Buyer Beware

Saturday

Not All Juice Is Created Equal


Here we have a surprising source of gluten - Juice! 

Thankfully the container hints that it is not gluten-free, with the photo of wheat and the word "Cereal" on the front. 

Red wheat bran, oat, wheat, and barley are clearly labeled in the ingredients list.


Don't worry, though, most juice is still gluten-free and I don't expect a huge surplus of gluten containing juices to hit the market. 

As always, we should still read labels to ensure product safety. You never know where you will unexpectedly find wheat/gluten!



Ingredients

Fruit juice from concentrate (water, apple, cherry, banana, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry) purées, concentrated concord grape (sulfites) and lemon juices, yogurt powder, ground whole grains and seeds blend (oat, wheat, rice, chia, quinoa, barley), red wheat bran, natural flavor, vitamin C. Contains: milk, oat, wheat and barley.





Monday

Presidents Choice Launches Gluten Free Product Line

Display in bakery department at RCSS


Notice that Spelt Cookies are at far right of display on both shelves.  

 Stuff like this really concerns me. Hubby and I have different views on the matter. He feels that everyone should notice that the cookies are Spelt and that they are technically at the end of the display with no GF label near the price tag.

 Although constant vigilance is a must, I find displays like this can confuse people. I read and re -read every label. Thats just my nature. For someone gathering groceries on a busy day, they may see the Gluten Free sign and grab something without first verifying that it is indeed Gluten Free. When I read the label for the Spelt cookies I noticed something a little scary. Something that will probably confuse many who are new to the GF diet or poorly educated in regards to it. The label stated that the cookies contain a Gluten similar to Wheat Gluten. Some people may think that this is actually safe for them to eat when in fact it is quite harmful.


Another thing that will likely confuse people into purchasing this non GF product is that the displays seem to vary by location. Some locations have only Gluten Free food in the display, while locations like mine have it slightly mixed with Gluten containing products to both the right and left. 




End cap in "Natural Selection" aisle

Hopefully this is just a learning curve and Real Canadian Superstore will change it up. I sampled the Presidents Choice Gluten Free Bread today and will have a review up soon.


Dominos Canada And The Not So Gluten Free Crust







So it begins....Dominos Canada now offers a Gluten Free Crust with a small side of disclaimer.

Clearly they did not get the message about offering a Gluten Free product that does not remain that way. See  my post-Dearest Domino's regarding their American introduction of this not so Gluten Free pizza.

Why oh whyyyy?

Why not just call it carb friendly or health wise? Something of that nature would be a lot more acceptable as it is not misleading in any way.

I don't understand the effort to target a specific group of people if you cannot and will  not properly accommodate them? I'm not saying that Celiac Disease owns Gluten Free, but to us those words represent safety. Gluten Free means we should not have to look for fine print or legal disclaimers.



Do we see sorta Kosher food or almost nut free items? No, we sure don't! So why is it that Celiac Disease does not get understanding and respect?

Canada is usually pretty on the ball with the safety of Gluten Free products. This whole Dominos debacle bothered me so much that I contacted the Canadian Celiac Association. They take matters like this very seriously and are now looking into it.


I want to thank Sue Newell of the Canadian Celiac Association for responding to my concern. and I am happy to say that they have posted a notice to their members in regards to this issue. 


When Sue contacted  Dominos Canada, she received a  very well worded and sneaky response

"I spoke to the legal representative for Dominos Canada today and he told me that they are selling a gluten-free crust, but not a gluten-free pizza. To me, that is trying to skirt a very fine line."


According to Sue, she also contacted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ,and the issue at hand has been referred to the Retail Food Program for discussion.

Clearly, Celiac Awareness is needed. Scary.
The Canadian Celiac Association is looking to work with Dominos to develop a standard that would allow them to sell a 100% GF pizza, not just a crust. While I commend this effort, I do see it as a lost cause. Dominos is a very small store storefront and cannot provide a safe handling area. If they want to serve Gluten Free pizza the right way. They should serve pre made Gluten Free pizza that is sealed in a heatproof container until the customer opens it. This prevents any and all risk of cross contamination as it would be sealed before leaving the production factory and remain that way throughout the serving process.

I don't see this being a difficult option as Domino's already goes the length to ensure that the crust is Gluten Free. They just can't/won't/don't provide an area to have this crust remain Gluten Free.

