Ok…3 things right off the bat:
- Remember when I used to blog 2 to 3 times per week? Yeah…so do I. So where have I been? Busy. Real busy. Most of my “celiac” time is now put toward my mobile app, social media and other ways I can advocate. But still…this is my 764th blog post so not too shabby. I’ll try to keep up.
- Yes…the picture above is from the newer Total Recall. Blasphemy I know! But I already used Arnold when talking about the Canyon Bakehouse recall. So “ANOTHER RECALL?!” has two meanings in one. Aren’t I the clever one?
- I must give credit and thanks to Tricia over at Gluten Free Watchdog (GFWD), as she is someone who stays on top of these recalls and puts the effort into contacting the companies, testing the products, contacting the FDA, etc. Kudos to Tricia.
So yeah, more recalls for gluten found in…wait for it…gluten FREE products. First let’s go over the products that have been recalled recently and then we’ll try to tackle what the hell we can do about it.
Recent Product Recalls
Product: Salsa Texan GF Tortillas
Date: Autumn 2021 (and yes the FDA just announced the recall yesterday!)
What’s being recalled: All coconut flour tortillas sold nationwide via The Salsa Texan’s Instagram and Facebook platforms and at several farmer’s markets in Texas throughout the months of August and September 2021 are being recalled.
What happened: “A mother reached out to the GFWD claiming that her daughter had fallen ill after eating one of Salsa Texan’s gluten-free coconut flour tortillas in November of last year. GFWD advised the consumer to send the tortillas out for testing and the results were shocking. The gluten-free tortilla was found to have ‘65,000 parts per million of gluten,’ only a little less than the regular wheat flour which has about 100,000 parts per million of gluten.” (source: mashed.com)
Company reaction: They are “investigating our production line so we can figure out where these contaminants entered the process” and they say they won’t make any more of these until they learn what happened.
Dude reaction: 65,000ppm?? That’s…using calculator…A LOT MORE THAN THE LEGAL LIMIT OF 20ppm. I’m actually speechless about this one. Me speechless? Exactly.
Product: Cavendish Farms Original Hash Brown Patties
Date: March 2022
What’s being recalled: The Original Hash Brown Patties in question come in 42.3-ounce packages and have been distributed throughout nine states that include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The hash browns have been removed from shelves at ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, and Fairway Market. Check for best before date “2024 FE 01” stamped on the side with UPC code 056210342171. (source: FDA)
What happened: They ain’t saying.
Company reaction: They ain’t talking.
Dude reaction: If the company won’t tell us HOW it happened, why should we ever trust them again?
Product: Frickenschmidt Foods ‘Ready-to-eat teriyaki beef sticks’
Date: February 2022
What’s being recalled: 1.5 oz. individually sealed packages of “HIGH PROTEIN SNACK TERIYAKI BEEF WICKED CUTZ BEEF STICK” with lot code 113022, 120122, or 012823 printed in blue ink on the back of the product package. The products subject to recall bears establishment number “M33928,” which is printed in blue ink on the back of the product package. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide and sold through online sales. (source: USDA)
What happened: The problem was discovered when the distribution company notified the establishment that the product is labeled as “gluten free” but lists wheat in the ingredients statement.
Company reaction: [crickets]
Dude reaction: I could make a snide comment about eating beef sticks whether you have celiac disease or not, but I’ll bite my tongue. As for the company…f**k em.
And of course, we all remember the Cheerios recall.
There’s more but you get the point. On top of this, GFWD and others have posted A LOT of products that are labeled gluten-free but have gluten-containing ingredients which, you know, is ILLEGAL. Multiple complaints to the FDA seem to go unanswered. You think the FDA would be this silent if these were nut-free items that contained nuts? Of course not (and I’m not comparing celiac to nut allergies…just making a point.)
What can we do about it?
Scream? Cry? Live in fear? No. No. No.
Two things need to happen. First, we need to spend our money wisely by supporting companies who do things right. This means supporting the small businesses who understand the severity of celiac disease. And not the conglomerates who put profit over people every…damn…time. We gotta hit ’em where it hurts.
Secondly, these companies need to be fined. Big time. I love that when a recall is announced, the company is sure to say they are doing in “voluntarily’ like it’s a noble gesture or something. Listen to this drivel that the Salsa Texan put out:
Possibly contained some gluten?!? 65,000ppm!
It wasn’t possibly. It was.
It wasn’t some. It was tons.
I get it. Mistakes can happen. But these companies have to pay for their mistakes. So fine the hell out of them. Money seems to be the only language most of these companies understand. If we speak their language, perhaps they’ll listen to us.
By the way, here’s a short video of what happens if I eat gluten: