Grocery stores: please do not place gluten-free flour below or next to wheat flour on store shelves

Grocery stores: please do not place gluten-free flour below or next to wheat flour on store shelves

NOTE: A pdf of the letter is available at this link GFWDStoreLetter2018Update

Thank you to the Gluten Free Watchdog subscriber for sharing the attached photo.

Dear manager,

It has recently come to our attention at Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC that gluten-free flour is being placed below or next to wheat-based flour on store shelves. This may not seem like much of an issue. However, when wheat-based food “leaks” as is often the case with bags of flour it is a health hazard. Wheat flour ends up raining down on packages of gluten-free flour, coating them. This is a serious issue for folks who have celiac disease or a wheat allergy. The flour then gets on hands and can end up in the mouth. This is especially dangerous for children who may not wash their hands as much as they should.

We understand that manufacturers sometimes pay a premium for shelf space. But now that you know the health risks associated with your practices, we are confident that changes will be made in product placement. Ideally gluten-free foods should be placed together in their own section of the store. We understand that this is not always possible. At the very least please store gluten-free products on shelves above wheat-based products. Doing so will help decrease the risk for your customers with celiac disease and wheat allergies.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Tricia Thompson, MS, RD

Founder, Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC




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Comments (7)

  • Helen Weems Reply

    Thank you, Tricia. This is useful, and I will keep some in the car for stores that put their GF flours in unfortunate relation to wheat flour.

    January 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      You are most welcome, Helen. Great idea to keep some letters in the car.

      January 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm
  • Melissa Ser Reply

    I complained about this at my local Target as well. They also have the sugar right on the same shelf as the flour — so the sugar gets contaminated too!

    January 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm
  • Bonnie Reply

    Tricia, thank you for the letter above. It helps us to help educate those in the food industry all around, whether it’s in the grocery store, the food storage area for restaurants, or even in our own food pantry. Also, may I caution GFWD subscribers to be aware that “leaking flour”, if in the air and inhaled, can cause reactions. Bulk food sold from bins are also pesky and risky areas! I too will have copies of the letter on hand and distribute where needed.

    February 28, 2017 at 5:10 pm
  • Sharon Habiger Reply

    Why is there no movement to require wheat flour food companies to use leak proof bags?That would solve this problem. The loose flour isn’t limited to the flour aisle and shelves. It contaminates the carts and checkout conveyors. It is nearly impossible not to bring home trace gluten on our groceries. It is especially bad during the holidays with everyone baking.

    November 15, 2018 at 11:23 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      It most certainly would be helpful if manufacturers of wheat flour changed their packaging materials. Please feel free to lead the charge on this and let us know how we can help.

      November 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm
      • Sharon Habiger Reply

        Yes, thought you might say that! I will get in touch if I find the time to take on the challenge. Thanks again for all you do to protect the celiac community!

        November 16, 2018 at 7:28 pm

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