Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Gets Recalled for Having Too Much Gluten

bobs red mill recall

Hi Bob. It’s me…Gluten Dude. I hope you had a nice summer. How’s the family? Business good?

Ok…enough small talk.

I am writing to you because I am concerned. As I’m sure you are more than aware by now, one of your products, the “Gluten-Free” Sweet White Sorghum Flour, got officially recalled recently in Canada for having too much gluten. 32ppm to be exact.

How did I know this?

Did I read it on your blog? No.

Did I see it on your Facebook page? No.

Did you tweet about it? No.

You’ve actually been incredibly silent since the word came out.

I found out about it because the celiac community is pretty upset. And when the community gets upset, I guess I have gotten the reputation for being the go-to guy to get the word out.

Not sure where that reputation came from by the way 😉 (see Kardashian, Kim).

A number of my fellow celiacs have reached out to you in regards to this recall and this is the response they have all received:

Dear [Name],

Thank you for getting in touch with us about the voluntary withdrawal of a lot of our sorghum flour. Here are the details, on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported that a random test of Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Sorghum Flour (623 g / Lot 150772 / Sell By: 11/07/2014 / UPC: 0 33978 30642 5) was found to contain 32 parts per million of undeclared gluten. The product was tested for gluten to the company’s 20 parts per million standard for all Gluten Free products in its in-house laboratory before, during and after production. At each point in the process the product was found to be well below the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s standard, which is also a maximum of 20 parts per million.

When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported its findings, Bob’s Red Mill was very surprised and immediately had samples from the same lot tested both internally and by an accredited 3rd party laboratory. Both tests showed the product to be below 20 parts per million. Despite those confirmations of the gluten free status of the lot of Sweet White Sorghum Flour in question, Bob’s Red Mill has opted to voluntarily withdraw all retail packages of the product from Canadian sources to preserve peace of mind of our loyal, gluten free customers.

This withdrawal only applies to one lot of sorghum flour that was shipped to Canada. It is not an across-the-board withdrawal of our sorghum flour. This particular lot was confined to Canada.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thank you,

Cassidy Stockton
Social Media Manager

I’m not quite sure why your social media manager is handling such a delicate situation but who am I to say.

And saying that you “voluntarily” withdrew all packages is honestly nothing to celebrate.

Bob…you seem like a real good guy who has built a solid business. Total kudos to you. As I’ve said a hundred times in this blog, I root for the small guy.

All I can say is I hope you are right. I hope the Canadian Food Inspection Agency totally messed up and they come out and publicly acknowledge it.

Because if they don’t, you have quite a problem on your hand, don’t you?

How many people swear by your products to stay healthy? How many gluten-free bakeries use your flour in their recipes? How many stores stock your products in their gluten-free section?

If ONE of your products turns out to contain too much gluten, how can we be sure that MANY don’t?

You need to restore the celiac community’s faith in you. So here’s my plea to you Bob.

You currently test your gluten-free products to 20ppm. I get it…that’s all that you need to do by law (well…as of next year.) How about you test to 3ppm, which is the lowest available measure right now? How about you change your production methods so there is no chance in hell that your products can come anywhere near the 20ppm?

I know…it’s easy for me to sit here and say “spend more money Bob”. But I’ve read a lot about you. You have strong values. You stand for something. If you need to raise the price of your flour a touch or cut into your profits a tad, it sucks but is it the “right” thing to do?

As we’ve discussed before here, there are some celiacs who have stopped buying your products because they feel they have gotten sick from them. So you may be on a bit of shaky ground already and this could really be a tipping point for you.

But you have an opportunity to make a change for the better. The celiac community is a pretty awesome and loyal bunch. If you take care of us, I promise…we’ll take care of you.

And one last piece of advice: Please don’t hide behind lawyers. Get out there and tackle this issue head on. Otherwise, it just looks like you’re hiding something.

I hope things work out for you.


Gluten Dude

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127 thoughts on “Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Gets Recalled for Having Too Much Gluten”

      1. HI Gluten Dude

        As of September 2012 in Canada as per CFIA, Gluten must be no detection under 5ppm .So I would be concerned with any product coming from the US if they are all only testing for under 20ppm . CFIA should be testing all US products claiming Gluten Free under Canadian regulations as us Canadian manufacturers have gone to great expense and full due diligence to comply.
        Thank You
        Robin Duncan

        1. Hopefully this is going in the right place

          Do you have a link for that? I hadn’t heard that and can’t find it. Might be because I’m in the US and sometimes its hard to get links to other countries on a simple search. Thanks.

  1. hi. I am one of the people who would buy Bob’ Red Mills products simply because they worked in my GF /vegan recipes. Not so long ago I had this opportunity to visit BRM in Milwaukie, OR. I got the opportunity to go on a tour of the Bob’s Red Mill manufacturing facility (even though I came in the afternoon at their tours are only in the morning). People who work their are very nice and friendly. I didn’t meet Bob himself because his schedule was too busy that day and I had no appointment. (I will write about my visit on my blog soon). Anyway.. The lady who gave me a tour Christie Coykendall was very professional and was bale to answer my questions. I have seen that they handle GF production in separate room that products with gluten. Everything looked perfect there. Christine claimed she dosn’t eat gluten because of allergies and that she feels so much better using Bob’s Red Mill products (I know. Everybody has to sale their products). But I really felt they are trying very hard to keep gluten free products -gluten free. If the information from Canada are true -than I will be very upset. I hope it is not true though. I really liked their BRM products. There are no many with good prize and quality. I visited BRM before the recall got into media. I hope Canada was wrong. :/

  2. Damn it! I just posted on your fb page yesterday, desperate to figure out why my son’s lab test came back over twice the recommended range. We use this exact flour a lot, as well as other Bob’s flours. I’m getting rid of all Bob’s products from my house. I’m interested to see if my son’s next test comes back with better results. I am so beyond frustrated – the new labeling law won’t even matter if we still can’t trust the “certified gluten free” companies.

  3. It’s all a big scary joke. When I was researching companies for stocking my bakery, Jennifers Way Bakery, I spoke to a rep from Bobs Red Mill. I had been using them at home but wanted organic flour as well as a dedicated gluten free facility, which they are neither. I asked in detail how they actually keep us safe. Their reply was something to the extent of they use an intense air blower to extract any gluten that may have lingered with another wheat flour that they did beforehand. They seemed very dedicated but that just wasn’t enough for me so I decided to go with another company.

    I’m sorry, maybe I’m too black and white when it comes to this matter and my health and others as well. I believe that this gluten free nonsense has all become a big money making fad that everyone is jumping on at the sake of us getting sicker and sicker. To me, for them to argue or lie or whatever, sits really badly with me and once I don’t trust u anymore forget it. Again this is our HEALTH you are screwing with. I don’t know about any of you but for me a fragment of gluten and I feel as though I’ve been hit by a truck, my legs do NoT work, I’m having panic attacks nonstop and my head is in agony. FOR WEEKS! And that’s not saying the true damage that had been done internally.

    Also while I’m on a role here I do NOT accept and think its ok for restaurants to advertise gluten free but NOT for celiacs. That’s ridiculous in my opinion. Who exactly is it for then? You know who? Yourselves, to make money off a fad. NOT OK. If you are going to benefit monetarily from gluten free then you should respect that fact and honor it as a means of life or death for some. I get it, we would rather they be honest. ABSOLUTELY but then the gluten free they have should be safe for EVERyONE. Haven’t we been discriminated against, put to the side and swept under the rug enough?

    Just some thoughts…

    1. I just read your comment regarding the Bob’s Red Mill recall. You shared how your legs don’t work and you have panic attacks when digesting gluten. I’ve had the same issues and just learning gluten is the culprit. Frustrating how when I tell doctors they say they’ve never heard of such things. Even the dietician who is supposed to be very educated regarding Celiac and non Celiac G Intolerance said she never heard of it. Not that it’s good that anyone suffers this way I know I’m not imaging it and reading how others are experiencing same helps. Navigating this has been a challenge and I hope to learn much from others.

    2. The whole gluten free but not safe for celiacs issue sends me strraight into a fit of rage. I am not in your region or I would stop by your bakery but since diagnosis I still have not been able to bring myself to eat out. When I see the gluten free with an astrisk I see red.

    3. Jennifer
      I appreciated your observations about BRM. Thanks. I contacted BRM about the dedicated gluten free facility issue and here is a part of the reply that I received.
      “Yes, our gluten free products are produced in a dedicated gluten free facility. These products have our gluten free symbol on the package: a head of wheat with a red circle around it crossing it out. ”
      So I am hopeful that BRM has changed to a dedicated gluten free facility. Do you have any idea how to verify that BRM has moved to a dedicated gluten free facility?

