But hazards lurk in the shadows of some brands. While some brands of gluten-free food can be depended on to be safe by brand recognition alone, others are fickle, jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon but with no real commitment to the cause.
MI-DEL is one example. They seem to go for organic/all-natural, with a gluten free line as well. There mainline are traditional wheat. Although the wheat free cookies do say gluten-free in large letters, other than that there is no real distinction between the wheat-based and gluten-free. Identical packaging and a similar look and feel leave little to distinguish gluten-free versus wheat-based.
I was fooled by this recently. I have bought MI-DEL before, and they’re not bad. They are not necessarily the best, but they are inexpensive and pretty good. I grabbed a package of cookies without looking carefully, and it turns out they contained wheat. Because I trusted the brand from past experience, I just grab some cookies and ate them. But they didn’t taste quite right, so I looked at the ingredients. I was horrified to find that they contain wheat!
Utterly disgusted, I vowed never to buy MI-DEL again.
Another brand is sweets from the earth. In some ways, I consider them worse than DI-MEL. I always thought they were gluten-free, because all of their products I’d seen so far were gluten-free. I grabbed a chocolate fudge cake just today, and in general the packaging gave me the impression that I’d picked up something gluten-free. There was something or another (I didn’t look too carefully) with a circle and a line through it. This would tend to strengthen my “gluten-free” impression. But it was not to be.
When I had picked was chocolate fudge cake made with wheat, which is dairy free, egg free. The thing with a line through it was a peanut. But it was not gluten-free. Sweets from the earth turns out to be another brand we cannot trust.
This frustrates me greatly. A company is allowed to have more than one brand. Companies who wish to market gluten-free food for celiac’s and others who are highly sensitive to wheat, must have a separate brand, which is specifically wheat free.
The convenience of gluten-free foods can lure us into a false sense of security. Brands that are in the gluten-free market just to grab the gluten-free wave are in it for the wrong reasons. They need to understand that small amounts of gluten can be devastating to those of us who are sensitive to it. They must have brands which are clearly differentiated from other lines which contain wheat.
I plan to boycott MI-DEL, sweets of the earth, and any other brand, which fails to be either completely gluten-free, or at least uses an entirely package design so that you cannot mistake wheat-based products from gluten-free.
What is your experience with friends which makes gluten-free with wheat-based foods? Please leave a comment.