I’m not a mean-spirited guy. Honestly, I’m not. I’m a really nice guy. If I had friends you could ask them. (A classic line from the movie Splash.)
I don’t enjoy taking small companies to task. But if my choice is between calling out a company for their recklessness or ignoring the needs of the celiac community, I’ll take the company to task every…single…time.
Which brings us today to Lucy’s Granola. Somebody on Facebook yesterday sent me the picture to the right. The arrows were my touch.
In case your eyes are as bad as mine and you can’t quite make it out, the package says “Practically Gluten Free”.
Although I got a laugh out of it, I didn’t think too much of it. I just figured it was a lame attempt to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon.
But then I checked out the company’s website and OH MY GOD!!
They have a Questions section on the site. A basic FAQ type of thing. One of the questions is “Can I eat Lucy’s Granola if I have Celiac Disease (gluten-intolerance)?”
And here is the scary answer: An emphatic “Yes!” Lucy makes a Gluten-Free Granola for those who can’t eat wheat or related products. She began making it when she herself was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. She replaced the wheat flakes, bran and germ with delicious gluten-free oats, seeds and the immensely popular addition of natural puffed rice.
I’m thinking…”Ok…that’s cool…she must have a completely gluten-free granola in her product line made in a completely gluten-free facility.”
So I hopped over to her products page. Every single one of her products contains both wheat germ and wheat bran. Every single one EXCEPT the “Practically Gluten Free” one.
Is that really the one she is talking about? Indeed it is.
Actually, on her site, even though the package says “Practically Gluten Free”, she simply calls it “Gluten-Free Granola”. It does not contain wheat germ or bran but instead gluten-free oats. But then there’s an asterisk that says “Made in a kitchen that processes gluten products.”
What kitchen? Ahhh…good question grasshopper.
Is it a big factory where perhaps they can keep the gluten products far from the gluten-free ones to minimize the cross-contamination?
Nope. It’s the kitchen in their home.
Each batch is made by hand by their family, including their teenage daughters and their six year old son (who stacks and counts).
And I found something even more interesting doing an image search on Google. The package used to say “Gluten Free”, not “Practically Gluten Free”. I can only assume she changed it when she received some complaints.
This really bums me out. I love small businesses. I especially love family-owned and operated businesses. In this greedy world of Wal Marts, Home Depots, Best Buys and tons of other mega-stores, I still root for the little guy.
But Lucy’s fails on multiple counts. Not only does she label her product gluten-free when it’s really not, she goes ahead and states that it’s completely safe for celiacs. This is just plain wrong.
So Lucy…if you are reading this, here is what I say to you:
I’m rooting for you. I wish you absolutely no ill will whatsoever. You seem like a good person. Heck, you even got a mention in the New York Times. Kudos to you.
But you must take down the verbiage on your site that says your granola is safe for celiacs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Your granola is poison to us. People with celiac disease cannot risk eating your product and it is irresponsible for you to suggest otherwise.
Many thanks for listening and if I can assist you in any way possible, don’t hesitate to ask.