal with someone who cannot eat your product (this was on Jennifer Esposito’s FB page yesterday):
    *****Jennifer’s Way
    10 hours ago ·
    Did u and your little boy come in my bakery this sun? A mom and a very excited boy came in bakery in search of my gluten free allergy friendly treats but realized that although we are peanut free we are not nut free- (OUR FACILITY WILL b THOUGH). I was so sad not being able to offer this excited boy anything. He even got nervous at the thought of nuts in the environment. NO ONE should have to be in fear of food, especially children. It really has been on my mind that I couldn’t serve him something. The Mom was kind and said she was excited for the facility to get her safe cookies for her boy. If you are that mom pls take a pic of you and your boy and send to me and the first round of cookies are on me. It just broke my heart that he left empty handed.*****
    That was copied from her post yesterday. THIS is how GD and JE deal with people. This is how everyone should deal with people – with care and compassion. I will be interested to see if ol’ Bart has learned anything.
    Good on ya, Dude! (xoxo’s to good Mrs. Dude)

  9. Colette Ledoux

    Hi Gluten Dude,

    This guy should consider himself lucky. As the old adage goes, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, and he should realize just how fortunate he is that you’ve been so easy on him.

    I hope he heeds your sage advice.

  10. Well done GlutenDude!!! It’s nice to see that some people still have class these days. Especially considering all you’re already going through. Praying your you and your family and also for an amicable resolution. God Bless!

  11. Good job with this post GD! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your response to Bart.

    There is absolutely nothing OK with this at all. This guy should be ashamed of himself along with all of the other bone heads who produce pseudo “Gluten-Free” food…

  12. Just sorry you have to deal with this kind of garbage. The community is lucky to have you as its advocate. I just hope the stress of it doesn’t do you too much damage.

  13. Somethings you can’t forgive… this evil company went out of their way to parody you! You may have it in your heart to forgive a greedy menaces to society, but I’m not sure if I do just watching all of this from the sidelines has made me sick…. I’ve met people like Bart before who are very greedy and malicious and I can see how this will ever end nicely. Evil comes from within and cannot be hidden. Today is a very sad day in the world for Celiac community, gluten intolerant, allergens, and manufacturers, I just cannot trust them, you all should stop trusting so much, stop! These types of business people will do anything to save themselves…. including lying until the day they die.

    Sending me thoughts to victims who got sick from Barts cookies. Learn from this; drink, eat, cook, bake, create your own damn food !

  14. Comrade Svilova

    I want to send this article to all the regular bakeries I go into that label some items “gluten-free” even though they’re made on shared equipment. Although I’m glad the FDA standards are in place to allow the celiac and NCGI community to push back against misleading and inaccurate labeling like Bart’s, it still puts so much burden on us to police and litigate the issue, while some businesses try to make a quick buck without considering the consequences to their customers.

  15. I just pulled this quote from Bart’s “glutendude.org” website. It is located at the bottom of the page. As a Celiac I am outraged at this statement because it is false. Read below and see for yourself.

    “* “As one of the criteria for using the claim “gluten-free,” FDA is setting a gluten limit of less than 20 ppm (parts
    per million) in foods that carry this label… Also, most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small
    amounts of gluten. This level is consistent with those set by other countries and international bodies that set food
    safety standards.” (http://www.fda.gov)”

    Hmmmmm…..”most people with celiac disease CAN tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten.” I’m not in agreement with this knowing how I react to even a single crumb of gluten. Cross-contamination is always a very real threat.

    Thank you GD for sharing the truth and shedding light on those who’d profit at our expense. I for one appreciate it. After fighting so many years to find out what was making us sick, getting sick again because of people’s greed and laziness is unacceptable.

    1. Unfortunately, that is more or less supported by information in the FDA’s FAQ page on “Questions and Answers: Gluten-Free Food Labeling Final Rule”, which (Question 23) says, among other things:
      “In addition, some celiac disease researchers and some epidemiological evidence suggest that most individuals with celiac disease can tolerate variable trace amounts and concentrations of gluten in foods (including levels that are less than 20 ppm gluten) without causing adverse health effects.”

