Dear Bart & Judy: Your Cookies Aren't Gluten-Free

bart judy gluten free

I love how our community calls BS out.

And I love that fact that they notify me so I can notify the masses.

Case in point…I received the following message the other day from a fellow celiac:

Hi Dude – I know you’ve had some luck calling companies out on their negligence so I thought maybe you could help. I bought these cookies today and had one almost in my mouth when my husband screams “Stop!”. Even though the box clearly says “Gluten Free” (in three different places) in small print it says “May contain wheat”. I’ve seen the whole shared facility statements but never something like this. I would have finished the whole box and never known.

I asked her to contact the company before I call them out and here is their response:

We do have wheat in our bakery; however the mixer and equipment is totally washed-down before we run the gluten-free cookies.

bart's gluten free cookiesHoly moly. So it’s not just a shared facility kind of deal. It’s the exact same equipment. Take a look at the picture to the right. This is a screenshot of a video my man Bart has put together showing off his kitchen. That’s the mixer making a batch of their regular chocolate chip cookies. They only have one mixer. Ummm…that’s a problem.

The fact that any company would label their product gluten-free and then list wheat as an allergen is revolting to me.

Which reminds me of a classic line from one of my favorite movies (name the movie):

Now…compare Bart & Judy to the infini-T Cafe in Princeton, NJ, run by Mike & Mary. They offer gluten free foods. But check out the sign they have hanging in their cafe.

gluten-free-disclaimer

Now that is how it’s done.

Celiacs are not difficult to please. If there is any risk that we can get sick, just be sure to tell us and we’ll be cool with that.

But don’t plaster gluten-free all over your product and then in a small disclaimer say “oh, by the way, this really may not be gluten-free.”

That’s just crap.

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52 thoughts on “Dear Bart & Judy: Your Cookies Aren't Gluten-Free”

  1. WOW! Is that even legal? With the new FDA regulations on gluten free food I wonder if that is even allowed. Lately I don’t eat anything that I don’t cook myself. I get my Gluten Free Flour from Jules and cook and bake at home. This is the reason why! I don’t trust companies any more. The only way for me to make sure that it truly is GF is to make it myself.

    I was not tested for Celiac, they wanted me to consume gluten for 7-10 days before the test and I couldn’t even do it for a day. I was in so much pain, the gas I had was horrible and I was so bloated among other things. So I may or may not have it, but I am not going to consume gluten to find out. I stay away from any and all gluten just like someone with celiac would do.

      1. I will look into it. I also have other severe food allergies. I have had luck with Glutino and just recently started purchasing that, but my list of trusted companies is very small.

          1. Uh glutino DOES NOT MAKE BREAD!!! Lots of crackers, croutons & recently saw icing free (BOO) pop tarts. No bread

            1. Yes, Glutino makes several different kinds of bread. White, corn, multi grain, Raisin etc. She might have an additional intolerance to something in the bread she ate, because they test to < 5 ppm and are made in a dedicated factory.

    1. I am in your exactly same situation Denisse and I wouldn’t recommend “Enjoy Life” chocolate chips cookies, first time I ate that my head aches so bad that I couldn’t even sleep at night (hours after eating the cookies). The next day I tried again to check if the cookies were what caused the headache and yes, there was the pain again after eat those cookies… Doesn’t taste that good anyway.

      1. Enjoy Life is a dedicated gluten free and allergen free facility, so it probably some other ingredient in them causing your headaches.

        1. I can’t talk about their other products I have not tested (and won’t), I am not saying the cookies were not gluten free, they were I think. But I can say that the only thing I enjoyed about the cookies was the chocolate chips. And never in my life I had a headache that didn’t let me sleep like that. Im with gluten dude in that, most of the processed gluten free food out there is bad for anyone’s health.

  2. Under the new FDA guidelines, this won’t be legal per se… but they will have to be caught in the act in order to change things if indeed their foods are not meeting the 20ppm guidelines.

