It turns out that at one time there was a notice in reply to the Chicago Tribune's article that was up on the Wellshire Farms website, and you can now read a copy of it here (scroll down to the title QUALITY CONTROL) at Gluten-Free NYC. I found it interesting that the link to the notice on the Wellshire Farms website does not lead you to the original notice anymore. I confirmed that the link originally did lead to the original notice.
What do you think about this original notice?
I personally like the part of the intro that says,"Our understanding after speaking with the author is that this article relates solely to reactions from children with anaphylaxis, that is, with severe reactions to any level of allergens."
What does this imply? That we shouldn't worry about their products at times testing over 200 parts per million gluten if we don't have an anaphylactic reaction to gluten? And what about people that are anaphylactic that react to their products- what if they die? Isn't that even more of a reason for them to accurately test and label their products?
The Chicago Tribune article stated, "An estimated 30,000 Americans require emergency-room treatment and 150 die each year from allergic reactions to food. A large percentage were children, researchers say."
And what about this statement in the original notice near the end, "We apologize for any inconvenience this confusion between the USDA and FDA regulations may have caused our customers." This line sounds condescending to me. Do you hear, "We are so sorry that you are confused and don't get it that we can feed you over 200ppm gluten and not be responsible for any serious or life threatening health problems induced by our products- we're covered legally."
Now what looks like a revised notice can be found on the Wellshire Farms website under the Eating Well tab listed under the Gluten-Free heading.
What do you think about this revised notice?
I found it interesting that they tried to describe themselves in a way that almost sounds hypervigilent because they adhered to the EU standard of 200 parts per million in their products when they didn't have to. If anyone at the company is educating themselves about their gluten-free or allergy prone customers, they know that here in the UNITED STATES we want a lower standard than 200 parts per million. OH, and remember the Chicago Tribune's test results for these products?
Let me refresh your memory:
The Chicago Tribune bought three popular Wellshire Farms products advertised as ''gluten free'' and sent multiple samples to a lab for testing.
Chicken Bites: Tested at 204 parts per million and 260 ppm
Chicken Corn Dogs: Tested at 116 ppm and 2,200 ppm
Beef Corn Dogs: Tested at 191 ppm and 1,200 ppm
Maybe Wellshire Farms should try using a new lab.
The Chicago Tribune article stated,"The FDA, which oversees the vast majority of packaged foods, said it trusts firms to police themselves."
Remember what your mama taught you? Trust has to be earned, is easily lost, and is hard to regain.
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