If you’ve got celiac disease, and since you are reading this post, I will assume you do, you most likely have eaten Pamela’s products at some point in your gluten-free life. If not eaten them, at least seen them on the store shelves. Here’s a little history for you, taken from their website:
Pamela’s was always made in a certified gluten-free facility on obviously dedicated equipment. Looking for proof? Yes I’ve come prepared. Below is the label on their [old] Pancake & Baking Mix.
As clear as day. One thing you may pick up on, which I never knew, is that their product was never made in a “dedicated” gf facility, but a “certified” one. It seems on the other side of the facility there were non-GF products being produced by another company. I’d like to assume they had all of the protocols in place to keep their products safe. But you know what can happen when you assume something. Tell ’em Felix:
Anyway, that brings us to today. I got a message on my app from someone that said “I have been using Pamela’s pancake and baking mix for years. I just noticed my newest bag says it is manufactured on equipment that processes wheat. Should I be concerned?”
Yep it’s true. Note the picture at the top of this post. Heck I’ll make it easier on you and repeat it here.
Notice the new packaging AND the new labeling. No certified facility and now using shared equipment. Not cool.
Let me first go over the legalities. Including the “shared facility” or “shared equipment” on packaging is completely voluntary. GF products you are eating right now may be made in/on a shared whatever, but the packaging may not say so. Yes…the laws always seem to favor the corporations over the people. Repeat after me: USA! USA! Ok…moving on.
But why oh why would Pamela’s change their production procedure and now use shared equipment? Well it turns out that Pamela’s was purchased by another company in 2019. Which company? Good question. It is Quinoa Corporation, the US group that does business as Ancient Harvest. But this is where it gets really confusing. Well to me at least but I do set a pretty low bar. As far as I can tell, all of Ancient Harvest products are gluten-free. Tell me if I’m wrong.
Here is my question to both Pamela’s and Ancient Grain: Why the hell did you not notify your customer base that the production practices had changed. I’ve looked on both websites and both Facebook accounts and I can’t see anything about now using shared equipment. For a company that has been supported by the celiac community for many, many years, this is lame/infuriating/bullshit. I personally will never eat a product that is made on shared equipment. A shared facility perhaps but depends on several factors.
And another question…if both Pamela’s and Ancient Grains both sell 100% GF products, who are they sharing equipment with. The whole thing is…off.
The point is our disease requires 100% transparency from these companies. Our health is at stake. And if you change your production methods, increasing the risk of cross-contamination, and don’t tell anyone, perhaps hoping no one would notice, well you lost my respect. And you certainly lost me as a customer.
Us celiacs are a loyal bunch. Be open and honest and we got your back. Pull crap like this and … speaking for myself … I’m outta here!