Fear and Misinformation – Brought to You by Udi’s

gluten free cocktails

I have nothing against Udi’s. Honestly. But I do wonder who is running the show over there because they simply cannot get their sh*t together.

First, they can’t seem to fix the holes in their bread so it doesn’t look like swiss cheese.

Then they officially partner with Smashburger, even when Smashburger themselves say their gluten-free burgers run a high risk of cross-contamination and are not recommended for celiacs.

And now THIS. Fear and misinformation. (Click it to read their ridiculous Facebook post and by all means, feel free to leave a comment.)

It fails on every single level. Well…there are only two levels, but it fails miserably on both of them.

Failure 1 – Fear: “Be wary of hidden gluten in cocktails – most are not gluten-free!”

Rubbish. Absolute rubbish.

cocktails that are gluten freeNon-flavored vodka, gin, tequila, rum, scotch, whiskey, bourbon — ALL GLUTEN FREE.

Club soda, tonic water, coke, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice — ALL GLUTEN FREE.

How’s this list? Americano, Brave Bull, Cosmopolitan, Daquiri, Elephant Lips, Firefly, Gibson, Hanky Panky, Income Tax, Jewel, Kamikaze, Lemon Drop, Manhattan, New York, Old Fashioned, Planters Punch, Queen’s Cousin, Rusty Nail, Screwdriver, Tequila Sunrise, Uncle Alex, Vodka Sour, Wisp of Evil, XYZ, Yellow Bird, Zombie

All. Gluten. Free. (Not to mention a fun 26 days and one heck of a hangover.)

So tell me Udi’s. How are MOST cocktails not gluten-free? Most cocktails actually ARE gluten-free.

Why are you spreading unwarranted fear to your 1.4 million followers?

Failure 2 – Misinformation: “When in doubt, try some of our favorite gluten-free beverages like Omission Beer.”

This one blows me away. With a handful of amazing gluten FREE beers on the market now (Groundbreaker, Glutenberg, Greens), why promote a gluten REMOVED beer when pretty much all experts and the majority of celiacs say Omission cannot be trusted?

Omission is not gluten-free. Omission is not legally allowed to be labeled gluten-free. There is no reliable test to determine the gluten-level in Omission.

Yet Udi’s, largest gluten-free company on the planet, thinks it’s ok to promote it as gluten-free.

Udi’s got some sh*t for this and here is their canned response: “The fans of our page include a mix of those with celiac disease as well as those who choose to be gluten-free because it makes them feel better.”

And this somehow makes it ok to spread lies and fear?

Udi’s…you have lost your way.

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53 thoughts on “Fear and Misinformation – Brought to You by Udi’s”

      1. This is true! However, some of the cost conscious (less expensive) brands will “extend” the end product with some liquid after distillation. (I am prohibited from mentioning names due to professional associations.) One needs to always check with the manufacturer to ensure that distillation is the only way that anything ends up in the end product.

      2. How do they know that the distillation process removes all gluten, but aren’t able to test whether gluten is brewed out of omission?

  1. I have reacted to whisky, so I don’t trust the process. I prefer to err on the side of safety and avoid scotch and whisky and other grain-based vodkas.

      1. This is the best answer you could have given and one of the many reasons I respect you in the gf community. Every one is different and no two celiacs react to gluten the same so it makes sense that people won’t react the same to other things as well. I completely understand why the claim that distilled liquors are gf yet I react almost immediately to whiskey/scotch/bourbon and a few other alcohols. An omission beer once knocked me on my ass for days in college. Lesson learned.

    1. Likewise. I saw that list and grimaced. Whiskey, scotch, bourbon and even vodka often are not actually gluten free and the distillation process doesn’t remove it like some try to claim. I’ve reacted to all of the above and just swore them off entirely unless I know a specific brand uses non gluten grains or as with vodka, actual potatoes.

  2. Gluten Dude…I am going to cheers this great post with one of the GroundBreaker cans that should be arriving on my doorstep via FedEx tomorrow!

