Gluten-Free Does Not Mean Flavor Free
Well, when I originally wrote the blog questioning whether or not the Cheerios were gluten-free I didn't know how right I was in questioning it. At first, I thought they were OK, then I had a reaction but I wasn't sure what from because we had tried several new things that day. The reaction was feeling like I was itching all over and it felt like slivers of glass running over my body. It was painful and maddening. It became so bad I took all my clothes off and was still itching. Then I took a shower. That seemed to calm it down some but I was still itchy. I couldn't figure out what the cause was. A few days later, I tried the Cheerios again and was itching again. Fortunately, I didn't eat as much that time and the reaction wasn't as bad. When I tried to tell other people in a gluten-free group about my reaction some supported what I was saying and others basically attacked me. They acted like I was falsely maligning a saint. I couldn't believe it. I tried to explain it and then one woman backed me up by saying she had bought 5 boxes of Cheerios and she reacted to some but not others. Which made me think of Russian Roulette. You might be ok eating the Cheerios, you might not.
Then I felt vindicated when General Mills came out with their press release stating that SOME of their cereal had been mistakenly contaminated with wheat flour. Read Press release to find out which boxes are affected by the recall. So now I have to decide whether or not to give them another chance. I want to, but I am also not interested in scratching myself to death from the itching if it doesn't turn out.
General Mills also wrote a blog about their VOLUNTARY recall. I want to stress that it is voluntary because it shows they are trying to fix the problem. This gives me hope but I wanted to know EXACTLY what they intend to do to fix the problem. The blog outlines what they are planning to do to prevent this mistake from happening again, here is an excerpt:
Today we must acknowledge that we failed to meet that commitment for a time, and we’re recalling all affected products as a result.
Please know that our oat supply was not the issue. We tested our oat supply on these dates – and the oat supply tested as gluten free. We also tested the specific oat flour being used at Lodi – and our oat flour supply also tested as gluten free on the dates in question.
We are testing all finished products. We’ve also instituted additional flour handling protocols at all facilities to ensure this will not happen again.
Please know we’ll be working even harder to earn back your trust.
I will give it some time before I try them again, in hopes that any issues will be dealt with before I risk my body again. I think they have learned an important lesson and I hope that we, as a gluten-free community, can stop attacking each other and realize there was an issue and it is being addressed. I am not after blood about it. I am glad companies are trying to accommodate the gluten-free community. However, I do want to make sure that everyone knows there is an issue and that they take appropriate steps to protect themselves.
I applaud General Mills for not trying to just sweep it under the rug and deny (as so many companies try to do). They went out of their way to make sure we knew about it.
I hope we can all stop attacking each other and realize that we know our bodies best.