    4. I am with you Jennifer.. It infuriates me to no end to see products labeled gluten free on the front in big letters bold letters.. then on the back in tiny letters says..”May contain wheat” or “processed in facility that also processes wheat”.. what the heck is that and who are they try to sell to anyway ??.. May contain wheat is NOT gluten free. There two I can name off the top of my head is Jay Robb protein powders and Heartland Brand “GF” Pasta.. I don’t want to lynch BRM but there are too many comments here of people saying they have gotten sick from their products.. Bob may have a heart of Gold..but something is not right here.. How is it even possible for them to test their products at every step of production and supposedly getting results of 5ppm and less.. To have the Canadian Govt.test and it come back at 32ppm, if their products are truly manufactured in a dedicated GF facility ?? .It doesn’t add up!

  4. Okay, deep breath, I know that we are responsible for what we eat BUT WHO CAN WE TRUST??? I recently ran into this very situation with Oskri brand Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars. On the package is clearly states all of the ingredients, with allergens as coconut and soy. It’s gluten free and “Halal”. BUT an additional sticker was on it stating “Contains dairy”. I was told that this product had been pulled from the shelves because of it containing dairy…..I was told “the Government” was responsible for the extra label – that would be the Canadian gov’t. Is there enough dairy present to make those of us with a dairy allergy sick? Is there enough gluten in Bob’s product to make a celiac sick? Is it REALLY so difficult to produce products that are what they say they are????
    Talk about paranoia… bananas really just contain banana?
    Another day in the life, eh…….

  5. This is scary. I’m just getting over being glutened, and here I am sitting with my husband watching TV and eating homemade “pop tarts” made out of 3 different bob’s red mill flour, with the main one being sorghum… He gets the email from amazon, I almost had a mini panic attack. We rushed to check the bags I have in the cabinet, Thankfully it was not of the same code! But I can’t help but wonder now…

    I really hope they clear clear this up and fix it right. Its very scary to learn that something you trust may not be what you think.

    Reminds me of something that happened a few weeks ago. Fortunately I didn’t get sick but, We were at Walgreens, and noticed that the Walgreens brand candy is proudly displaying a gluten free label on it. We got a bag, ate it, later my husband noticed on the back “may contain traces of wheat” What the crap 🙁

  6. GD-

    Love this post. Love the way that you encouraged him test down to 3 ppm. That’s smart. Testing up to 20 ppm’s doesn’t leave him a lot of room to fail. If he wants to endure and profit from this “gluten boom” he had better stand out now or other companies will take the challenge and make sure they test down to 3 ppm’s. No offense JE but you kind of scared me with the whole air blower removing the wheat from the previous batches. Is that enough? Is it scientifically proven to remove gluten traces. I am skeptical.

    Jersey Girl

  7. I do a lot of gluten-free baking for friends who are not celiac but feel they have a sensitivity, or in some cases, allergy to gluten. From what I’ve read about celiac, I wouldn’t be comfortable baking for someone with it because I don’t have a 100% gluten-free kitchen. From what I understand, if someone in my household had celiac I would need to keep a 100% gluten-free kitchen in order to be completely safe. I would worry too much if I tried to just keep a gluten-free cupboard.

    There is a pizza place in town that has gluten-free, as well as regular, pizzas. But I don’t think that would be adequate for someone with celiac. I feel for you, as it’s something that would really complicate life!

    Wishing you all the best,

    1. My son just got a bad reaction to the gf oats – but not to the last batch. Clearly the oats look much different than the last batch and made him quite sick. Poor kid had to sleep with his vomit bucket.

  8. Thanks for the heads up, Dude.

    This is why we need to push for no gluten species and dedicated facilities as a part of regulation. Since GFCO is lame now and the FDA regulations will be lame, I’ve been going 100% dedicated ONLY, even when I go out.

  9. Ok folks.

    After hearing about this almost2 weeks ago now I was able to get through and get some real info.

    The ONLY bags in question are the 623gr retail packages. Us bakeries who purchase in the 25lb bags are not affected. Or if your bags have different codes and sell bys you’re fine.

    Go easy on Bob. The guys got a heart of gold and really does want to help us out.


    1. I thought I did kinda go easy honestly. But if one batch got hit, who’s to say there aren’t more. I’m not trying to spread unwarranted fear here. I am just hoping they can raise their standards some.

      1. GD, I don’t think you are spreading any unwarranted fear. You are keeping us informed. I mentioned a few weeks ago here that I tried their biscuit mix and got really sick, and DH. I e-mailed BRM and asked if their glutlen-free products were in a dedicated facility and why do they not test at the lowest level possible. Here was the response. Monday August 26, 2013

        Thank you for contacting Bob’s Red Mill!

        All the ingredients in our GF Biscuit and Baking Mix are inherently gluten free and the mix is created in our gluten free facility. The reason we test for gluten in our gluten-free products is that there are many opportunities for products to come in contact with gluten products in the field, during cleaning and in transportation to our dedicated gluten free facility, so testing is important. We will not sell a product as gluten free if we find it tests higher than 19 ppm.

        Please feel free to contact me if you need help with anything else.

        Have a great day!

        Josh Wenzel
        Customer Service Representative
        Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods

        Me again: He did not really address why their GF dedicated facility may still have up to 19ppm of gluten. My body absolutely cannot handle that much. FYI for anyone new here, KInnikinnick tests to 5ppm. I order from them. Pamela’s tests less than 10ppm. But they do not claim, “NO GMO.” You can’t have it all.

        Thanks for this info GD. It is disheartening to know that even though they say “dedicated gluten free facility” they can still test as high as 20ppm. How do we get the law to change that the company cannot test up to 20ppm when they claim “dedicated facility” and they have to test to the lowest level, 3ppm? I guess I can already say good f**king luck.

        1. Thanks for letting us know abot KInnikinnick. I am now searching for other companies that produce GF products only in dedicated gluten free facilities or that test under 3-5 ppm.

    2. I’ve just got sick from the gluten free pizza crust mix that I purchased in the U.S. I am sure it is the one, because I didn’t eat anything else today and my stomach looks like a nine month baby is inside and I was passed out for the last two hours in my weird unexplainable gluten coma.
      I can not go easy on anyone who promises gluten free and than I feel sick for days.
      Although, my sister warned me that she had already problems with Bob’s Red Mill Other product (in Ireland), I thought, this guy is nice and he is even checking with his ELISA test his product. Now, I know that his standards are loose and he is a big fat liar and when he finds 32 ppm he just sell it to people like we would go gluten free for fun.

  10. FYI -Bob doesn’t own Bob’s Red Mill anymore he gave it to his employees in 2010. Is he still involved? When I have talked to employees after it was sold the answer was NO.
    What is surprising is if you say it is a GF facility then you expect the PPM to be 0 or at least less then 5. Rather disappointing

  11. We quit using Bob’s products years ago as we always got sick—gluten sick from them! At one point after we all got sick from the GF Brownie mix, I tested using a home gluten test and it was positive. After healing our guts significantly using the GAPS diet, I tried Bob’s Almond, Coconut and Hazelnut flours with same result—gluten symptoms creeping back!!!! BRM refunded my money for the 25 lbs of Almond Four I bought—no questions asked. They very much need to lower the testing to 3 ppm and to truly serve the Celiac community honestly.

  12. Well that explains why I react to GF baking.. I made my own flour mix using Bob’s flours.. all stated gluten free on the label but I still had a reaction.. (the sourghum flour was one of them)..

    I am ready to give up baking all together,,, it never crossed my mind that there maybe gluten in the gluten free flour.. I just trusted the Bob’s brand… hmmm thanks gluten dude

    1. Try Jules Gluten Free… have Never had a problem with any of their stuff and gave up on BRM long ago… YOU CAN BAKE!!!

  13. I got rather ill from their pizza crust mix on 2 separate occasions but had chalked it up to the xanthan gum…now I am not so sure. Although I no longer eat anything made using their flours or mixes, I do use them to bake for my non Celiac, but GF, kids.
    I am very curious as to how BRM handles this situation. Thanks GD and JE for alerting us of the recall!

  14. Like many others here, I stopped using Bob’s products because they made me so sick. Even if I don’t have a reaction, I don’t want to use a product that has gluten in it. I’ve decided to start only using 100 percent guaranteed GF-free products and see how I feel. Thank you for sharing this info.

  15. My family and I have never been able to tolerate BRM products ..We have gotten sick every single time we used them granted we a long list of foods we have to avoid so we may no have been reacting to gluten in their products. It is a shame though since they are the most affordable and readily available in most grocery stores. I buy most of my flours on Amazon now.