  3. I’m also sick of their ‘different levels’ bull. According to the FDA, there is only supposed to be one range – 20 ppm or less. Gluten free was formalized by the FDA to be at a level that protects people with celiac disease. This level also protects everyone else who chooses to eat gluten free.

    “The final rule provides a uniform standard definition to help consumers with celiac disease manage a gluten-free diet.” http://www.fda.gov/…/ConstituentUpdates/ucm407867.htm

    1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really do much to protect people with severe celiac disease as less than 20ppm can still cause a reaction for some if there was cross contamination in the facility and things aren’t entirely dedicated gluten free. They just can’t detect less than 20 ppm, so as far as they’re concerned, it may or may not be gluten free, but since they can’t find it, to them it may as well be.

  4. Ugh. This is why I stopped following many of the GF brands on social media – in an attempt to stay “Active” they post these stupid memes and without checking them out first.

  5. Thanks for the info, Gluten Dude! I agree with you about the Udi buns at smashburger being cross contaminated and have opted to steer clear. And, as much as this celiac would love a great pizza, I think the Udi crust deal with Pizza Hut should also be questioned. I know the chain agreed to be more cautious, providing GF areas, etc; however, last time I looked, it was teenagers running our local Pizza Hut. I think I’ll just stick to my cocktails. (:

  6. Yes–distilled liquor even if made from gluten grains IS gluten free. But many still react as if they were ingesting gluten. It’s quite common and apparently there is no answer to what type of fragment of protein is making it’s way into it, but those of us who deal with extra sensitivities to anything made from gluten grains know the answer.

    More and more Celiac’s are coming to realize that Paleo Grain Free is the most effective way to keep Celiac symptoms in remission—so Udi’s and all the crappy GF beers left this household C.2011.

  7. Thanks for clearing that up! I am only 3 months into my new celiac life and I got really worried that “most” cocktails weren’t gluten free!

  8. Betsy in Michigan

    I commented on their FB page, for whatever that’s worth. What a bunch of putzes (I didn’t call them that there). Brings to mind the saying that “50% of all people are of below average intelligence….”. Oh well. That’s we we all appreciate GOOD information, Dude.

  9. Given that the “gluten free makes me feel better” crowd (the fadders, not the NCGS) often doesn’t care about cross contamination, and given that Udi’s is apparently catering to them, I’m now a bit wary about Udi’s commitment to its food being truly gluten free.

    See ya later Udi’s, plenty of other companies out there that know that the Celiacs are their real target market.

  10. [b]”“The fans of our page include a mix of those with celiac disease as well as those who choose to be gluten-free because it makes them feel better.”[/b]

    WHAT THE HECK……. does that mean????????????????????????????
    Gluten free should mean FREE OF GLUTEN.
    NOT some amount some moron’s whose only concern is $$ chooses to decide is “low enough”.

    I am so standing here beside myself. I am sick of moron’s deciding “a little bit can’t hurt us”. It is all about the almighty $$. When did human life stop being primary?

  11. Maria Whittle

    Any idea about “Not Your Father’s Root Beer”? It’s an alcoholic root beer that tastes just like the soft drink kind. I can’t find anything about its gluten content.

  12. I have a $2,600 ER bill to prove that Omission is not gluten free!! Don’t you believe it! I suggest we just leave Udi’s in the freezer case. There are several good choices on the market and more coming every day. A far cry better than it was 9 years ago when I was diagnosed.

  13. Partly because I got tired of trying to figure it all out and also because of multiple food allergies, I eat pretty much only whole foods now and gave up alcohol 6 months ago. And I don’t miss any of it! I feel good, the food I make tastes way better than the processed crap, and my focus is on other things now rather than food. I can also spend that money I save on cooler things, like a new ground pad for backpacking…

    Ok, not the point I know. Totally irresponsible of UDI’s and they should be smacked.

    1. I recently tried Green’s for the first time-all three kinds. It is indeed excellent, but way too expensive to keep buying. I tried it to see what’s possible with gluten free so I can possibly brew my own in the future. How about a future post about homebrewing dude? For now I am sticking to New Grist. Pity Green’s is so expensive. They’d sell alot more if it was affordable.

