It may not be national news but for some allergy sufferers, it’s huge news. Last November, the Chicago Tribune did another investigative report similar to one from several years ago during the height of the stories about lead paint on children’s toys. This time, the testing and subsequent report was on various food products labeled “gluten-free” that are on the shelves of several Chicagoland grocery stores.
As you can probably guess, the tests did show that indeed, some products are gluten-free, as the labels claim; some contain small, acceptable amounts of gluten (although it is debatable if any amount of gluten in a gluten-free product is acceptable); and some contain alarmingly high amounts of gluten.
One of the lines determined to have high gluten levels, despite a “gluten-free” label is an assortment of breaded meat products targeted for children’s consumption, manufactured by New Jersey’s Wellshire Kids and sold at Whole Foods stores. After some initial stalling, Whole Foods did pull the products but only after enough customers complained and they decided it was the right thing to do and take responsibility, no longer placing the blame on the manufacturer. At the manufacturer level, Wellshire Kids now says they discovered last June that the products were not gluten-free as labeled due to one of the batter ingredients so they found a substitute ingredient manufacturer for the products in question. However; they chose to continue to sell the products made with the old ingredient (that did contain gluten) that was already in inventory.
So, is just enough really good enough? Yes, both parties acknowledged the problem truthfully and factually (no SPIN!!!) then made the necessary changes to correct the problem and went public with those announcements and changes. But in today’s world, wouldn’t it be refreshing to have someone take that extra step, be ahead of the bad publicity, do the testing more diligently and ensure all the claims are 100% accurate before being caught in this situation?