  16. The single word bouncing around in my head right now is:


    Am I allowed to say that here?

    Here’s the thing. While I’m not in the poverty camp, we’re not rich, either. I’m trying very hard to cut the grocery bill. And you know what’s the most expensive thing? Eating healthy. Eating gluten-free. So I fgured I should learn to make my own. I bought Annalise Roberts’ book after attending her class at the Expo. She seems to recommend Authentic Foods but only because they do a superfine grind. Sadly, their stuff is a little bit more expensive. It’s cheaper though to buy the individual flours and make my own blend, than buy the pre-blend from them. But as I was meticulously researching the best prices, for the flours and starches I could get away with purchasing from someplace other than Authentic, Bob’s was always the best price.
    Can I trust them now with anything? Starches? Xanthan gum? I’m seriously worried, especially hearing how others react. I don’t know if I have Celiac but I do know I’m extremely sensitive.

    I’m at a loss right now. I just don’t know what to do or think.

      1. There is a part of me that wants to know. However, the “challenge” of eating gluten would leave me useless for weeks. When I get glutened it feels like a really bad fibro flare-up, which feels like a combination of the flu + anxiety/depression. It’s quite unbearable. I really don’t think I would be able to tolerate feeling like that for weeks on end.

        1. I swear to God people have been fooled into thinking they need to feel ecstatic every second of the day or else they’re labeled ‘anxious/depressed’. You’re a normal human with normal emotions, positive and negative, and please don’t let anyone tell you to stifle them with drugs. Especially not people who profit off of this (e.g health industry).

          Buy lots of fresh, local produce that’s in season – it’s the cheapest and most nutritionally dense food available. If you have any Asian grocery stores near you, buy generic-brand rice flour. Cheaper than Bob’s and the ‘gluten free’ stuff. Rice doesn’t contain gluten so you don’t have to worry about contamination.

          1. Saying you don’t have to worry about contamination or gluten isn’t quite accurate. It depends on where the flour is processed. If it’s on shared lines, there could still be an issue. I do not buy anything that is processed on shared lines, due to my Celiac son. I am NOT willing to take the risk with his health.

  17. I’m not sure quite how to fit this into the big picture. A couple slices of GF bread tested to (let’s say rounded to) 20ppm clocks in at roughly 1 mg of gluten; 10/day being safe according to our leading experts. What if the ppm is raised from 20 to 30? Is that a 50% increase? Does that mean that the 2 slices of mostly GF bread would now be around 1.5mg, around 15% of what can be safely consumed on a daily basis?

    It’s easier to just not use the products that make me want to reach for advanced math texts.

    It is nice to hear that at least one GF bakery owner steered clear of a product that is largely embraced by consumers, but doesn’t meet the most strict requirements.

    I wonder if it matters overly much what BRM says about this; the larger issue may be beyond them. Does testing give out readings with a margin for error of 10ppm? No? Yes? Is that a good reason to test to lower levels? Are watchdog groups going to come under fire now? Whatever contaminated the singled out batch…how did it happen, and will this precipitate a flurry of “random” batch testing?

    Really…is BRM one of the best, safe GF product lines…or is it (just) another company on the bubble, at the least up to now willing to package up noticeable traces of gluten for sale? Right now it’s both……awkward.

  18. “I’m not quite sure why your social media manager is handling such a delicate situation but who am I to say.”

    Kudos to Cassidy Stockton. She stuck her head out.
    A company that’s collectively owned by employees usually lacks the one person willing to accept responsibility when things go south.

  19. What is most concerning to me about this is the reliability of the tests being used. What is the reason fo rthe diffrence in the results. And what prompted the Canadian government to test it in the first place was it a truely random test or was it done after reports of reactions. This is one good reason to turn the whole 30 into the whole 365 (with wine and spirits of course). And lawyers are not evil if you are running a large company they should be involved in everything you do. And for individuals there are times in life when a good lawyer is a godsend, it is like doctors we all know there are bad ones, realy bad ones, and there are good ones.

    1. Hi Jazz,

      I suspect in this case it was just a random test to which all food vendors are subject. I’ve reviewed several CFIA reports (pertaining to gluten and otherwise) and they often include language regarding whether the recalled products have already been linked to any consumer health issues.

  20. Unfortunately probably a lot of our gluten-free grains are contaminated. I don’t think Bob’s does any worse or better than other companies. I hope his company will step up and take the lead by reducing the gluten content lower as you say. As a celiac and a dietitian I have long believed that many people, including myself, continue to have gluten exposure unintentionally, no matter how much “education” we have. And I find Dr’s to be very accusatory when people’s labs come back elevated. Many people now go totally grain free, which is difficult, and if our GF grains weren’t contaminated would be unecessary. Nice article Dude

  21. OMG! My husband and I were seriously glutened by this flour a few months ago. I breaded fish with it. I didn’t want to believe it, but it was the only potential contaminant in the meal. I haven’t used the new bag of flour since. I plan to return it to Whole Foods in hopes the company gets the message!

  22. What do I think? Yikes!! Im celiac. I think I’ll stay grain free (all grains) and not leave my intestinal health in the hands of anyone making a buck at the expense of my “trendy” GF diet

  23. The problem is that gluten is in a lot of things. Every Celiac probably ingests gluten every day even on a strict gf diet using great gf products. It’s just there.

    Additionally, if you have Celiac, you probably have other intestinal issues too. Other food intolerances. IBS. Heightened sensitivity to rich foods in general. But it seems to me more and more within the Celiac community, people don’t want to address that. I have known way too many people who eat food that is absolute crap but gluten free and claim they are sick from cross-contamination and go after food manufacturers when the truth is the food they are eating is making them sick because it has no nutritional value.

    Targeting Bob’s is easy. Accepting the possibility that a government had a bad test and will never admit it, that your diet is part of your problem, and changing how you eat and live? Not so easy.

    I will continue to buy Bob’s stuff.

    1. So you lecture people on their poor diets and then end by saying you will continue to buy Bob’s products? Bob’s IS nutritionally devoid junk food. You’re not exactly making kale chips with that flour. Not sure if you were being serious or just sarcasm and it went over my head…

  24. Okay. This time I think you are being too harsh.

    First, who is to say the Canadian people did not lie about what they found. They could have tested it and found it just fine and lied about it. People seem bent on destroying people lately. And I think that they do so by lying. It could have been a disgruntled Canadian employee.

    Why would I suggest this? Because the Bob’s Red Mill has a dedicated facility for their product that are gluten free. Yes, I am sure things can happen to what they use before it gets to their processing facility. But if each time they did there test, and they kept records of those test too, it tested well below the 20ppm.

    I would also be questioning the employee at Bob’s Red Mill. Perhaps they are a disgruntled employee and lied about things. Maybe they are a “wheat” company that got one of their own hired out to discredited this company happen. We live in a very bent world right now. People are doing mean things lately.

    All I am saying, it seems really mean on your part to go after a company who is trust worthy in this sort of way.

    I understand your getting upset cause you did not hear about it. But would you want the rest of the world know about a problem you had. NO! And especially if they look back at their information about this batch and find out that everything was okay on their end. They don’t just test a bag of stuff. They are testing all throughout the process.

    Maybe you need to see some anger management therapist!

    Pick a better, meaner person to come down so harshly on.

    1. Mean? If you think this is me mean, perhaps you didn’t see my Dylan McDermott post. That was pretty harsh 😉

      Why would the Canadian Govt. lie about Bob’s Red Mill?

      And do you seriously think the world should know about a problem I have and that it’s comparable to celiacs possibly getting sick?

      I appreciate your input…honestly…but I’m left a bit speechless on this one.

      1. Disgruntled employee at Bob’s??? Maybe you don’t know that when Bob retied some years back he GAVE the entire company to hi employees! They are the owners.

      2. Hi GD and everyone else,

        I’m with GD here, I think he’s being pretty even-handed here and in his twitter feed (where I see he’s invited BRM to explain what went wrong to trigger this recall and it appears they will take him up on this).

        I’m one of the folks who brought this recall to GD’s attention (I commented last week in his other BRM article he wrote; it’s linked in this one). I found out about this directly from the CFIA’s email service (I totally recommend subscribing if you’re in Canada, perhaps even if you’re not!) and IMHO it is preposterous to believe this is some witch hunt or axe to grind against BRM on the CFIA’s or anybody’s part. Everyone has a right to know what’s in their food and that goes double for our community.