All in all, the effort to serve a GF crust if there is zero intent on having it remain that way continues to baffle me.





Wednesday

Dearest Domino's



 Dearest Domino's Pizza,

You have probably noticed by now that the Celiac community is less then enthused with your offering of Gluten Free Pizza. Really, why call it Gluten Free  when it actually  ends up not being so. I understand that the crust itself is indeed Gluten Free, but once your employees handle it all that Gluten Free safeness is out the window. "Appropriate for those with mild gluten sensitivity" Not recommend it for those with Celiac Disease".
 Seriously? What are you trying to accomplish?





In my personal opinion, if you are going to offer a Gluten Free pizza, shouldn't it remain just that? I get that it's not only Celiac's who eat Gluten Free. The difference between us and  bandwagon yuppies   Kim Kardashian, Gwyenth Paltrow, and the rest of the posse is that Celiac's MEDICALLY REQUIRE 100% GLUTEN FREE FOOD! Did you catch that? The fact that you are even marketing it as  Gluten Free  blows my mind. Would you market something Peanut  Free but only suggest it to only those who have a "minimal intolerance"? Probably not. Just like you would not sell a Vegetarian Pizza that is dripped in meat sauce.


Please understand that I am not out to get you. You are just going about it the money making  wrong way. I mean sheesh, why not just label the darn thing "low carb" for crying out loud. Your twitter feed the other day sort of made me laugh. I had to or my eyes would have exploded at the shear ignorance of what you are doing. Sure, go ahead and tweet well known celebs who credit being  Gluten Free  for their amazing bodies, about your new Gluten Free pizza. Not a sham at all! You do realize that these people have personal chefs, fitness trainers and their photos get a healthy dose of that neato thing called Photoshop.




What was the point in partnering with the NFCA? Credentials perhaps? Neither of you recommend this pizza to those with Celiac.So what it is then? Are you secretly hoping that Gluten Free will be the next big thing and then when you are overflowing with money, you will actually offer pizza that stays Gluten Free? Or is it that you are hoping Celiac's in desperate need of something new and quick to eat will see GLUTEN FREE and order without questioning? Sure they can't sue or anything because you disclaimed the hell out of it on your website. Just know that not everyone reads fine print, things such as language barriers exist and a lot of people assume the words Gluten Free mean just that. You probably think that's silly though.

Celiac Disease is an Immune Disorder and Gluten Free is NOT a trend. It is my life. It keeps me from being so ill that I can't function. Have you seen someone with Celiac Disease have a reaction? Did you know that even if we all react differently (hence the trouble with diagnosis) we have the same detrimental outcome. Untreated, or continuous accidental ingestion can and does result in MANY other serious ailments. Please allow me to list a few for you - Osteoporosis, Cancer, Neurological Disorders, Infertility. Oh, and it can be fatal too.


Here's something else I bet you didn't know, Malnutrition is a symptom of Celiac Disease. 


In the end, you are attaching yourself to a trend that is not actually a trend. You are doing so at the expense of myself and others with Celiac Disease. Shame on you.





Monday

Warning:Delta Airlines Dangerous For Celiac's

The post below is via Elaine Taylor-Klaus of  Touchstonecoaching.com. http://www.touchstonecoaching.com/blog/2012/4/19/is-deltas-food-policy-reckless-endangerment.html
I feel that it is an important read for all of us. An eye opener really. If you think you are safe ordering and then consuming a Gluten Free meal on Delta Airlines, you are WRONG. Your meal is labelled as Gluten Free you say? Delta Airlines actually labels Gluten containing foods as Gluten Free and then knowingly serves it to those who must maintain a strict GF diet.
Please read and share !