    But this highlights what we end up discussing here time and again: why produce gluten-free foods if they’re not consumable for people with celiac? If anyone should be eating gluten free for medical reasons, they should be meeting the GF criteria for the vast majority of people with celiac. Otherwise, “GF food” is just feeding the fad diet craze…

  3. If I saw the mike & mary disclaimer would say the same thing as the cookies : IF YOU CAN’T OR WON’T DO GLUTEN FREE RIGHT, DON’T DO IT AT ALL!!! I would rather have fewer safe choices than this dangerous gluten frenzy that keeps resulting in people poisoning me for a buck.
    There are enough commisary kitchens dedicated to gluten free that they can do batch runs at 3am if necessary. There is zero excuse for “not safe for celiacs” foods to be produced under a gluten free label.

    1. I fully agree! Though, Maui only recently had businesses with 100% gluten free kitchens, but they’re not shared. They are single operator. I’d love to see a group kitchen for gluten free production, but then again strict guidelines would need to be in place to prevent misuse of the kitchen and the use of ingredients of dubious safety.

  4. If you want the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies that you KNOW are safe, then make them yourself with this recipe:

    Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
    1 cup sugar(white for harder cookies, brown for soft)
    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 cup chocolate chips(gluten free of course)
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp baking soda

    Mix all ingredients together, folding in chocolate chips last.
    Scoop tablespoon size onto ungreased cookie sheet.
    Bake in oven at 325`F for about 10-12 minutes.
    *For awesome peanut butter cookies, make recipe without chocolate chips. Use a fork dipped in sugar and press a criss-cross pattern into cookies.

    This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies( I always double it!). They freeze very well. I like them best with 1/2 white & 1/2 brown sugar in mine. That way they’re soft but not so soft that they crumble in the freezer or while traveling. I hope you all enjoy them!

      1. My favorite subs for peanut butter are Sunbutter sunflower seed spread and Jif cashew butter. However, I have not tried them with this recipe, so I’m not sure how they’ll turn out. Let me know if you try it and how it works! 🙂 Oh and you can use crunchy if you prefer.

  5. Thanks so much for posting this. I am glad that there is finally recognition in our community that consuming foods on shared equipment with wheat can be a problem. A few years back I alluded to this on celiac.com and just about had my head torn off from people with Celiac Disease who told me that they didn’t get sick from eating GF foods on shared equipment and that I was overreacting! Luckily, I have a much stronger backbone now. And, we’ve had some excellent studies which have shown that between 40 to 60 percent of adults with Celiac Disease do not have adequate healing after 2 years on the gluten free diet…

  6. I know I’m going to be the bad guy here, but at least they are making what is a voluntary disclosure by saying anywhere on the package at all anything about wheat. Any sort of statement about a shared facility is not required, and just because a package doesn’t have that warning doesn’t mean that the contents aren’t manufactured in a shared facility or even on a shared line. It is now, and even with the new labeling law, will remain our responsibility to check on each and every item we wish to purchase by contacting the manufacturer if we don’t want things from shared facilities.

    That said, I am a huge HUGE fan of arepas. They are a staple food in my house. The single brand of flour I have available to make them from is PAN, which clearly has a “may contain” warning on it. The bakery I occasionally buy arepas at also uses this brand (again, because it is the only available) and they have a sign up stating that they regularly test it for the presence of gluten and have not ever in all the time they have been doing so ever had it test positive. So, just because something “may” contain doesn’t mean it does. I use my PAN flour happily eating up arepas knowing that one day there is the off chance it could bite me in the ass. If and when that happens, I’ll throw out the batch of flour I have and go buy new. I won’t stop eating arepas because they had a one off, we all have one off days.

    1. The “may contain gluten” label is a company protection manoeuver. Many places cannot afford the assays and screens necessary to assure that food is GF and so they do like PAN does because they want to be honest (and cover their own butts) even though they are really REALLY confident on the gluten issues. Doing the testing isn’t cheap, and some places, especially the small places, just can’t afford it.

    2. Although I agree and I am glad that they included the wheat warning, it is still misleading to label something “gluten-free” all over the box. A better label would have been: “no gluten ingredients used.”

