This one hurt. This one felt personal. They warned me. Never develop an emotional relationship with gluten-free brands. But dang…Canyon Bakehouse. Really?!
Sure…we’ve had recalls before. Who can forget the Cheerios sh*tstorm, when 1.8 million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios were recalled because of wheat flour entering their gluten free oat flour system (a system that sucks by the way)?
And there was the time when Bob’s Red Mill had a recall because their gluten-free flour had too much gluten in it. Huh?
And who can forget when Hepworth had to recall their gluten-free beer (which was actually gluten-removed…don’t get me started) because…wait for it…it contained EXCESSIVE LEVELS OF GLUTEN (and yes, I’m shouting.)
But Canyon Bakehouse? Man oh man. We were friends. We went back a long ways. You were actually my first kiss.
For those of you unaware, it was announced yesterday that there was a recall of two Canyon Bakehouse items due to gluten exposure. Here’s the official release:
The products being recalled were distributed to retail customers in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The recall was initiated after finished product testing revealed the possible presence of gluten.
No related illnesses or incidents have been reported to date. Following is information about the products involved in the recall. People should not consume products if both the UPC and Lot Number are noted on the package. The Lot Number is printed on the plastic closure that seals the bag.
Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White Bread
Canyon Bakehouse Everything Bagels
Let’s parse this with some quick GD comments:
- I detest when they use the words “voluntarily recall” like they are doing us a favor. Every single company seems to use this language. You’re not heroes…trust me.
- How do they exactly know there have been no reported illnesses? When I get glutened, it’s a 2 day delay before I feel like crap. I usually have no idea what the culprit was. And based on my Facebook feedback alone, it seems a lot of people have been getting sick lately who have been eating their bread, never expecting Canyon Bakehouse could be the cause.
- Guess what is sitting in my fridge right now? CB Mountain White Bread and CB Everything Bagels. I kid you not. I rarely eat bread but my Dudette is gluten and dairy free and CB is the only brand that is somewhat consistently good. It seems my area was not affected though. It should be noted that there was no Lot Number on the Mountain Bread package. Not good.
Now a little history lesson. There will be a quiz afterwards but it will be open book so no need to worry.
Canyon Bakehouse started in 2009 after co-founder Christi Skow was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The Canyon Bakehouse mission was to make high-quality, great-tasting gluten-free breads. And life was good for the celiac community. We all needed an alternative to awful Udi’s and Canyon Bakehouse delivered. Within 8 years, they employed 206 people and operated in a 165,625-square-foot bakery with two production lines.
They delivered so well that in 2018, the company was purchased by Flower Foods for…gulp…$205 million. Absolute kudos to Christi and her co-founders, who stayed on board as part of the sale. You may be asking who the heck Flower Foods is. Great question. Flowers Foods, Inc. is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States with 2017 sales of $3.9 billion. They operate bakeries across the country that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among their other brands? Wonder and Tastykake. Puke and pukier.
These sales occur all the time and I get it. Yay capitalism. But we all know what happens when a publicly traded conglomerate buys a small business. The main focus becomes the shareholders instead of the customers. Instead of all decisions being based on what is best for the consumer, it’s based on what is best for the bottom line. Again…yay capitalism.
The history lesson is over and now we’re back to the present.
I announced the recall on Facebook last night at 6:42. The reaction was immediately visceral. As of right now, the post has gotten over 358 comments and 469 shares. And to a tee, everyone feels betrayed; shocked; and really, really angry.
So what has Canyon Bakehouse said about all of this? To their credit, they’ve been open. Last night, they made the following announcement:
Providing safe and delicious foods to those with food sensitivities is foundational for our company. We extend our deepest apologies for letting you down. We will be conducting a full-scale audit of our shipping and inventory management practices to ensure this does not happen again.
I actually received a long email last night from the CB Marketing Director, who I’ve had a working relationship with for years. She’s a good person and I cannot imagine the panic within their company right now. Here’s a blurb of what she said to me:
I appreciate the fact that she emailed me. I’d like to think it’s sincere and not dictated by their legal team. The problem is they have no idea how it happened. Or they do and they are not telling us. And that’s huge.
So what’s next? How do they gain the trust of the celiac community again? In my opinion, here are the questions they need to answer asap, with complete honesty and transparency.
- I’ll start with the biggest and most obvious one: How the hell does a product get contaminated when it’s produced in a 100% gluten-free facility??
- Step by step, what is the procedure for getting CB products from production to the shelves and where exactly is the risk involved?
- Within this procedure, what specifically will be changing to ensure it never happens again?
- When/how/where will you be announcing the results of your audit and will you be 100% transparent? Hint: the answer better be yes.
- What are you going to do to earn the trust of the celiac community again?
- This great question came from Maya Tomasello on Facebook: How is it that these 2 variants are contaminated and contain gluten, when their other varieties are ‘safe’? Are they produced on a separate line? How is this line still in production when gluten was/is present?
Any other questions you’d like answered? Leave them below.
And a final message to Flower Foods & Canyon Bakehouse. The celiac community is a tight-knit and loyal bunch. Take care of us and we’ll love you forever. Screw with us and the gloves are off.