Update on 11/22/11: Amy’s Kitchen has graciously responded to the following post. See the comments section below the post.
This is not going to be an anti-Amy’s post. Honestly, it’s not. This is really more about the FDA than anything else, but I am using Amy’s as an example because they seem like good people who care about their customers a great deal and if we can get them to make a change, perhaps others will follow suit.
Take a look at the above picture and you tell me what seems amiss. (C’mon…I’ve even highlighted it to help you out.)
If you want to call your foods gluten-free, you simply cannot make it in a facility that processes wheat.
I’ve had celiac disease for five years and am as sensitive as they come. I swear if there is a bread-crumb within a half mile of me, I get sick. If there is the slightest risk that I could get glutened, I simply won’t eat the food.
But this was not always the case. Upon my diagnosis, I did what I’m sure most new celiacs do. I headed to the store and raided the gluten-free aisle. Sure the prices were triple what the exact the same item would cost if it had no gluten. But hey…I can have pizza still! Woo-hoo! And this is the way I ate for a bit. Funny thing is, I wasn’t healing. I constantly felt ill. Then I began checking the labels of the so-called gluten free foods and I’d say half of them were made in a facility that processes wheat.
Was this causing me to get sick? Who knows for sure. But the fact is, because of the FDA dragging their heels and standardizing what “gluten-free” really means, any schmoe can boast that their product is gluten free. The following is directly from the FDA website:
Currently, there is no FDA regulation that defines the term “gluten-free.” However, FDA has not objected to the use of the term “gluten-free” in the labeling of foods, provided that when such a claim is made, it is truthful and not misleading.
Ummm…ok…so we just need to trust the companies that they are putting people ahead of profits. Uh-huh. Call me a skeptic, but when has this ever been the case?
Which brings me back to Amy’s. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to run their business. But as I said earlier, you seem like one of the good guys. But I will not eat any of your products because they are made in a facility that processes wheat. And how many others are out there like me? I wonder how much business you’re losing. Perhaps a little. Perhaps a lot.
My question to you is this. Would you consider building a separate facility for all of your foods that you label gluten-free so it removes all risk of cross-contamination? I know it’s a large added cost, but with all due respect, the above pizza was $8.99 in the store yesterday. That must make a tidy profit for you.
So Andy and Rachel…I challenge you to be an industry-leader and set an example for others to follow. Don’t wait for the FDA. Think of all of the celiacs you’ll make happy. And dang it, you’ll just feel good about yourselves.
And of course, I will once again buy your products. They really are delicious!