      Also, I hope they decide to use separate equipment in the future. Seems like if you’re going to make cookies without gluten, might as well do it right. 🙂 (especially, when they’re that tasty!)

  7. “Gluten free” can also mean “no gluten ingredients are in this food”.
    So, a package with bold letters proclaiming “GLUTEN FREE”–is technically, not a lie. Under the new law, this will change.

    When restaurants offer a “gluten free menu”–they are just saying to the public: “look, these food items are inherently gluten free and we do not add anything with gluten to them as far as we know”. That’s the truth.

    but does that mean it is 100% safe for a celiac to consume it ? absolutely not.
    Your next question should always be…oh that’s great! now, how is it prepared? It’s not about the ingredients, it’s the prep.

    As for shared equipment, large companies know how to do this effectively. I, personally, do not eat anything made on shared lines–but this is just my preference because I also have soy, MSG and a few other intolerances and it gets tricky as they are often mass- produced together–

    however, it is true that MANY celiacs I know have no issues with “produced in a facility with products that may contain with wheat”. So, we cannot make a blanket statement that something is “not good enough” for all celiacs. It just does not apply in this case.

    I agree with Adalaide who says

    ” It is now, and even with the new labeling law, will remain our responsibility to check on each and every item we wish to purchase by contacting the manufacturer if we don’t want things from shared facilities.”

    …..and, hell, no, I would not eat these cookies. 🙂

  8. So glad you posted this. Unless the label says that it is made in a dedicated place, it goes right back on the shelf. I will eat my orange instead.

  9. This is nuts. Frito-Lay can manage gluten-free. (Cheetos and Doritos now say, “gluten-free” on the package.)

    And, “No, it’s not legal, under the current labeling.” To be gluten-free in a shared facility, they have to be able to say it’s less than 20 ppm wheat. Unless they’re ELISA testing every batch, what they are now doing is no longer legal.

    (Yay for the new regulations!)

  10. Hi there,
    Read your post, seems you are new to Celiac community!! 🙂
    There are many products that are like that, mentioning GF, but “made is a facility that …” or something similar. I can tell you many other products that are the same!! You should only get those that are “certified GF”.
    Recently FDA has put some new rules in labeling, which I think shall remove these types in near future.

  11. Adrianne Gentleman

    I’m so glad to live here in Australia, where Gluten Free, means “No Detectable Gluten”, and every batch must be tested. Currently they are trying to change it to 20ppm, but they have a fight on there hands.

  12. I agree that the Infiniti-T Cafe example is better than Bart & Judy, but…….I think it’s still inaccurate. “We do not recommend consumption of our gluten free foods by those with celiac disease”. Then they’re not really gluten free, are they? Don’t call them “gluten free foods” if they’re not. Just call them “foods”.

  13. Some day I hope here in the US we have labeling like Adrianne has in Australia – where the words “Gluten-Free” on the label actually mean free of gluten. Just makes me sick thinking how many people probably ate these thinking they were really gluten-free.

  14. It’s products like these that make me afraid to eat packaged gluten free food. What people need to understand is that we don’t just “don’t like” gluten or wheat because of our waistline or personal choice. Our bodies will shut down because of it, and we deserve for our dietary needs to be respected. So glad that the gluten-free community have great people and sites like these to keep everyone sated and safe.

  15. I’ve blogged on this topic many times, and received some pretty good maulings from people who think I’m being unreasonable by expecting that “gluten free” labelled foods should not have a disclaimer about “may contain wheat” on the packaging. If it “may contain wheat” then it’s not “gluten free”.

    The new FDA regs also apply to manufacturers supplying the US with food products, and specifically include that spelt IS wheat, for all those manufacturers out there who are advertising products made with spelt as “wheat free”.

  16. Websters dictionary
    Ox•y•mo•ron
    pronunciation/ak-se-mor-an
    a combination of or incongruous words (cruel kindness) ; broadly; something (as a concept) that’s made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
    Also; see; Bart & Judy’s Gluten free cookies

    Stacy Shapiro diagnosed CD 2005 uphill battle

  17. Arrgggggh..so offensive…the FDA needs to require companys to also include “ingesting this product may lead to lymphoma” ok my rant is over for today:)

  18. All you lib health freaks just have to have something about which to complain. You’re no going to die if you eat a little wheat. Man has been eating wheat for centuries.

