Video: Gluten-Free Bakery Items Sold in Regular BakeryTricia Thompson
We received a question about which regulatory and consumer advocacy group to contact if a regular bakery selling gluten-free baked goods appears to have questionable practices around preventing cross-contact. For the article on restaurants and gluten-free labeling claims mentioned in the video, please click HERE. Note: I have been asked to provide a transcript for all of the videos. These videos are “off the top of my head.” Transcripts are not available. Update: A wonderful subscriber to GFWD who happens to do transcription professionally volunteered to transcribe this video. Thank you to Corbin’s mom! For the time being the transcription is included in the comments section.
thanks for the information. however, unless it’s blatant, how would you really ever know?
When purchasing gluten-free products from a “regular” bakery, many people ask questions about the procedures in place to prevent cross-contact with wheat. How these questions are answered leads to an increase or decrease in consumer confidence that the bakery is taking steps to ensure a truly gluten-free product.
A wonderful GFWD subscriber (aka Corbin’s mom) volunteered to transcribe this video. Please know that I speak differently than I write (and I am resisting the urge to “rewrite” this transcript). Please use this transcript in conjunction with the video.
Video Transcription:Gluten-Free Bakery Items Sold in Regular Bakery
Hi, everyone. This is Tricia Thompson from GlutenFreeWatchdog.
We have received a question about gluten-free baked goods sold in a regular bakery that typically sells a lot of wheat based products. And specifically the question is what regulatory agency or advocacy group should be contacted if there are concerns that the manufacturer, the baker, is not doing everything that they should be doing to prevent cross-contact with wheat. So before I answer the question – the specific question, it’s important for everyone to understand that the FDA gluten-free labeling rule applies to packaged foods only. So what this means is if you go into a bakery and you buy a prepackaged product that has a food label on it, an ingredients list and that product makes a gluten-free labeling claim, then it must comply with the gluten-free labeling rule.
But if you are purchasing say a cupcake from behind the counter and this cupcake is somehow designated gluten-free by the bakery, this product does not have to comply with the gluten-free labeling rule. Even if the bakery puts it in a box and you take it outside of the bakery to eat at some point down the road, that’s not considered a prepackaged product. Having said all this, the FDA, because gluten-free now has a federal definition, it is their expectation that if a bakery or a restaurant designates a product as being gluten-free, that it should comply with the gluten-free labeling rule. However, it’s important to know that the world “should” in FDA guidance means that it’s recommended, it’s not required.
So getting back to the question. If you have tried to educate the baker or the bakery and they are not showing any inclination to improve their practices concerning cross-contact, the thing that I would do is print off this statement that is available on Gluten Free Dietician and there’s a link on GlutenFreeWatchdog to this statement http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/restaurants-and-gluten-free-labeling-claims/ and I will include the link in the comments section underneath this video. And this is a statement that was written by my colleague, Rhonda Kane, who is a former Consumer Safety Officer with the FDA. She wrote this at the time the gluten free labeling rule was finalized and there were a lot of questions as to whether restaurants were included under the gluten free labeling rule. So we wrote this up and we submitted it to the FDA and the FDA edited the statement and gave us permission to post it on Gluten Free Dietician.
So this is really a succinct statement approved by the FDA on their expectations on what restaurants should be doing – restaurants and this includes bakeries, if they are designating menu items or food items as being gluten-free. So I would provide this to the bakery. If that doesn’t work, you educate them, you provide them with this statement, next thing I would do is find out which regulatory agency in your particular state regulates restaurants. Now, I found this for Massachusetts. We have a food protection program which is under Health and Human Services. But this is specific to Massachusetts. So you need to find what is specific to your state. Because this is primarily a state issue. Especially if this is a single location bakery. If it’s a chain bakery, then there’s a greater likelihood that you might be able to get FDA involved. But again, FDA is likely going to want to work with the state regulatory agency. So the state agency is really where I would start.
If that doesn’t work, if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere with the state and you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere with the baker, the bakery, then the advocacy group that you should contact is GlutenFreeWatchdog. Depending upon our level of concern and the details involved, we have been known to test items from bakeries, even if they’re sold only within one particular state or its one particular location. So, if you subscribe to GlutenFreeWatchdog and you are really concerned about a particular bakery, then please feel free to contact us with all the details and we can look into it for you.
Hopefully this has been helpful. If you have any follow-up questions, please post them in the comments section. If there’s any clarification that’s needed, please let me know. We can always post a follow-up video. Thank you so much.