        Check the CFIA link below; I’m not trying to come off alarmist about it, but you’ll see this is the eighth time this year their inspections have turned up undeclared gluten, but only the first for BRM. You can play with the year options and see they found UG 10 times in 2012 and 21 times in 2011 but none of these were from BRM that I could see. So it’s not like BRM is getting singled out.

        I suppose it might come off like *I’m* ganging up on BRM, but I posted here about it last week because I specifically recalled GD had an older article re:BRM and felt it was pertinent to that discussion (I probably wouldn’t have bothered otherwise and I think GD and everyone else here would have discovered it soon enough anyway).

        Aside from this incident I feel like they are one of the “good guys” — they are forthright, for example, on their GF oats packaging that some celiacs are sensitive to even the purest of oats and accordingly advise caution — and I will be interested to see their response.

    2. So the Canadian Govt is lying and picking on poor BRM.. Did we read that correctly? For what purpose would they have to lie.. I suppose those of us that said we have gotten sick from BRM products are lying too?.. I really don’t get this line of thinking. How is exactly is GD being mean by asking a company to make sure their products are safe for Celiacs. If we are their intended customer base when they produce GF products ..It will only going to be good for business if the Celiac community feels they can be trusted- So far their record is looking pretty bad!

  25. Ate BRM pancakes, had an obvious reaction. Tried it again weeks later “just in case”, had the exact same reaction…lesson learned

    1. Is it possible that you reacted to zanthan gum in that mix? A lot of folks get stomachaches and other symptoms from this, including myself (and I’m not Celiac).

      Also, current research is discovering that Celiacs and those with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (which both of my boys have and I likely have as well, though I have not been tested) are not just sensitive to gluten—they may be reacting to other grains and foods as well. Those foods are referred to as gluten cross-reactors. The blood test that would show this is done by Cyrex Laboratories in the US and is called Array 4. It tests for 24 different foods that are known to potentially cross-react with gluten. In other words, your body is not only reacting to gluten, but it sees the proteins found in other [cross-reactive] foods as looking similar enough to gluten for your immune system to decide to attack those as well.

      For example, on the Cyrex blood tests we did on my boys, they both reacted to oats, dairy products, and eggs. My younger son also reacted to millet, soy, and chocolate (Cyrex has said that chocolate reactions has been found to be related to a dairy contamination). My boys’ symptoms are not manifested in the intestines, like those of you with Celiac disease. However, we strongly believe (and the researchers/studies concur) that it is affecting my older child’s growth (growth hormone deficiency can be a symptom of a gluten sensitivity) and my younger son’s ADHD (as many of you have experienced, gluten can affect the brain).

      By the way, about 50% of those with a reaction to gluten (Celiacs and Non-Celiacs alike) also reacted to one or more proteins in dairy products.

      So, my thought is that it’s possible that when some of you have reacted to a food—particularly one that has mixed ingredients, as would be the case with a GF flour mix of some kind—you may actually have another food sensitivity going on. Just something to consider….

      By the way, I highly respect those of you in the Celiac community, and I can sympathize with the difficulty of finding safe foods to eat. However, may I just throw one thing out there to consider? For those who feel that Celiac disease is far more “serious” than Non-Celiac, I just want to mention that there are millions of people out there who have serious health conditions which are related to gluten—whether they know it or not. They don’t get violently sick after ingesting gluten, as many Celiacs might, but that’s just the problem: they don’t have an immediate confirmation that what they just ate was causing them harm. Additionally, most of the medical profession are behind the times and unwilling to acknowledge the fact that someone could have a gluten problem that is NOT manifesting itself in the intestines, much less are they willing to test them for it.

      Please, folks, respect those of us who are avoiding gluten in order to improve our health. I heard one Celiac state that she actually felt she was one of the lucky ones because she knew immediately when she’d eaten the wrong thing. Those with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, however, are still doing damage in their body by eating gluten (and other cross-reactive foods), but it can be a “silent killer.”

  26. I used to use Bob’s flours in all of my baking until I started getting sick every single stinkin’ time I used one of them. I figured they were probably getting contaminated in the factory so I stopped using them and stopped getting sick. Nice to have that confirmed and know that I’m not crazy!

  27. Thank you so much Gluten Dude. I’m not much of a baker – and I recently baked a couple loaves of quick bread using the Bob’s Red Mill Sorghum flour. For the past week, my whole system has been royally messed-up – alarmingly so. I’d bet two cents that it was due to the Sorghum flour. Uuugh, so frustrating…
    Bob’s needs to get its S**T together.

  28. well this is very unsettling news. I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill flour like crazy. But my antibodies are still elevated and I can’t for the life of me figure out why (I’ve been gluten free for over 3 years now and don’t even eat out at restaurants anymore). Yikes! Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I wonder if this is where I could be getting glutened.

  29. Okay, first and foremost, thank you, thank you, and thank you again GD for once again keeping us up to date on what’s going on. I will certainly be following this story and will be anxious to see if Bob’s issues a response. I sincerely hope they do.

    Can anyone recommend a flour that would be considered “safe”? I know grain-free is an option for some but honestly not for me. I limit myself enough by being gf and sometimes I just need to bake 🙂

        1. I’ll add though that Kinnikinnick products often include eggs and soy, and their products are made in factories with those ingredients present. Not sure if you have these other issues in the first place (I do) but just a gentle reminder to check other potential allergens.

          From their website (the pink box on the right side):
          “Allergy Alert:
          Kinnikinnick Products are produced in dedicated Gluten/Wheat/Nut/Dairy free facilities that use Soy and Eggs.”

          Shout out of thanks to Kinnikinnick for their disclosures and efforts!

  30. Thank you Dude. As always, you are a voice standing up and speaking out.

    I stopped using Bob’s flour and products when I heard about some problems with them last summer, and I personally got so sick from them. I didn’t suspect the source for a long time because of Bob’s reputation, but soon there was no denying it. I’m furious that this happened now again, and more so that they weren’t up front and didn’t disclose. The way they are hiding the ball makes me even more skittish. Personally, even though this episode is supposedly related just to the sorghum flour, I can’t help thinking that this casts a doubt over all their products – who knows how much else they are hiding about their other products.

    It just goes to show that we have to be vigilant for our own health and safety. Can’t trust anyone, no matter what their record and claims. Even something that was safe last week, legitimately, isn’t necessary safe this week. Constant checking. Believe me, it makes me mad that something so important is so fickle and subject to so much manipulation by the companies.

    While I know it isn’t practical for everyone, I’m also skeptical about the other GF companies too. For things I have to get from *somewhere* like raw nuts, plain dried legumes, etc. I will go to companies that are often the niche ones, small and doing no gluten products at all, with none in their supplier chain either. I’ll grind my own bean and nut flours – and still keep watching even those suppliers as much as I can. And it also reinforces using the basic naturally GF products – fresh whole fruits and vegetables, no cross contamination issues either.

    As Dude has so often said, GF should really mean GF. Not 3ppm, not 20ppm. What does it take to get into the heads of these people that when something is FREE of gluten there should be absolutely no gluten in it??!! But Dude, I appreciate how you are urging everyone to use the 3ppm, the best test we have.

  31. I contacted Josh at BRM’s again today and asked him a few questions, and told him about today’s post. Here is his response.

    Hi Julia,

    I think it is very important to create awareness about celiac disease and the need for tighter standards. Thanks for sharing that story about Jennifer Esposito. That is great!

    Actually, most of our products test around 5ppm, though I can’t guarantee this for everything we sell.

    Our Gluten Free Facility is completely separate from our Conventional Facility. Nothing with gluten comes into the Gluten Free Facility, and if raw materials leave the Gluten Free Facility they are left out and not considered gluten free anymore and only used in our Conventional Facility from that point on.
    Multiple checks are in place to prevent gluten contamination. First, all gluten free raw materials are tested upon arrival before coming into the facility. If they test ‘hot’ they are rejected or used in our Conventional Facility. Once it is confirmed that they meet our standards they are milled and packaged by employees that only work in our Gluten Free Facility. Maintenance people and managers are required to wash thoroughly and put on new aprons prior to entering the Gluten Free Facility.
    Once the products are milled, they are tested again for gluten. If they test ‘hot’ (which is very unlikely) they are rejected. At this point they are packaged in the same facility and prepared for the warehouse. They are then delivered across the world.

    Please feel free to contact me if you need help with anything else.
    Have a great evening!

    Josh Wenzel
    Customer Service Representative
    Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods

    So what does everybody think?

    1. Forget it. If this were true, what happened to the sorghum (and other) flours wouldn’t have happened. Sorry. I don’t buy it, Bob’s Red Mill. There’s a weak link in the rosy chain you are belatedly trying to create here.