    2. I like your hat! And the shadows, too. I got excited about the Midnight Violet. Very “Ruby Slippers”. hee hee!Poor Tabs! At least he’s keeping his handsome face in the shade. Wrinkle prevention is an important thing and we know that large brimmed hats can wreak havoc on his fur.

  14. Hey Dude way to go on calling out Udi’s I stopped buying their bread. the baguettes are ok tho. As for booze damn straight about that. But what are your thoughts about budweiser. Says it’s made with rice and literature available says the distillation process neutralizes the malt used.

    1. “neutralizes the malt”
      That is meaningless!!! We have to be concerned with GLUTEN not malt.
      Then there is the question: “What the heck does “neutralize malt” really mean? I have no idea!

      Sounds like legal double talk for DO NOT DRINK their beer.

      1. I also react to grain-based alcohol that is triple-distilled and supposed to be GF. Stick with wine, tequila, non-spiced rum, or potato vodka (like Chopin). Also discovered that Smirnoff’s vodka is make from corn and I do OK with that. Boy do I miss bourbon!

      2. Grain alcohols in products like cooking spray are usually corn. Malt for beer is usually ( maybe always? Not an expert here) from barley. Semantics are important for us with CD, but my guess is they are implying that the gluten In The malt is neutralized. U r right. Unclear!

    2. // But what are your thoughts about budweiser. Says it’s made with rice and literature available says the distillation process neutralizes the malt used.//
      ???!
      There’s no distillation process involved in brewing beer.

      While it’s possible that brewery processing may produce a beverage with no detectable gluten, that does not mean that the beverage in question is free of substances that will produce a reaction in the gluten intolerant or celiac person. Testing for such things is limited at best.

  15. The only thing I can come up with is perhaps they are working off a few of the big chain’s bar menus? For MONTHS I couldn’t figure out why the frilly heck half the time I ate at PF Changs, I felt like I had been glutened and half the time I felt totally fine. Because we don’t eat out often, it’s enough of a special occasion that when I DO go out to eat, I’ll usually splurge a bit and order a drink of the adult variety with my meal. The food always seemed fine, the ingredients listed for the drink were all safe, what was going on, and why so randomly fine, fine, oh god NOT fine, fine.. not fine. Crap. Stop going? It took one brilliant waitress to finally get it figured out for me… the woman damn near Superman flew between the bar server and our table with a literal shriek one night, getting a “No, not Ryan’s drinks! She can’t have those!” Confused, at first I thought my cocktail had some weird back bar name, because I had ordered some frilly citrus drink that certainly wasn’t called “Ryan’s” ~anything~. Nope. The bar usually didn’t have any clue about the health state of the drink’s customer and there was no real crossover between the bar and the kitchen. No little “GF” stickynote for glasses the way they have special plates to ensure at a glance who is getting what and what to watch for.

    Which is how it never occurred to me that bartender’s often have their own personal way of mixing drinks. It’s their flare, how they set themselves apart…

    and “Ryan” liked to swirl a top quality BEER in most of the fruity cocktail glasses, tip it out and add in the drink ‘because it helps cut the sweet and allows the more subtle notes to shine through’.

    Yeah. It wasn’t a listed ingredient and a bunch of bartenders I’ve spoken to since have been surprised that adding just a small ‘floater’ of beer into an unsuspecting customer’s drink is a bad idea. FOOD service people get the talks, the lectures, the miniclasses. They get questioned 6 ways from Sunday about ingredients and safety. The bartenders…. usually just mix and pour. Keep an eye out for patrons getting too hammered, watch out for underage drinkers. But allergies? I mean, a local bar got in trouble a few years ago when their house cocktail nearly killed someone – they had been adding a bit of nut oils to a few alcohols as flavor boosters… never thinking about nut allergies. Patrons can be unaware of the ingredients of almost every drink, bars differ, ~bartenders~ all make the same drink a bit differently and if you aren’t watching the pour… tough to manage in a crowded loud bar, it’s easy to get hit.