Born and bred in Atlanta, GA, I have always been a classic loyalist for Coca Cola and Delta Airlines. I have always chosen water if Pepsi products are the only option, and I’ve always flown Delta if the price is even close.
But as a mother of a gluten sensitive family, I am deeply, dangerously, disappointed in a series of recent encounters with Delta’s Food Service and Customer Service departments.  As a constituent, I am angry. As a native Atlantan, I am embarrassed. As a Gluten-Free mother, I am activated!  Here’s our story.
On a Delta intercontinental flight we ordered Gluten Free meals for the family, which is a great service that Delta offers. Unfortunately, the meal – clearly labeled “Gluten Free” – contained a packaged breakfast cereal that is NOT gluten free, and is clearly marked as such on Kellogg’s website.
My husband was halfway through his breakfast when I awoke and screamed for him to stop!  He had presumed – rightly so, I believe – that the meal was safe for him to eat since it was so clearly labeled. We all know that increasingly more standard products are changing their formulas to comply with GF standards, so it seemed a safe bet, right? NOT.
The flight attendant immediately brought us a very large bottle of water (fortunately, for him, flooding it out helps to limit the reaction). Following the water, they sent the airline Purser, who has a GF family member and knew, herself, that the cereal is not GF. She apologized, offered to compensate us with frequent flier miles, and told us that the new CEO of Delta, Richard Anderson, is a “buck stops here” kind of CEO. She assured us – repeatedly and adamantly – that he would want to know about this!
When we asked her to report the incident, she said she would, but she did not think it would get as much attention as if we reported it ourselves.  Now, here’s the catch. We have reported it ourselves -- on the two prior occasions that something like this has happened to us. Yes, this was the THIRD time we’ve encountered this on a Delta intercontinental flight, which is pretty pathetic considering we’ve only been GF for 7 years, and we actually don’t travel all that much!
But if Delta Food Service’s lack of due diligence isn’t embarrassing enough, wait until you hear about Customer Service’s (lack of) response. Forget the bureaucratic ridiculousness: “I’m sorry, sir, you will not get a response for a minimum of 30 days.” Delta has taken an “it’s not our fault” stance, leaving us to conclude that their policy around food allergies recklessly endangers the health and lives of their passengers.
Much like a parent feels when a teen breaks curfew to help a friend, I wanted to believe that Delta’s irresponsible policy was based in good intentions – that, once the company knew what was happening, they would readily, eagerly, make the necessary changes to provide safe food for their passengers. The first response to our complaint was unacceptable, so we posted another complaint and started climbing the veritable food chain. To our shock, in the weeks, now months, since this incident, Delta’s response has not changed.  Here’s what one Delta Customer Care Coordinator wrote:
“I am genuinely sorry you were dissatisfied with my response.” (Note, no apology for serving us poisonous food). “I understand you feel I did not adequately address your concerns. Further, I recognize that you are dissatisfied (dissatisfied?!) with the products that were included in the gluten free (gluten free?) meals you and your family received.
Again we recognize that passengers may have different requirements depending on individual gluten sensitivity. Passengers are encouraged to refrain from ingesting any product if they feel it does not fit within their dietary requirements, and select other food products included in the gluten free entrée served…”
Now, I would have no problem with Delta telling us that they cannot accommodate a gluten-free meal. It would be disappointing, bordering on pathetic in this day and age, and most certainly backwards ... but it would be tolerable. What is NOT tolerable is to serve a product publicly identified (by the manufacturer!) as containing gluten in a meal that is clearly labeled Gloten Free.
There are no nuances in this situation. This is not about whether it was gluten free enough. This product contained gluten and they gave it to us and told us it did not. Am I missing something?
I can’t help thinking what would have happened if we were dealing with an anaphylactic allergy. My husband was sick for 3 days of a week-long vacation, but he survived the ordeal. Imagine how much worse it could have been! Imagine if they had handed us peanuts and told us they were almonds. Would they be responsible then?
We teach our kids that when they make a mistake they should own it, take responsibility for their impact, and make corrections when possible. Mistakes are normal, they are how we learn. Making the same mistake twice with no effort to change?  Well, that’s just plain foolishness.
Delta’s policy around food allergies and sensitivities falls in the category of foolishness.  We were 2 hours delayed on another flight on that same vacation, and Delta sent a proactive letter of apology to all passengers on the plane with frequent flier points. But for this? They will not own their mistake, much less apologize, or make corrections.
As for the Customer Service chain of command? I suspect the “Buck Stops Here” stopped a long way before it got to Richard Anderson. In fact, our emails directly to him and his office remain unanswered. As I said, I am a loyalist, so I still want to hope that if Richard Anderson DID know what was happening, he would do something to change it. I still want to be proud of Delta.
So, do us all a favor. Send this blog to Richard Anderson at Delta Airlines.  Send it to your friends and ask THEM to send it, too.  After all, don’t we deserve to feel safe when a “Gluten Free” meal is handed to us? 
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Wednesday

When The Gluten Free Section Isn't




I went to HomeSense yesterday . This was my first trip to the store and I went thanks to the suggestion of a friend. When  I approached the food section, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of Gluten Free items. They were in a section labelled as such too. I was so happy at the site of this that I took a picture with my phone.