  32. Gluten Dude, where/how did you hear i was 32 ppm? The CFIA is notoriously secretive about the results of their testing.

    What I find scary about this whole situation is also the Canadian Government’s response to it, for several reasons.

    The recall was dated September 6, but the CFIA didn’t notify allergy alert list subscribers or tweet the recall until September 12. Six days later. When I inquired about the delay, this is the response I got:

    “The email notification for the allergen listserv is sent when the recall is posted. We strive to post the information on lower-risk recalls as soon as possible once they are authorized. It is an administrative function that we perform in the interest of transparency.

    Occasionally, there is a bit of a delay in posting a lower-risk recall. The recall itself is not delayed, only the administrative function of posting. That was the case with 8304. Most often, the delay is in clarifying details needed for the posting. We prefer to post once, rather than having to make corrections.”

    (I also note that on September 5 they notified us of a gluten-related recall dated August 14. Twenty one days later)

    The recall is classified as “Class III” , which is a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a violative product is not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.

    So, let me get this straight. Health Canada has deemed 20 ppm to be the magic threshold above which there is enough gluten to cause damage to a Celiac. (yes, we all believe its lower, but lets just stick with the government’s own rules for now). Yet, a recall for 32 ppm is deemed by the government to be “lower risk” and “not likely to cause any adverse health consequences”?????

    Thanks for looking after me Government of Canada. So glad you’re doing your job to keep me safe.

    1. It’s classified as Class III??? So much wrong there, if level III means something that is not likely to cause medical harm. For people with celiac or gluten intolerance, it *is* the source of serious harm, and not just having a stomach ache for a day or two. For many of us, it means our internal organs are put under attack, and/or a host of other physical consequences are springing forth. I’m getting more and more appalled by the minute.

      1. I forgot to mention that Class 3 also means that there is no public notice of the recall. They post on ther website and email those on the subscription list, but no news releases, no contacting the media, etc.

  33. Wendy - Palm Trees Gluten Free

    I would love to know what they accept then when they protest and allow into their facility. If they usually test at 5ppm and somehow there was a batch in Canada that tested above 30. How does this happen if they pretest?

    I am skeptical of most flours now. I do use Bob’s Red Mill, but sparingly now as I do with most flours now.

    My trust is just going period.

    As for restaurants? I trust very few – my lunchbox is becoming very loved… Like the Velveteen Rabbit. If not for Celiacs – gluten free menus are just a Joke.

    1. totally agree with you about restaurants. Most restaurant are just jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon to appeal to the trendy GF dieters and make some extra money. I honestly feel that most restaurants with “gluten-free” menus should just get rid of them. Either that or properly learn how to do correct preparation. But I don’t see that happening. I hope I’m wrong.

      1. Ditto. The whole “trend” about GF is harming those of us who really need it for medical reasons in many ways. I’ve never trusted restaurants, won’t go out to eat, period. Socially, maybe it’s not fun, but I’d rather be healthy. Plus when I eat at home I control what’s going on, and know things are being done to standards I am comfortable with.

        There is no uniformity, and even those places that say they are aware of celiac/G intolerance vary in what exactly that means in practice. This isn’t to bash everyone with a uniform stick – some may be genuinely trying and mean well. But never mind, the end product is at this point not something that is going to be objectively safe. Cross contamination in particular can just run rampant in restaurants. Better safe than sorry.

    2. Yes. This was my thought as well (see above). If things really are as airtight as Bob’s Red Mill is saying in their comment above to Aloha Julie, then this incident should never have even been possible. It all smacks of a company backpedaling fast trying to get around a serious problem. No trust from me whatsoever. Really, what company wouldn’t say these things when exposed in such a misdeed? And having their target consumer base find out and take a stand against them. Of course they are going to try to make nice and smooth things over. If it were true what they say, we wouldn’t be here discussing this.

      This is an essential lie in my mind, a lie that is taking chances and playing games with people’s medical needs and health.

  34. The gluten protein itself is NOT harmful. However most of the food that contains gluten – pizza, pasta, baked goods – is unhealthy. So people go on gluten-free diets, cut out the junk food, and feel healthier for it. Then they stupidly think going ‘gluten free’ is what’s making them healthier when it’s simply the lack of junk food.

    Don’t believe me? Gluten Dude and many commenters on this blog have said that even after going GF they still had GI issues, and it wasn’t until they cut out processed food altogether that they felt better. A perfect example of how being ‘gluten free’ is a hoax.

    Also why not simply buy Rice flour? Rice doesn’t contain gluten. The cheapest place would be an Asian food store since they typically use a lot of rice in cooking.

    Please stop falling for foolish fad diets, wake up, use your brains, do a little research. If not you’re just another mindless sheep being led on by the food industry.

    1. Hi Serena…it’s me again. Are you a doctor? A scientist? Do you have anything to back up your nonsense? I agree…gluten is not bad for everybody. But to deny celiac is real…well that just hurts.

    2. “Also why not simply buy Rice flour? Rice doesn’t contain gluten.”

      Sorghum doesn’t contain gluten either. And neither should sorghum flour. But wait, sometimes it does . Rice flour too. Hence the subject of this entire post.

    3. since this is the 2nd comment you’ve made suggesting we just buy rice flour from an asian market, I thought it was time for my 1st comment on this blog. I tried that several months ago, and reacted badly to it. It took a few weeks for me to realize it might be the asian rice flour that was the problem (from Thailand), then I stopped using it. To really be sure, I waited 3-4 weeks and tested it again with pancakes, from a brand new 1 lb.bag I had not yet opened. This time the reaction was a lot quicker, within 24 hours.

      I eat rice noodles from Thailand on a pretty regular basis, so I know some of the rice products from that country are fine. But this particular rice flour was not fine, so please stop making that suggestion as though it will solve everyone’s problem.

    4. WHOA..being gluten free is a hoax???- You are saying All of us Celiacs are making our disease up? Wow!! I have no words!.. Um yeah I do.. You have NO idea what you are talking about! Please stop posting here until you get a clue. I’ll stop there so I can remain kind.

  35. I’d really like to see the results from the third party Bob’s had test their batch before I go jumping on the ‘Bash Bob’s’ bandwagon.

  36. Maybe there needs to be 2 different certified labels. Gluten Free and Celiac Safe!? Being gluten free like it or not has become a trend and I think even people with celiac might have different tolerance levels. Most people without Celiac don’t understand the criticality of having even trace amounts of gluten for some people.

    Not sure how hard it would be to start an org. that can certify companies but having one that could make a Celiac Safe certification that has much tougher requirements than GF labeling might be a great idea for some of you business savvy folks.

  37. Some one asked for safe flours.. Before we had to go completely grain free I had very good luck with Gluten Free Pantry and Pamela’s brands..and Betty Crocker’s GF line of cake,cookie mixes and GF Bisquick. Now I use Coconut flour – Let’s Do Organic is my favorite brand, Almond meal that I grind myself, sweet potato starch- my family doesn’t handle nightshades very well and Sorghum Flour – Dakota Prairie brand I buy from Amazon. hth

  38. So as a milling company that competes with Bob’s on a small scale I want to say that Bob’s Red Mill is one of the finest companies in the business. I have never been to Bob’s so I can’t speak for their facility or how it operates but I have no doubt that they take every precaution to protect the integrity of their product. I would suspect that a “False Positive” ( I am not a lab tech) is the culprit in this recall. We recently launched a bulk gluten free line on these products are produced in a dedicated gluten free facility. As you know many grains by nature are gluten free but when milled in a facility that also produces flour with grains that contain gluten it is nearly impossible to to prevent cross contamination.

    Bob’s is a quality operation and I know that they have their customers best interest in mind over the “profit” of the gluten free market. I am sure they are Absent Malice. I am sure they will do right by their loyal customers



  39. Rick’s comments make perfect sense to me and I think Bob’s Red Mill management would hardly lie about how they produce GF products.

    Sorry, but I cannot jump on the “blame wagon” because I know there is enough room for error when testing samples. I live with a chemist who worked in labs or over 30 years. Collecting a representative sample is difficult, and it does not matter how good the lab analysis is if the sample isn’t representative of the whole. Why not investigate the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as well?

    The BRM rep said: “When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported its findings, Bob’s Red Mill was very surprised and immediately had samples from the same lot tested both internally and by an accredited 3rd party laboratory. Both tests showed the product to be below 20 parts per million”

    It was a VOLUNTARY recall, even though they did not find the result to be over 20 ppm.
    Why would they lie and risk litigation? They wouldn’t!!!!!!!.

