Running List of Potentially Misbranded Gluten-Free Products Reported to FDA & USDA by Gluten Free Watchdog in 2020
This list is updated when necessary to include additional misbranded products and recall status. Thank you to the consumers who have reported products to Gluten Free Watchdog. It takes a gluten-free village to do this work. Please continue to send emails and write letters to FDA personnel included at this link and please include photos of products that haven’t been recalled. Thank you! https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/gluten-free-watchdog-call-to-action-contact-fda-today-asking-for-enforcement-action-against-manufacturers-of-products-labeled-gluten-free-yet-containing-fermented-or-hydrolyzed-wheat-barley/
So Nourished Gold Alternative Sweetener. Reported to FDA via CAERS on May 26, 2020. Product packaging includes a gluten-free claim. The ingredients list reads, “Erythritol, Tagatose, Malt extract, Monk fruit extract, Glycerol.”
Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage. Reported to FDA via CAERS on May 18, 2020. First reported to FDA in 2014 (6 1/2 years ago). Report acknowledged by CAERS on May 19, 2020. Product packaging includes a gluten-free claim. The ingredients list reads, “extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet.”
Kroger Simple Truth Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets (animal shapes). Reported to USDA on April 23, 2020.
Background information: Kroger Simple Truth Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets (animal shapes). A consumer reached out to Gluten Free Watchdog about this product. The consumer’s bag contains dinosaur shapes instead of the animal shapes shown on the bag. I spoke with Kroger and their supplier Golden Platter. USDA was also contacted.
From the supplier (email and phone correspondence): Both the dinosaur and animal shape nuggets are gluten-free formulations (it appears that Walmart brand gluten-free dino nuggets were packaged in bags intended for Kroger Simple Truth brand gluten-free animal nuggets). The supplier is a certified gluten-free company. They extend their apologies to consumers who found dinosaur nuggets in their packages. There will be re-training sessions for supervisors and plant personnel to prevent a recurrence.
From the USDA (email correspondence): “We worked with the inspectors at the processing facility where the chicken nuggets were made and, based on the in-plant investigation, the inspectors informed us that the dinosaur shaped nuggets are gluten free.”
Vietti Ancho Chicken Chili with Beans & Porter Ale. Reported to USDA on April 20, 2020. Update May 1, 2020: From the manufacturer: “The “Gluten Free” callout on our Vietti Artisan Ancho Chicken Chili with Beans is indeed an error. We have identified the source of the error and we have been working with the USDA on the next steps to ensure the safety of our consumers.” Update May 7, 2020: From the manufacturer: “After review by the USDA, the Vietti Artisan Ancho Chicken Chili with Beans contains less than 10 parts per million of wheat. This does not constitute a recall in accordance with the regulation. However, we do recognize the importance of proper labeling and have taken corrective action.” GFWD asked the manufacturer for more information about the corrective action. They have yet to respond. GFWD also asked USDA to elaborate on the corrective action. On May 12, 2020, the agency responded that they: “determined that the label was in compliance with less than 20 ppm to be labeled gluten free. However, the establishment is voluntarily removing the “gluten free” from that label.” GFWD has provided USDA with more information about the gluten-free labeling rule, including the fact that regular malt based can’t be labeled gluten-free and can’t be added to foods labeled gluten-free.
Background: At least some cans include a gluten-free claim. The ingredients list includes, “Porter Ale” with the sub-ingredients list, “Water, Malts (Contains wheat), Salt, Hops).” Regular malt-based beer containing barley (and in this case wheat) is not allowed in foods labeled gluten-free under the FDA’s gluten-free rule (USDA adheres to FDA’s gluten-free labeling rule). The manufacturer has been contacted by phone and email. A complaint has been filed with the USDA (this food is regulated by the USDA versus the FDA).
Nature’s Earthly Choice Lentil Trio. Reported to FDA via CAERS on March 3, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on March 3, 2020. Product RECALL posted under Enforcement Reports (it isn’t clear when the recall posted but it was classified by FDA on April 3). This product contains numerous errant grains. Test results suggest the grains are a mix of oat and wheat/barley. The certifying organization–GFCO was notified about this product issue. UPDATE: GFCO has issued a safety alert for this product https://gfco.org/safety-alerts/
Bart’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Reported to FDA via CAERS on February 26, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on February 26, 2020. Product RECALL posted under Enforcement Reports for the week of March 18, 2020. This product includes a GF on front packaging (used by Bart’s to indicate that a product is gluten-free). This ice cream isn’t gluten-free. It contains wheat flour-based cookie dough. GFWD spoke with the manufacturer. This is a labeling error and they will be contacting retail outlets that carry this product.
Sweet Bourbon Crunchers Pretzels sold through Beef Jerky Outlets. Reported to FDA via CAERS on February 25, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on February 25, 2020. Product RECALL posted under Enforcement Reports for the week of April 1, 2020. GFWD spoke to both the manufacturer and the distributor. Due to an error in the labeling process, this product includes a gluten-free claim. However, the pretzels contain wheat flour as confirmed by the manufacturer. The manufacturer has instructed all Beef Jerky Outlet stores to remove product from the shelf. Regardless, this product was purchased at a Beef Jerky Outlet February 22/23.
Grow Girl Hair Growth Dietary Supplement. Reported to FDA via CAERS on January 28, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on January 29, 2020. The product is labeled “no gluten” which FDA considers a synonym for “gluten free” yet it includes “malt syrup” in the ingredients list. Under the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations for malt syrup, this ingredient is “barley malt syrup.” Barley malt syrup is not allowed in foods labeled gluten-free per FDA. Manufacturer alerted to this issue via email.
Pike Place Chowder, smoked salmon chowder. Reported to FDA via CAERS on January 16, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on January 23, 2020. Product RECALL posted under Enforcement Reports for the week of January 29, 2020. Outer packaging includes a gluten-free claim and the ingredients list does not include a gluten-containing ingredient. The inner plastic pouch that contains the chowder includes a stamp that reads, “Smoked Salmon Chowder. Contains: Fish (Salmon), Milk, Shellfish (Lobster, Shrimp), and Wheat. GFWD spoke to the manufacturer. The wrong outer packaging was used. The chowder contains wheat flour.
Restructure Protein Powder. Reported to FDA via CAERS on January 5, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on January 8, 2020. RECALL March 3, 2020 posted on FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts page BUT because of undeclared milk only. It appears the gluten-free claim will remain on new product packaging and the ingredient “germinated barley seed powder” will not be removed. The product is labeled gluten-free yet includes “germinated barley seed powder” in the ingredients list. In addition, the ingredients list includes “whey protein concentrate” but “milk” is not declared in either the ingredients list or separate Contains statement. GFWD spoke at length to the manufacturer.
Sierra Soups Pasta e Fagioli. Reported to FDA via CAERS on January 4, 2020. Product RECALL February 24, 2020 posted on FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts page. The product is labeled gluten-free yet includes durum semolina flour in the ingredients list. Wheat is not declared in the ingredients list or separate Contains statement.
Sticky Fingers Bakeries Gluten-Free Scones Mix Reported to FDA via CAERS on January 4, 2020. Product Recall posted under FDA’s Enforcement Reports page for the week of March 11, 2020. Report acknowledged by CAERS on January 8, 2020. A second report was filed on February 8, 2020. Product is labeled gluten-free yet enriched wheat flour is included in the ingredients list.