    But that calls for bars to be educated, for restaurants to train the bar staff as well as the food side of things… NOT for some idiot blanket call for fear about cocktails. And a massive company like Udi’s should know better… but seriously. It’s Udi’s. They have proven to be, at best, clueless idiots and at worst money grubbing fear mongering twits.

    That said? Unless I’m at a bar I know well (and these days that’s just the one my friend owns. There? I can just tell whoever is waiting on me to just tell whoever is working at the moment that I’m here, send me what they want – they know what’s safe and seem weirdly into playing mad alchemist for me – and to hurry out when they can so they can share one with me if they have a moment. But I will only do that there, never just blindly in a new place.) I either just get a cranberry and vodka – no additions or subtractions please (under the idea it’s a drink even my CAT should be able to manage if set up for her, so it should be safe everywhere. Please god.) – or nurse a glass of wine or a shot of a single alcohol. A loud crowded bar isn’t a place I really want to do the celiac lecture and impromptu food safety class. But cocktails as a general rule, mixed by someone who isn’t trying to get sneakily creative? No. Those aren’t dangerous. Except to possibly your head and dignity in the morning….

  16. I don’t even buy Udi’s anymore, it’s too expensive and spoils too fast. Trader Joe’s is pretty much the only bread I buy anymore and these days I’ve just given up eating bread period.

  17. Wow just discovered your awesome blog after reading an article in Simply Gluten Free magazine. I totally agree with you on all counts regarding Udi’s I stopped using their products last year, but now you’ve got me thinking about beer. Daura Damm is also crafted to remove gluten, should I avoid drinking it?

  18. I understand that scotch is gluten free. Then why do I react to johnny walker black and even some single malts? Rum and Titos is fine. I would love to find a scotch I can drink. Any ideas?

    1. I’m a bit late to the game, having just now discovered this blog. But the reason you react to the single malts is because of the malt. Malt is made with barley…and barley is a gluten-containing grain. The three big ones I’ve learned to watch out for consistently are wheat, barley, and rye. I’m still working on finding the other smaller, less consistent things that I react to myself. I’ve learned it’s one thing to know how to prepare gluten free food for the grandma that visits occasionally and quite another to have to be concerned about it for myself. I don’t know enough about alcohol (not being a big drinker myself) to be able to fully explain above the simple malt and barley answer! Hope you got it all figured out before now!

  19. FYI; Gin is always flavored. Depending on the brand, gin could feasibly contain gluten. Makers of spirits are not compelled to list their ingredients either, they’re considered proprietary. Get to know your brands.

  20. Careful with blanket statements; there are several distilled alcohols that DO contain gluten, whether to clarify/filter the product, additives, etc.

    One that comes to mind is Don Julio tequila; definitely NOT gluten-free. I’ve also had reactions to Bombay Sapphire.

    “Gluten-removing enzymatic” processes as used for Omission are not safe. Green’s for the win! Their dubbel and tripel should be GF and are labeled as such.

    Cheers!

  21. I think you and I just had our first disagreement!

    Your post starts with “I have nothing against Udi’s”, and my response was – ugh, I hate Udi’s. Yes, I know the “h” word is a strong one, but it’s true. I haven’t trusted them for years. When Glutino first made Genius bread, I was in HEAVEN! Loved it. After a year or so, I noticed that I started getting sick after eating it. They didn’t change the name, but they changed the provider ingredients to cheaper companies, and voila, they’re putting out another crap product.

    That was when I found out Genius is a company: http://www.geniusglutenfree.com/en_gb

    And, I found the incestuous relationship among the gluten free “brands” available. Pretty much all the same leadership with different names slapped onto them.

    Sadly, I can no longer get Genius products because they’re fresh, and they don’t ship to the U.S.

  22. This article is rubbish. Shame on you.
    Udis is literally the only brand that I consider to always be 100% gluten free.
    Omg, your bread has holes in it. Deal with it like a man and just east it.

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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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