Now for the not so cool part. Today I was going through yesterday's GF purchase of almost $40.00 to decide what product I would be enjoying first. Upon reading the ingredients/directions I discovered that  I had made a silly mistake. A novice mistake. In my shear joy of seeing a section full of Gluten Free goodies, I neglected to read EVERY label of every item I was placing in the shopping basket. I bet you can guess what is next! I ended up purchasing 2 NON Gluten Free products. Total bummer! I have labelled the 2 items in my photo in hopes of preventing the same mistake from being repeated by anyone else. At first I thought, okay I must have grabbed these items from a different section. Nope. So there seems to be a mishmash of Celiac friendly and pain inducing (non gf) product in the so called Gluten Free area. Not sure if this is a mistake or if this is just how that section is taken care of. Unfortunate I know.My mistake completely for not verifying and triple checking like I normally do. But still, you would think that a Gluten Free Section would be just that wouldn't you.


Metro's GF Freezer Bin
Metro has a freezer bin almost full of amazing Gluten Free items. I say almost as a few items in the right of the bin (not in the photo) are only nut free. Interesting how prominent the Gf sign is and how there is NO sign advertising the nut free part of the bin. A sign is needed not only to help promote the nut free product, but to prevent confusion. Oh, and the cookies on the top of the bin are NOT GF. Im not even sure they are nut free.

 The Real Canadian Superstore , like many grocery stores has Gluten Free mixed in with Organic and Natural items. This is where I do my groceries so I am well aware of the regular stock of GF items. Anything new, I triple check.


I guess I would just like to see a Gluten Free section that is just that. Gluten Free.
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Tuesday

Spelt, Kamut, Ezekiel and Confusion



Spelt, Kamut and Ezekiel bread.  There seems to be a mecca of people who just don't understand  grain. Although these grains may be easier for some people (who can maintain a normal diet) to digest, they are NOT and never have been safe for those with Celiac Disease.


It is important to note that although an item can be labelled "wheat free", that does not mean it is gluten free as well. In order to be safe for consumption, a product must be both wheat and gluten free.

Spelt and Kamut are a form of wheat.They are often referred to as “ancient grains,” which is just a fancy way of saying that they have not been modified.

Ezekiel Bread contains a combination of wheat, spelt, rye, barley, and millet along with  great northern beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. The only difference with this type of bread is that it is made from sprouted grains. Still a giant no for Celiac's.

According to the Health Canada website - Gluten: any gluten protein or modified protein, including any protein fraction derived from the grains of the following cereals: barley, oats, rye, triticale, wheat, kamut or spelt.  The definition would also apply to the grains of hybridized strains of the cereals listed above.

The below chart from U.S Dept. of Health and Human Services breaks down the different species of grains. It does a good job of showing the many different and often confusing forms of grain that are not safe. It also shows which grains are indeed safe to eat.

Allowed Foods
amaranth
arrowroot
buckwheat
cassava
corn
flax
Indian rice grass
Job's tears
legumes
millet
nuts
potatoes
quinoa
rice
sago
seeds
sorghum
soy
tapioca
teff
wild rice
yucca
Foods To Avoid
wheat
  • including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut
  • wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, hydrolyzed wheat protein
barley
rye
triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Other Wheat Products
bromated flour
durum flour
enriched flour
farina
graham flour
phosphated flour
plain flour
self-rising flour
semolina
white flour
Processed Foods that May Contain Wheat, Barley, or Rye*
bouillon cubes
brown rice syrup
candy
chips/potato chips
cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage
communion wafers
French fries
gravy
imitation fish
matzo
rice mixes
sauces
seasoned tortilla chips
self-basting turkey
soups
soy sauce
vegetables in sauce
Do not feel obligated to try something just because someone tells you that it is safe. Well intentioned people make errors from time to time. I have seen two Canadian talk shows to date that have had (cooking and fitness) guest's speak about food being gluten free when in reality said food is not GF. 


There are also those who don't have your best interest at heart and are just trying to make a quick buck. Unless you are 100% sure something is safe, don't risk it. In the end, your health is top priority.




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