Grading the Canyon Bakehouse Recall
UPDATE: The recall has been amended to include expanded distribution for the Canyon Bakehouse Everything Bagels and now includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
Bottom line: Canyon Bakehouse handled this recall very well. What happened should serve as a lesson for all manufacturers of gluten-free foods. Testing at risk raw ingredients for gluten before they enter the facility should be de rigueur. A dedicated gluten-free facility doesn’t matter if “dirty” ingredients are allowed inside.
My biggest concern at this point is with the supplier of the ingredient that contained enough gluten to cause a recall of the final product. If the supplier is representing product as gluten-free, they should be notifying all other manufacturers of gluten-free foods who purchased the impacted ingredient. IF the supplier sells this ingredient as a labeled gluten-free product to consumers, then the supplier should be issuing their own recall.
Recall timeline: On December 3rd, 2020 Canyon Bakehouse announced a recall on their website and on social media that they were recalling two products with certain lot numbers and UPC codes–Mountain White Bread and Everything Bagels. Their initial post stated:
“Recently, internal testing of some finished baked goods revealed the possible presence of gluten outside of GFCO standards. Unfortunately, a small quantity of this product was inadvertently shipped to the marketplace.”
A follow-up announcement on December 4th provided additional detail:
“Our team immediately flagged the affected products and put them in a separate hold area so they could be properly disposed of. We traced the issue to an isolated ingredient supplier. Where we dropped the ball is that some of the affected product was inadvertently shipped from the hold area. That should not have happened. We’re investigating to find out how it did and put additional safeguards in place to ensure it doesn’t occur again. This all started as an isolated supplier issue, though, and we’re developing an even more robust supplier audit process to ensure our standards are met. We hope to implement that soon.”
Based on many years of dealing with manufacturers, misbranding, and recalls (and refusals to issue recalls), Canyon Bakehouse handled this recall very well. They announced the recall on their website and social media, they notified their certifying body, and they notified the FDA. In addition, they thoroughly explained what happened, owned their mistake, apologized for the error, and vowed to do better.
My biggest concern at this point is not with Canyon Bakehouse, but with the supplier of the ingredient that caused the recall.
Email correspondence with the manufacturer: I reached out to Canyon Bakehouse with the following questions:
1. Do you either test incoming “raw” ingredients, such as sorghum flour and cultured brown rice flour for gluten or do you request a certificate of analysis from suppliers that includes gluten testing?
2. Can you please provide additional information on the ingredient that was found to contain gluten?
3. Is the supplier of the problematic ingredient notifying other manufacturers about potential cross contact issues?
Canyon Bakehouse replied:
Adhering to GFCO guidelines, we carefully screen our suppliers and require them to provide a Certificate of Analysis that their ingredients contain less than 10ppm (parts per million) of gluten. In this case, we are working with the supplier to determine what happened on their end and are developing a more robust supplier audit process to ensure our standards are met and this does not happen again.
My response back:
My concern is whether the supplier of the problematic ingredient has reached out to other gluten-free manufacturers about potential issues with gluten cross contact. If the ingredient is a flour, it is likely that it contains heterogeneous cross contact that may or may not be detected during testing. Is it possible for you to let me know the ingredient?
Canyon Bakehouse replied:
Regarding your question, because the supplier’s continued cooperation in this process is both needed and appreciated, we would prefer not share further specifics regarding the ingredients.
I understand the position taken by Canyon Bakehouse. They are responsible for their products. BUT if the supplier is representing product as gluten-free, then the supplier should be notifying all other manufacturers of gluten-free foods who purchased the impacted ingredient. IF the supplier sells this ingredient as a labeled gluten-free product to consumers, then the supplier should be issuing their own recall.
What happened with Canyon Bakehouse should serve as a lesson for all manufacturers of gluten-free foods. Manufacturers should consider testing at risk raw ingredients for gluten before they enter the facility. A dedicated facility doesn’t matter if “dirty” ingredients are allowed in the door.
For more information on the recall see https://canyonglutenfree.com/stories/mountain-white-everything-bagels-recall/