Gluten-Free Labeling

Confused by USDA ingredient & allergen labeling? Read the facts recently confirmed by the agency

Over the past week, two of the amazing members of the Gluten Free Watchdog community reached out regarding issues with USDA labeling. In case you sometimes find yourself in a state of labeling confusion, here are the facts recently confirmed to GFWD by USDA on March 11th and 12th, 2019.

1. ALL ingredients must be declared by their “common or usual name” in foods regulated by the USDA.

2. Certain ingredients can be declared collectively, such as
flavoring. BUT protein-containing ingredients must […]

Yeast extract confusion made worse by the lack of manufacturer transparency

Gluten Free Watchdog received a consumer complaint about
Health Valley Gluten Free Café Chicken Noodle Soup. The product includes the
ingredient “flavors (including yeast extract).” Long story short, according to
the consumer who contacted us, she was told by Health Valley customer service
representatives that the source of the yeast extract was brewer’s yeast.
However, she never received a definitive answer regarding whether the brewer’s
yeast was spent brewer’s yeast.

Generally speaking, we do not advise contacting manufacturers about labeled gluten-free foods containing yeast extract. […]

This Gluten-Free Label Wins the Prize for Most Confusing EVER

Many labeled gluten-free foods contain oats supplied by
providers of mechanically and optically sorted oats. Two consumers have reached
out to GFWD regarding the labeling on Quest oatmeal chocolate chip bars. The
label includes the following:

Certified Gluten-Free mark from GFCO

Contains … wheat**

**Trace amounts are unavoidable in field grains

Oats used in this product are certified gluten-free

There are a few issues with this labeling statement that are concerning:

1. “Contains … wheat.” Contains statements are regulated under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer […]

Sometimes that “not quite right” looking gluten-free food turns out to be gluten-free

Sometimes that “not quite right” looking gluten-free food turns out to be gluten-free and sometimes it does not.

Latest incident. We recently tested two pretzel sticks that looked different from the rest of the pretzel sticks in a bag of gluten-free Snyders’s of Hanover pretzels. They were longer, thinner, and darker than the other pretzels (see photo). GFWD asked SH to test the errant pretzels but they declined.

SH will not test any product once packaging has been opened. This is […]

Why are consumers finding malt extract and malt flavor in the ingredients lists of GFCO certified gluten-free foods?

The issue:

During the month of May, three products were reported to Gluten Free Watchdog that were labeled gluten-free and included the certified gluten-free logo from GFCO on product packaging yet named either malt extract or malt flavor in the ingredients list.

Nothin’ But Foods Cinnamon Raisin Granola Cookie Bites
Know Allergies Blueberry and Maple Bars
Goodie Girl Toffee Crunch Cookies

According to GFCO and the manufacturers involved, the malt ingredients are not actually in the product but instead […]

Is the FDA enforcing the gluten-free labeling rule?

Question: How many FDA food recalls have there been since January 1, 2016 and the reason/problem cited by the FDA is gluten?

Answer: Two

A search under “gluten” on FDA’s “Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts” page resulted in the following:

May 3, 2018: Van’s Waffles: Product may contain gluten and undeclared milk https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm606033.htm. This product is labeled gluten-free
September 1, 2016: Koi Palace Mooncakes: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm518878.htm. It is unclear whether this product was labeled gluten-free at the time of the recall.

How […]

KoJa Kitchen Restaurant Says Wheat-Based Soy Sauce is Gluten-Free: Is it?

April 23, 2018

Gluten Free Watchdog has been informed of yet another restaurant chain representing wheat-based soy sauce as gluten-free. The restaurant is KoJa Kitchen and they have an online schematic explaining how their soy sauce marinade is gluten-free. See http://www.kojakitchen.com/gluten-free. The trouble is, according to the Food and Drug Administration restaurants should NOT be representing their wheat-based soy sauce as gluten-free.

What follows are a few reminders about soy sauce. Please take the time to read this information carefully. […]

Letter to Restaurant Managers: Do not use wheat-based soy sauce in foods represented as gluten-free

At Gluten Free Watchdog we have received a number of complaints about restaurants in the US using wheat-based soy sauce in sauces and meals represented as gluten-free. When eating at a restaurant, please ask whether a sauce contains soy sauce & whether the soy sauce contains wheat. Please also share this letter with restaurant managers. A pdf is available for download GFWDRestaurantLetterSoySauce

……….

Dear manager,

It has come to our attention that some restaurants are mistakenly representing soy sauce made from wheat as gluten-free. […]

17 Misbranded Products Discovered in Circulation in 2017: Supplement to FDA Citizen Petition to Stop Labeling Violations Under the Gluten-Free Labeling Rule

On Sunday January 14, Kaki and I submitted a supplement to our FDA citizen petition requesting that the FDA establish a specific protocol for increased surveillance, investigation and enforcement of potential facial misbranding violations under the gluten-free labeling rule.

The supplement has not yet posted to the docket so we are posting it here for your information. Please take the time to read this supplement paying particular attention to page 3 and the listing of 17 misbranded products discovered in […]

Urgent Product Warning for Jane Bakes Cookies

Published January 7, 2018

At least two varieties of the brand Jane Bakes cookies are labeled gluten-free yet list whole wheat flour as the first ingredient—Hazelnut & Chocolate and Coconut & Caramel. If you currently have any variety of labeled gluten-free cookies from this manufacturer in your pantry, please read the ingredients list carefully before eating.

A consumer first notified Gluten Free Watchdog about this product on December 26th. The cookies were a gift to the consumer. The person purchasing the […]

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