We try to bring you timely information when there’s a product that’s been recalled or otherwise deemed unsafe for people on a gluten-free diet.
Today is one of those days. The news comes via Jen Cafferty of Gluten Free Life with Jen and Tricia Thompson, otherwise known as the Gluten-Free Dietician. It revolves around Sami’s Bakery in Tampa, who make both gluten-free and gluten-full food.
Sami’s product array includes a) products labeled gluten-free b) products that do not have any gluten-containing ingredients but have a warning on the label explaining that they likely contain traces of wheat and c) products that do not contain any gluten-containing ingredients but are not labeled gluten-free.
Tricia Thompson operates a service called Gluten-Free Watchdog, which tests products and shares the results with subscribers. In this particular case, she felt it was important to share the results with the entire gluten-free community. According to the results, you might want to stay away from Sami’s until they restructure their baking procedures. Some products tested safe, but others (labeled gluten-free and not) did not. You can read the results here and Jen’s thoughts here.
Concerning as this is, it provides a useful place to talk about labeling. Just because something does not contain obvious concerns does NOT mean it is safe to eat! You don’t have to take my word for it; have a look at this study, in which 22 naturally gluten-free foods were tested for gluten and 7 (33%) had gluten levels above 20ppm.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone else of taking the occasional gamble with foods that seem gluten-free but aren’t labeled as such. It’s not a good idea, and the numbers explain exactly why.
What do you do when confronted with foods that seem gluten-free but aren’t labeled?