      I think saying that ”most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten” is a very free paraphrase of the FDA statement in their FAQ, if that is what it’s based on.

      I’d guess the samples tested might have been made or bagged on the same equipment as the regular cookies, and the equipment hadn’t been cleaned well. Or maybe some of the regular cookies just got mixed in with the GF ones. Or maybe they were bagging some regular cookies and used the wrong bags. Or maybe they ran out of the regular bags and just used some of the GF-labeled bags.

      BTW, I hope Gluten Free Watchdog keeps an eye on the similar domain names. I noticed that the .net version was available, and it could get snapped up by youknowho.

    2. What people like Bart don’t take into account are the many, many men, women and children who have celiac related disorders and can’t tolerate ANY gluten. I developed dermatitis herpetiformis and other symptoms after chemotherapy. (I suspect it was always there, lurking, but treatment can ramp up your immune system). For a long time, I relied on “gluten-free” product labeling and long explanations in restaurants, but after one too many incidents of being glutened, I’ve grown pretty cynical. Bart’s takes the cake, though (sorry for the pun). What about vulnerable kids with wheat allergies whose moms see a chance to buy their child the same brand of cookies as the child’s playmates? Why should they be the victim of business owners who see nothing more than an opportunity to get more customers?

  16. GD-

    Yet another example of how much you freaking rock. My reaction to Bart and his f-ckdupness was plain how dare you come into our community trash our leaderdude and poison the masses.

    What comes around goes around Bart.

    You will pay.

    xo-
    Jersey Girl
    ———————————————————————————–
    “What goes around, goes around,
    Comes all the way back around”
    Justin Timberlake

  17. Daniel Goldstein

    If Bart does not respond favorably, if he continues to label his cookies gluten free and claim 5.5ppm, come August 5th when the FDA will begin taking regulatory action against companies we all as a community need to promptly alert the FDA; unless the FDA hears enough complaints they won’t do anything. Here is how:

    Reporting Adverse Effects and Misuse of Labeling

    Health Effects: Anyone who becomes ill or experiences adverse health effects that they believe are associated with having eaten a particular food, including individuals with food allergies and those with celiac disease, should first seek appropriate medical care.

    Afterward, FDA encourages individuals to report the incident to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System by calling 240-402-2405.

    Labeling Issues:Consumers and manufacturers can report any complaint they may have, such as potential misuse of gluten-free claims on food labels, to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the state where the food was purchased.

    A list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators is posted at FDA’s website:http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/

  18. When I read the Gluten Free Watchdog report myself, my first thought was: “holy crappers.!!..I did not know a reading could go that high.”.

    Kudos to Tricia Thompson and the people at GFW for releasing a statement to the public in an effort to get the word out as soon as
    possible. They are subscriber-supported only and they run on a limited budget. That testing is very expensive, so if people are interested in reading the full report–or reports on any number of products– they can sign up for about $5./mo.

    I am not affiliated with them in any way. I just think they do good work.

    I posted the GFW statement on celiac.com where I hope enough people will see it before eating any of these cookies.

    Jules’ chocolate chip cookies are waaaay better anyway. Soon, she will be up and running with her products again…. Hurry, Jules, hurry! 🙂

    Good job, GD. I hope he does the right thing now.

    1. Hi went and signed up immediately after reading your email – they have previous reports you can read and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many really are under 5ppms – Great find!
      Thank you! 🙂

          1. I think everyone (if they can afford it, of course) would do well to subscribe and support the efforts of Tricia Thompson,RD et al.
            on Gluten Free Watchdog
            They have our backs and I have often linked to her articles as valid sources of solid truthful information for us all.
            I admire her work. She rocks.

  19. *clap clap clap*

    Well done. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been made sick by negligence and misunderstandings of companies. I got extremely sick from a restaurant that claimed they were GIG trained, yet my husband witnessed a male worker flirting with a female worker by grabbing a handful of flour and throwing it at her (he notified the owners).