    Now, I have been buying these cookies and there is no indication of “gluten-free” anywhere on the package. Get a life – – –

    1. Ahhh…Georgie. Let me guess…you hate Obama, don’t believe we landed on the moon, think 09/11 was an inside job, and despise the gubmint. Am I on the right path?

      1. I’m just thinking “georgie”‘s real name is bart! This reply tracks with the unplesant interactions I’ve had with him selling his poison rounds at stock show.

    2. Lib health freaks? Uh…eighth generation, sixteenth generation American here. I strongly support your right to consume fat, sugar and salt.

      I have also fired heavy artillery for fun, and had quite a gun collection at one point; I also believe it’s kinder to shoot Bambi, rather than let him starve in times of drought. I grew up in a town with five military bases, and several of my friends think Bush was a good guy.

      (I did vote for Obama, though.)

    3. Celiac Teacher

      If you don’t like the website, then leave. Celiac disease is extremely real and life threatening. Take your negativity elsewhere.

      P.S. They also make glutenous cookies with regular wheat flour, which would be why you cannot find “gluten free” on the package!

    4. Dr William Davis blows the Evil scientists and their connections outta the water. You are just a Goy for profit. It is what it is.

  19. Andrea Levario

    A bit ‘o sleuthing for the ‘owner’ of glutendude.org found via WHOIS

    Registrant Name: bart greenhut
    Registrant Organization: HealthPro
    Registrant Street: 2532 Strozier Ave.
    Registrant City: S. El Monte
    Registrant State/Province: California
    Registrant Postal Code: 91733
    Registrant Country: United States
    Registrant Phone: +1.6262580049

  20. *******Urgent*******
    “Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC recently tested a box of Bart and Judy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies for gluten contamination using the R5 ELISA Mendez method. The product tested well above 20 parts per million of gluten. Detailed test results are available only to subscribers of Gluten Free Watchdog. Test results provide a snapshot picture of the gluten content of this product at one point in time. There is no way of knowing without testing many more samples whether the results of the one sample tested are representative of the gluten content of this product as a whole.” For more information about Gluten Free Watchdog see http://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org. Written permission to post this statement was provided to subscribers of Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC.

  21. I know, right! I don’t have celiac, but I have gluten-intolerance; That means that I can eat foods that say “May contain: Wheat” (Keep in mind, it says MAY contain). I had this same encounter at a Kroger in Tennessee where I live… There was a box of cookies (Not a regular box; a box of cookies on a shelf that would obviously belong to some brand) that said “Gluten-Free” on it. I looked at the ingredients and it clearly listed Wheat as one of the allergens. I am eleven, so my mom was there with me… My mom was gluten-intolerant first, but luckily she didn’t have to stay the only one… About a year ago I discovered I was gluten-intolerant, too! After 3rd Grade and 4th Grade, where I had terrible stomach-aches almost EVERY DAY at school… I missed about 15 minutes of class because I had to stay in the bathroom for quite a while. I feel like a regular person being gluten-intolerant, and I don’t mind at all if someone forgets, I just go on with my day. This is a funny story, too! Hope I got to share mine in this comment.

  22. I found a box of these in a Homesense store in Canada.
    My alarm bells went off immediately, and I purchased the box. I then reported it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency .
    They came and took the box for testing. This was in September.
    Today I received a call that the cookies are not gluten free and are fraudulent in their clams on the packaging.
    Even if they were >20ppm, the package claims they are >5ppm and therefore are illegal.
    This is now going to Ottawa and they will not be allowed in Canada unless they are proven to be gluten free.

    Just thought I would share the update.
    He has been shut down North of the border now.

  23. Linda Hedrick

    They also don’t honor their “golden ticket” promo. I send in the required things weeks ago. Emailed Bart over a week ago. He said he’d get back to me the next day. Still waiting….

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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.

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