    And I often I wonder how many celiacs actually know what 20 ppms means and why that threshold is considered safe by leading celiac specialists? If you don’t. please read about it..

    I am not saying I doubt when people say “they did not feel well” after eating something they made with a BRM product. But realistically, many celiacs have ADDITIONAL FOOD SENSITIVITIES and are unable to digest oats ( which is why some docs suggest cutting them out the first 2 years after DX) , so it is possible that those are causing an adverse reaction. Many of you who posted “BRM made me sick” on here have also have admitted you have other food intolerances, right? Or live with gluten eaters? or are newly diagnosed? or have other AI diseases? …, you have to weigh all the factors

    For example, I have eaten products from other certified GF companies and not felt well afterwards, but I recognize that I have issues with eggs, soy and food additives, so I would not rush to blame it on “trace gluten” every time.

    I use Bob’s Red Mill products (GF oats and GF flaxseed meal) and just had an endoscopy with biopsy and colonoscopy. My GI doc was looking to see if the disease is in remission and to rule out lymphoma. etc.

    The doc’s report and pathology reports noted some scarring in the intestinal walls (from long undiagnosed celiac) but healthy villi. It’s been nearly 3 years for me GF.

    One gov”t agency’s random sampling (and I have no idea how it was handled or how it was tested, so I will not rush to judgement) does not make me believe that BRM is doing “something wrong”, hiding anything, causing celiacs to be sick on purpose or cutting corners on avoiding cross-contamination.

    Just not buying it, sorry.

  40. You’re dismissive attitude to all of us who say we got GLUTEN reactions from BRM is insulting and rude. So what if you personally don’t react—-we do. And our reactions are distinctive gluten reactions. Everyone seems to have different reactions to gluten, so to dismiss everyone else’s experiences and responses to BRM products and give the company a pass is harmful to the entire GF community.

    BRM admits there is gluten in the labeled GF products—and the fact that the FDA says up to 20 ppm is a-ok and legal doesn’t help. You WILL still get sick eating ANY gluten if you have Celiac or gluten sensitivity—whether your reactions are overt or not. BRM could take the higher road and go the extra mile for the Celiac community—but they are choosing to take the path of ease. I certainly don’t give them a pass and after consistently getting sick—-myself and all 4 of us with Celiac in this family—will never trust them to provide safe products that are free of gluten. BRM is a great source for GF flours and other products, though, for the crowd seeking to lose weight though.

    1. Well, you always disagree with everything I say so, this comes as no surprise that the only thing you took from my logical post that tried to look at every possible explanation was that I was “dismissive and insulting.”

      You just can’t look at any other possibility for feeling ill. It’s always gluten. So, that’s your opinion and I have mine. Let’s call it a draw.

      How does what you say seem any different. You’re saying I am wrong because I do not get sick from BRM???.
      I happen to react strongly to trace gluten, so ..who’s right? Doesn’t matter.
      You got to state your view and I stated mine.

      I did not dismiss “everyone”. I gave valid suggestions for why someone might possibly react and I gave reasons why the test could be wrong.
      If you do not agree, that’s fine. I said my peace.
      People reading all of these comments from everyone in the GF community can take them or leave them.

    2. Did I miss something? When did Bob admit he put gluten in his product? Last I heard, he was explaining that they had tested it at least twice before releasing it.

      The standard of 20 ppm is another thing. You can quibble with that all you want but that doesn’t make a product that follows that guideline “not gf”. It just makes it possibly – because testing to under 20 ppm does not mean it has 19ppm or 6ppm or 0- not gf enough for you.

      1. Lima’s comment made this occur to me.

        Cassidy Stockton’s reply to GD stated that the product in question tested “well below” 20ppm. Well below 20ppm, at least 3 separate tests (before/during/after production). Which of course meets the 20ppm standard. But the news apparently, at least for me (potentially not paying attention and missing something), is that they do in fact test to below 20.

        Why they aren’t able to therefore beat the legal standard and make that claim on the packaging, I don’t know. Should we assume that it’s not because they get readings between 10-19?

  41. I’m not sure what sort of logistical challenge this would pose in getting the info out there in a timely fashion, but I think it would be great if GF food suppliers could disclose on their websites the results of their gluten testing — the actual inspection documents for each production lot number, preferably from accredited 3rd party inspections. I’ve only been forced by celiac into the GF lifestyle for a few months now so I’m not really aware if any companies already follow this sort of practice.

    Better yet, put a code on the product label itself, so you can scan it with your smartphone, type in the lot number if needed, and check the report right there in the store. If they can offer the consumer this level of confidence, this level of transparency, then the bar will be raised mightily.

    Maybe I’m dreaming that this will ever come to fruition, but it’s a great dream, huh?

  42. I contacted Authentic Foods via email through their contact form to find out what their ppm testing is and I received a phone call from the owner within an hour. He stated that he does random testing to 10ppm. He also stated he is a dedicated GF facility. I have not used any of his GF flours yet. I’ve been a BRM user until now but now I am very concerned about the safety of their product. I appreciated the phone call and his sincerity.

  43. I have read your post and called Bob’s Red Mill. I have the perspective as a person that runs a good business. Unless you are a farmer, you rely in good producers to send you food that is not tainted. Food goes through many steps with transpiration, handling and packaging and this is all done by human beings who can make mistakes. The product was sent to Canada so no FDA release is required. Bob’s also had to product tested by a third party lab with a much lower result.

    I truly understand the seriousness of Celiac Disease but the food industry is a risky business with milk, eggs, human hands, refrigeration, etc. somewhere down the line things are bound to go wrong. I test regularly in order to provide another layer of protection. The question should be to Bob’s – how can we make this better? I say you should set up a journalistic interview or ask for an official release. For those people who will no longer buy Bob’s, don’t think that other producers are immune to this happening to them. I believe that Bob’s truly wants to make this right and we should give them that opportunity. I don’t want to see a company marred by something that they are truly trying to fix and avoid going forward.

    1. Do you have a link for that? I hadn’t heard that and can’t find it. Might be because I’m in the US and sometimes its hard to get links to other countries on a simple search. Thanks.

  44. Kim64
    Wow, I can’t believe some of the arrogant, undermining commentary. If you don’t believe info given by gluten dude, research, thoroughly for yourself before getting angry, celiac causes enough anger…….

  45. I am allergic to corn, gluten and soy. I know from a response from them that they cannot claim corn free so I don’t know if the reaction is corn or gluten so I just avoid. If some of you also have a corn allergy that could be an additional source of reaction. I am not sure what a corn reaction feels like as opposed to soy or gluten reaction since I was diagnosed after 12 years of pain, inflammation and even stroke and many TIA. Yes my stroke and 6 TIA were directly caused by the food I eat. It causes inflammation of the brain which causes lack of oxygen to the brain. How do I know it is a direct correlation? I became very very depressed ( struggled all my life and also a symptom of food allergies) . I physically got better after my stroke. I never cheated on my diet for 4 months and physically I felt like a brand new person. I was amazed no pain or swelling for the first time since I can remember. Unfortunately damage was done to my brain and I may never get it back. I lost my job because I can no longer remember or multi task. Your employer sees you physically better and assumes you should be back to normal but it doesn’t work that way. After I lost my job I felt worthless and tried to take my own life. I went off my diet August 15, 2014 and on December 22 I had another TIA. I didn’t even correlate eating and stroke. I just didn’t care anymore that is why I went off and when you are very depressed you aren’t in real state of mind and aware how bad you feel physically. I went back to only eating maybe one thing a day and usually only sugar so I also didn’t really have the bloating. It was only when I went back to eating every few hours did I notice how bloated I became. Went back to my chiropractic neurologist in March that he connected the two for me. He told me now do you see you can NEVER NEVER NEVER go off your diet. I worked every day 12-18 hours a day in excruciating pain since I was 22 . Nothing stopped me until I could no longer walk again for 18. Months. Then I regain my walk only to 2 years later at 43 I had a stroke. I asked my neurologist for years if a change in diet would help. It can’t hurt but it won’t help. I begged to have an allergy test and no one would order one. I finally researched and found a chiropractic neurologist and appointment was set. I had my stroke 2 days before my appointment. I saw him 2 days after my stroke and he was a godsend, even though I haven’t been the best patient and always have learned the hard way. I now KNOW I can never eat anything with gluten, corn or soy. I have been back on my diet and leaky gut refining for the 2nd time because I ruined whatever progress I had made. So one year later I start over. It may take 6 months to recover leaky gut and years to repair colon but I may never get back my brain function. This is a serious condition. I may not go into anaphylactic shock which is immediately life threatening for some with food allergies but having a stroke can be fatal and I’m very lucky I can walk and talk right now. Celiac disease and other allergies are no joke so I just don’t chance it and only eat lean meats, fruits and veggies. Do I want a chocolate chip cookie? Every minute of every day right now and I am someone who only ate sugary items every day and NOTHING substantial but I do know after 4 months I didn’t crave it anymore by eating every few hours and non glycemic fruits. My blood sugar is under control so I don’t crave sweets anymore which I never thought was possible. I am lucky to be alive.

