I don’t want this blog to be a rant on other companies, truly. But I continue to see practices that you all need to be aware of out there while I’ve been traveling to various trade shows over the last month or so.
For example, at the biggest trade show, Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, “gluten free” was everywhere on booths and products. The funniest one was on chicken, yes, chicken. I realize that some chicken has seasoning added and so ingredients still must be looked at. But the kicker on the chicken is that they were frying it up in the booth for tasting, after dredging it in wheat flour!
I saw the same thing happen on a gluten free spread that was being offered on regular wheat bagels to sample. It wasn’t until a Celiac pointed it out to them that they realized that there was a problem with this practice. It’s kind of scary since they were attracting many of the attendees who were Celiac, not just because they were there as store buyers.
In some cases, when the person demoing a product is hired for the day, they don’t always know the ins and outs of special diets but in both of the above companies, the owner of the company was doing the demoing.
And that’s in addition to continued products I see that have a claim like “nut free” on the front with a disclaimer “made in a facility that processes tree nuts” on the back. To me, you can have one or the other, not both.
So for you, the consumer, all I can say is really check your items. Check your ingredients even if there is a “free from” message on the front, don’t assume that demos are safe, and contact companies if you have any questions. This really is a buyer beware situation where you have to take control.