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

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 are included in the ingredients list in error.
  • In May and June, GFCO posted alerts for both Nothin’ But Foods Cinnamon Raisin Granola Cookie Bites and Know Allergies bars.
    • However, it appears that mislabeled products currently on store shelves/available for shipping in warehouses are not being removed.
      • Gluten Free Watchdog purchased Know Allergy bars on June 5th (via Amazon but shipped from Know Allergies warehouse) and bars listing malt flavoring in the ingredients were received.
      • Goodie Girl Toffee Crunch cookies were first reported to Gluten Free Watchdog in October 2017.
        • As of May 28, 2018 they remained on store shelves.
      • GFCO issued an alert for Nothin’ But Foods Cinnamon Raisin Granola Cookie Bites on May 17.
        • These cookies were spotted in a store on May 28 and reported to GFWD.

Regardless of whether a product does or does not contain the malt ingredient included in the ingredients list, leaving mislabeled gluten-free products on store shelves is causing angst and confusion among consumers with celiac disease.

Questions that need addressing:

  • How is it that a manufacturer accidentally includes a malt ingredient in an ingredients list?
  • Does GFCO advise manufacturers of the ingredients that can’t be included in labeled gluten-free foods as part of the certification process?
  • Does GFCO review product labels prior to certification?
  • If changes are made to the ingredients, is the manufacturer required to submit the new label to GFCO for review?
  • Does GFCO include a stipulation in manufacturer contracts requiring removal of products from store shelves if the ingredients list includes an ingredient not allowed in foods labeled gluten-free?

Manufacturers: when you make a mistake labeling your gluten-free product it is your responsibility to act in the best interest of the consumer with celiac disease. You should not only correct the labeling going forward and destroy any unused packaging in your inventory, but also remove mislabeled products from store shelves.

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Comments (3)

  • Craig Reply

    It’s been confirmed that although that ingredient was on Nothin But Cinnamon Raisin Cookie package, it was incorrectly labeled and it never contained malt barley. This is why it was accurately approved by GFCO #glutendotorg and manufactured according to their strict guidelines. Our newly re-branded packages are launching in July ’18 and all Nothin But Food are labeled accurately. We do apologize for any inconvenience and concern this seemed to have caused the GF community and hope this helps rebuild trust and trial.

    June 13, 2018 at 7:07 pm
    • Joci Reply

      Craig, this is kind of a big deal. This error didn’t “seem” to cause inconvenience or concern…it DID cause concern. For this of us who need to avoid gluten we depend on having accurate labels. The fact that this happened at all is really disappointing.

      June 14, 2018 at 3:52 am
      • Kathy Green Reply

        If a company does not change an incorrect label for whatever the excuse, rationale or profit, they deserve to lose business. They are just as apt not to change an incorrect label claiming gluten free when they know it has gluten making people intolerant of gluten very sick.

        December 4, 2022 at 8:29 pm

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