  46. Is it possible that BRM is getting a bit of a bad rap here? There are many that use their products and have absolutely no issues while some do. This could very well be because of their sensitivity level to gluten as opposed to BRM products. Some can have a high level while others a lower level. The fact that there are XX ppm indicates that there are traces of gluten in the product so technically it is not gluten free. I have a family member with celiac and have been using BRM GF All Purpose Flour with no issues thus far (I’m in Canada as well).

    There are a number of different ingredients in BRM’s all purpose flour. Could it be that any reactions were to one or more of the ingredients rather than a gluten issue?

    Any time you buy a product at the store that is claimed to be “nut free”, “dairy free”, “gluten free”, etc. you are eating at your own risk. Can you be 100% sure that it is what is claimed. Although it should be there is still a risk involved. Human beings are not perfect and mistakes are made.

    I’m in no way absolving BRM of their mistake but that might be all it was, a mistake. The product was tested and pulled off the shelves. BRM acknowledged it and took the necessary action by recalling the product. What more can they do? They will hopefully learn from it and take whatever steps are necessary to keep it from happening again. If you have a reaction to BRM products don’t necessarily blame the product or the company. There might be something in it other than gluten that your system doesn’t agree with. You might need to switch to a product that is more suitable to your system and tolerance level.

    From myself, I will continue to use BRM products.

    1. While I agree with most of what you said, I feel that I should explain the basics of gluten testing. If something tests as <20 ppm ( less than 20 parts per million), that does not mean that it has tested positive for gluten. It is just the limitation of the test. It could have 19 PPP or 3 ppm or 0. The current tests don't count the molecules of gluten specifically. Pure water from the middle of an iceberg, with a <20 ppm will test as 20 ppm – it could be 22 ppm or 1,000,000 ppm. The test results would all look the same.

      Also, 20 ppm is a very teeny tiny amount.

      1. Need an edit button -something missed when I hit enter- it should say pure water should test as 20 ppm even tho it might have 22ppm or 1 million ppm. The test results would look the same . It’s a yes or no result.

        1. There is something weird going on. I am trying to use the word ” flour” . Wheat flour would test positive even if it has a million parts per million.

  47. Gluten dude
    You are doing a great job of monitoring companies for gluten free or reduced products for accuracy.

    Your criticism of Bob’s gluten free flour product is the article I read and I am wondering if the Canadian food agency is using the same test method as Bob’s Red Mill, or how clean is the food agency methods in performing the test. The other concern I have is influence or contamination from corporate wheat supplies whether intentional or accidental.
    It seems strange to me that the agency presumably did one test at the 32 ppm and Bob’s Red Mill performed several tests of the same batch and came up with the same maximum 20ppm results as before. What is the Canadian food agency’s track record in terms of accuracy of food testing results, contamination etc?

    It appears the 32ppm count is a standard recognized as a gluten free level below this figure. Bob has set his standard at 20ppm well below the 32ppm no doubt to allow for a margin of error.

    Your suggestion that Bob’s Red Mill lower his ppm standard to 3 may have cost implications and possibly other manufacturing problems that may affect the quality and cost.

    Just an observation.

  48. Hey dude:

    After rereading your article and my comment, It appears I goofed on my assumption of the standard level of 32 versus 20ppm, but my concern still stands on the contamination and accuracy of tests by the food agency and if the test used by the testing labs for comparison are in fact the same.

  49. I just came across this article on (link at bottom) that shows how easily some nominally GF grains are doomed for cross-contamination before they even leave the farm. I wonder if this was a factor in the BRM recall? The author says she once got glutened just from driving past a wheat field during harvest.

    This certainly underscores that even the most exacting of companies/bakeries who are trying their damnedest to do GF right can be up against difficult circumstances in sourcing safe suppliers. Jennifer Esposito all but said as much herself in the early part of this very comment thread.

    If you’re already this badly behind the 8-ball from the get-go, then your chances of failure escalate, especially if your facility also processes gluten-bearing grains. I saw some buckwheat flour at my local grocer the other day; it came from a shared facility and was disclaimed as having up to 60ppm gluten: not good enough.

    Wheat Harvest Time Shows How Gluten Cross-Contamination Occurs:

    1. Jane Anderson is one who likes to perpetuate Celiac myths. I do not consider her reputable. Just the fact that she claims she was glutened from driving past a wheat field at harvest time should give you a big clue that she is out in left field and does not know what she is talking about.

      I would suggest that those who think finding truly gf grains is impossible because everyone is out to get us should just stop eating grains. That will leave them for the rest of us to enjoy.
      I use a variety of gf grains and sometimes that includes Bob’s. I have never been glutened by them but I am also not in Canada.
      I also understand testing protocol, so that helps make informed decisions. I would always know whether I have been glutened too because I am extremely sensitive. Trace gluten in product, I get sick. That hasn’t happened in ages so I must just be lucky that I manage to find gf grains that haven’t made me sick?

  50. I just ran across this post because I was glutened yesterday by Bob’s White Sorghum flour and I was trying to figure out if there was any kind of recall. My product was made on 022014. So clearly, they have not fixed the problem. This is the first time I’ve purchased sorghum, but I’ve eaten it in packaged cookies, so I don’t think it was a reaction to sorghum. I didn’t have anything else new in my kitchen and I haven’t eaten out in a long time. I know it was this product. I plan to report it to the FDA, although since the product was made before the law went into effect, they are not in violation. In case any of you ever need to report something: “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.”
    A list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators is posted at FDA’s website:
    Anyone else still having problems with Bob’s sorghum?

  51. The owner of Dakota Prairie Organics filed for bankruptcy in October 2013.

    Firebird Artisan Mills (owned by Function-O Foods, which is owned by Agspring) recently acquired the assets of Dakota Prairie Organic.

    Another small company gobbled up by a conglomerate and, in all likelihood, no longer producing trustworthy goods.

    Why did Dakota Prairie go under? Perhaps it was not profitable to provide 0-ppm GF grains….

    Think about it. Even if the grains are processed in a dedicated GF facility:
    1. the seed company would have to grow only GF crops use only equipment purchased new by them, and use only uncontaminated GF water/fertilizer/pesticides
    2. the farmer growing the grain would have go grow only GF crops, use only equipment purchased new by him, and use only GF uncontaminated water/fertilizer/pesticides
    3. the grains would have to be transported in vehicles used solely for GF crops

    In other words, EVERYTHING used to grow, harvest, and transport the grains would have to be uncontaminated.

    Unless the business (BRM or whoever) owns and controls all these variables, I don’t see that happening.

    I have read that some celiacs are so sensitive they can react to a GF product that was prepared in a vessel which was previously used to prepare conventional food.

    If I were celiac, I would avoid grain entirely rather than rely on any for-profit business to provide a totally GF product. And…if other members of my family were not celiac, I would have a set of dedicated GF kitchen utensils.

    (I found this page looking for info on the difference between “sweet white” sorghum, and “sorghum”.)

  52. My daughter reacted to BRM Arrowtoot Powder last night. I’ve always been skeptical. No more Bob, ever.

    Well said bhealthy. We almost never eat GF flours of any kind but my daughter wanted something some sauce and I threw in the arrowroot for fun as I had it around from Thanksgiving for gravy for guests. Won’t make that mistake again!

    We cannot tolerate ANY ppm. I’ve discovered this the hard way through painful elimination diets. Listen to your body.

    1. Mama … it’s also possible that your daughter is reacting directly to the arrowroot powder. I, for one, get stomachaches from arrowroot and I’m not even a Celiac (though likely have non-celiac gluten sensitivity). I suspect arrowroot is a potential cross-reactor to gluten. Tapioca is a very similar food, and it is a known cross-reactor. This means, for some people, the body views tapioca as looking similar enough to gluten that it creates antibodies against it as well. So, if someone with this condition happens to eat tapioca, they will indeed feel like they have been exposed to gluten, when in fact they are having a reaction to the tapioca. Tapioca is included in the Array 4 test from Cyrex Laboratories, which checks for antibodies to 24 gluten-associated cross-reactive foods. You can Google “gluten cross-reactivity” and possibly “Cyrex Laboratories,” if you’re not familiar with this concept. Dr. Tom O’Bryan is an expert in this, so you may want to check out his website as well at:

      While I completely understand the concern about gluten contamination in many “gluten-free” products, and it’s a very real threat/possibility, I think it makes sense to consider whether a person is reacting to the gluten-free grain or food itself, not any potential gluten in the product.