    We put our trust in companies to make us not get sick, and it is sad that a grown man with his own cookie company is reacting like a child. It is sad that you politely tried to educate him and all he does is slander you. I hope your lawsuit destroys him.

    1. That case precedent should rightfully put fear into “false gluten free” scofflaw advertisers and manufacturers.

      Justice was served and good health was protected! Great job, Gloria!

  20. GlutenFree Watch Dog rocks! The more subscribers they have, the more products that can be tested. I’m very happy to be a member; I benefit and it is a way to support whole community. So, the more the merrier!

  21. Bart may actually be gluten intolerant and suffering from severe brain fog due to eating his own product. This could explain the strange behavior. Wouldn’t that be ironic!

  22. This is a disgrace all around.

    If Bart’s continues to label their cookies as “gluten-free”, our community needs to rise up and start filing complaints with the FDA. If we don’t report him, who will?

    According to the FDA website:

    Reporting Adverse Effects and Misuse of Labeling
    Health Effects: Anyone who becomes ill or experiences adverse health effects that they believe are associated with having eaten a particular food, including individuals with food allergies and those with celiac disease, should first seek appropriate medical care.

    Afterward, FDA encourages individuals to report the incident to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System by calling 240-402-2405.

    Labeling Issues:Consumers and manufacturers can report any complaint they may have, such as potential misuse of gluten-free claims on food labels, to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the state where the food was purchased.

    A list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators is posted at FDA’s website: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074201.htm

    Source: http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm367654.Htm

  23. Thank you GD. As others have said, you have been a model of how to take the high road here – I honestly don’t know that I could have such a level-headed response in your place. It’s amazing what that company has been doing, and I hate to think of all the irreparable damage that they have done through their exploitation. I hope that this serves as an model for other people and companies who try to get a leg up at the expense of other people’s health. You are a good one GD.

  24. My daughter and I read through all the Bart posts the other day and we had the range of emotions you had. We agree this could have been a learning moment for him and his company. Great post and great follow-up on this. Will share!

    1. Daniel Goldstein

      Even if the results have been reported by GF Watchdog to the FDA, the FDA is more likely to take action if they get more complaints (i had heard they’d want 40 complaints or more before they’ll investigate, i don’t know if that is accurate, but the more the better). August 5th is when the FDA will begin taking regulatory action against companies and we all as a community need to promptly alert the FDA about this product and any others that are wrongly claiming GF status (meaning they are over 20ppm).

      Here is how:

      Reporting Adverse Effects and Misuse of Labeling

      Health Effects: Anyone who becomes ill or experiences adverse health effects that they believe are associated with having eaten a particular food, including individuals with food allergies and those with celiac disease, should first seek appropriate medical care.

      Afterward, FDA encourages individuals to report the incident to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System by calling 240-402-2405.

      Labeling Issues:Consumers and manufacturers can report any complaint they may have, such as potential misuse of gluten-free claims on food labels, to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the state where the food was purchased.

      A list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators is posted at FDA’s website:http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/

        1. Wouldn’t this be the time when a responsible company releases a statement to the press and orders a voluntary recall?

            1. I just posted on his facebook suggesting it. I imagine I will get the same vitriol he’s tossed at the others (and there are a LOT) who’ve posted there defending the Dude.

  25. This was posted a few hours ago on Facebook by the Glutenfree Watchdog:

    “Bart & Judy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: Thanks to all the wonderful subscribers who shared the information released by Gluten Free Watchdog responsibly. The FDA has been provided with extensive information on this product. Gluten Free Watchdog will be purchasing this product again shortly after August 5 for retesting. We will be doing the same for other products that have tested at or above 20 ppm gluten. More information will be sent out soon in an email. Thanks!”

  26. Dr. Jacquelyn P. Horne

    Dude! You rock! Thanks for taking these guys to task. Just wonder how many more like Bart are flying under the radar?

  27. Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “sick form” to fill out?

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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