      1. Sounds like good advice re: antibody testing, Rachel. At any rate, it certainly sounds better than the harder way of consuming (potentially x-reacting) tapioca from a source other than BRM and possibly getting sick again. Besides, you’d have to be sure that product from a competitor is not sourced from the same supplier that BRM uses!


        I think this link is germane to what you’re discussing: and I don’t see arrowroot listed among the 24 x-reactors checked in their Array 4 test. This isn’t to say that it’s not a potential x-reactor, rather just that Cyrex’s Array 4 test doesn’t necessarily check for x-reactivity to it, notwithstanding that a check for tapioca x-reactivity would be a valid proxy (I’m not an expert on such matters so I can’t say). Mind you, you probably thought through all this anyway, which could/would be why you mentioned tapioca — which IS covered by this test — in the first place.

        But even putting that aside, it still sounds like a useful test for anyone who is consuming only ostensibly GF foodstuffs (such as the classic GF grains of quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc — and what is COFFEE doing on that list? Yikes!), yet still having (cross-)reactions.

        Maybe we need a new word for when celiacs (and NCGIs?) have a x-reaction to something that’s in fact GF. I’m not sure if “glutened” quite cuts it. How about “quasi-glutened”?

        1. Yes, John, you’re correct that arrowroot is not on that Cyrex test. I mentioned it, however, because I know that the researchers who came up with that test are currently testing other foods they have found to be cross-reactive (or cause an immune response, for lack of a better term) as well. I have no idea whether arrowroot has ever been tested by the group, but it’s something I’ve asked my chiropractor because, as I mentioned, I have had stomachaches from eating it. My chiropractor has received training under Dr. Aristo Vojdani’s, the mastermind behind the Cyrex testing and a pioneer in gluten research. My two sons had the Cyrex Array 4 test done on them and we found several foods they must avoid. So, my point in sharing the info about the Cyrex test was just to show that it’s quite possible that foods we consider “gluten-free” (which, in fact, ARE free from the gluten contained in wheat, rye, barley, etc) are causing the same reaction as if they did contain gluten.

          Technically all grains contain “gluten.” (Peter Osbourne is a good source of more info on this.) However, it’s only the specific “gluten” contained in wheat, rye, barley, etc, which has historically been identified as toxic to those with Celiac or NCGS. I think the research of Dr. Alessio Fasano and Dr. Aristo Vojdani’s is proving that we should open our minds to the fact that other forms of gluten, and even other foods, may very well cause an inflammatory response in certain people that is identical to that of the official “gluten” foods.

          Incidentally, the coffee that was used to perform that Cyrex test was INSTANT coffee. Coffee beans or freshly ground beans are a different matter entirely, presumably because of the high likelihood of gluten cross-contamination occurring with instant coffee grounds.

          Not all the foods on Array 4 are cross-reactive with gluten, however they fairly frequently are found to cause a problem in individuals who have an immune response to gluten. The research suggests that when you have a leaky gut—as is the case for perhaps all Celiacs—it’s very easy to develop additional food intolerances.

          Here is a link that has a wealth of information regarding the Cyrex Array 4 test:

          The author of the the article readily admits the potential for gluten cross-contamination in many “gluten-free” foods. I have cut and pasted a few paragraphs from the above article:

          “They did not find cross-reactivity with all of these foods (as is implied by the Cyrex Labs gluten cross-reactivity blood test, a.k.a. Array 4). But, they did find that their anti-gliadin antibodies (antibodies that recognize the protein fraction of gluten) did cross-react with all dairy including whole milk and isolated dairy proteins (casein, casomorphin, butyrophilin, and whey)—this may explain the high frequency of dairy sensitivities in celiac patients—oats, brewer/baker’s yeast, instant coffee (but not fresh coffee), milk chocolate (attributable to the dairy proteins in chocolate), sorghum, millet, corn, rice and potato.

          While not all people with gluten sensitivities will also be sensitive to all of these foods, they should be highlighted as high risk for stimulating the immune system. Just like trace amounts of gluten can cause a reaction in at least those with celiac disease (the threshold for a reaction has not been tested in non-celiac gluten sensitivity), even a small amount of these foods can perpetuate inflammation and immune responses. This is important when you think of the small amounts of corn used in so many foods and even the trace milk proteins that can be found in ghee.

          Beyond this gluten contamination is common in the food supply and many grains and flours that are inherently gluten free may still contain gluten once processed. Commonly contaminated grain products include millet, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, and soy flour. As these are commonly used ingredients in commercial gluten-free baked goods, extreme caution should be exercised.”

      2. I’m quite aware of gluten cross reactivity and the entire concept. I’m not looking for advice on her food allergies and sensitivities. I simply believe she’s reacting to BRM Arrowroot Powder. As you don’t know anything else about us, please don’t assume you do. We have Celiac disease. We’ve done exhaustive elimination diets and I have every reason to believe BRM contains gluten, albiet trace amounts, which many true Celiac patients react to.

        Gluten contamination is very real, I think most would agree on that. There’s nothing more frustrating than people without Celiac disease thinking they know what it’s like to actually get sick from consuming ANY gluten. There’s a big difference from getting a stomach ache and not being able to get out of bed for two days because you got so tired of a limited diet and decided to have one treat.

        1. Mama,

          I’m sorry I offended you. I never intended to come across as knowing what it’s like to get sick from consuming any gluten. I would never say that; I’m not a Celiac. My thought was just that if your daughter has not been exposed to arrowroot anytime recently, it’s possible she was reacting to that food itself. It’s also possible, of course, that the arrowroot powder was contaminated with gluten. You would not know for sure unless you had her eat another brand of arrowroot powder that was “gluten-free,” which did not come from the same source as BRM. There again, though, you wouldn’t know whether that brand was also contaminated. Naturally, experimenting like this could make her sick again, and it’s probably not worth that risk. (Personally, I’ve never seen another brand of arrowroot besides BRM, but I haven’t searched high and low for one.) Neither you, nor I, can assume anything.

          I can, however, relate to the difficulty of feeding a family of five a strict gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, oat-free, and millet-free diet. I can also relate to people who think it’s pointless to eat this way because our symptoms of NCGS are not as immediate or as dramatic as those of someone who has Celiac Disease.

          Some of my comments were in response to John, and were not directed at you. I was under the impression that the purpose of this website was to support those who are gluten-free and to provide a place to discuss and share information regarding all things related to this subject. However, I haven’t spent a lot of time on this site and might have missed some unwritten rules that the “regular” posters have sort-of established. If the site is primarily designed as a place for individuals with an official diagnosis of Celiac Disease to share their experiences, I apologize for not realizing this.

  53. I just came across an article from Allergic Living that could be relevant to this September 2013 recall of Bob’s Red Mill product.

    It seems in March of this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the same authority whose testing indicated undeclared gluten in BRM product, also determined that some cumin spice products — over two dozen of them — contained undeclared almond, and a recall was issued.

    In April however, the CFIA reported after further testing that the original test results were false positives, and so the original recall was rescinded.

    The second round of testing indicated that the false positive arose from cross-reactivity with a spice that comes from a certain type of cherry seeds, i.e., that the false positive originated from the presence of this other spice in the originally tested samples.

    The CFIA’s report on this recall rescindment is here:

    Which brings us back to Bob’s Red Mill and their flour recall.

    Is it possible the CFIA erred in their testing of BRM’s product, that the undeclared gluten was also a false positive?

    *shrug* I don’t know and I’m not really taking sides even with these latest revelations. I don’t recollect any follow-up CFIA announcement rescinding the BRM recall, as there was for the cumin products. Maybe their re-testing policies were different two years ago? I’m not sure. But it does seem to cast a small shred of doubt on the matter, that even a highly-trusted organisation like the CFIA can make a mistake from time to time. The matter of gluten cross-reactors came up elsewhere in these comments. All I can say is, if in doubt, don’t ingest it.

  54. I just read GD’s recent FB post about the article wherein it states that Bob’s Red Mill now uses (in addition to certified oats) oats that are mechanically separated, presumably a la General Mills for their Cheerios, for some of their oat products that they market as GF. I wonder if this is a case much like GM, of BRM’s business having grown to the point where there are no longer enough certified oats available to them to meet customer demand?

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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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