Pissing In The Gluten-Free Cheerios

CheeriosADDENDUM: Since writing this post I started a petition on Change.org as more and more stories of people in gluten-free community kept pouring in. Please sign it and share. The only thing that you have to be to sign this petition is a human being who believes Celiac/gluten-sensitive people should be able to enjoy labeled gluten-free foods safely.

There is so much controversy surrounding gluten-free Cheerios right now. They are all over store shelves and it’s causing a divide. On one side are people who are encouraging people to eat them and eating it themselves. On the other side are people like me who are staying far from them and will never encourage anyone with any type of issue with gluten to eat them.

First, General Mills is mechanically cleaning oats instead of using certified gluten-free oats. This could change based on Tricia Thompson’s (Gluten-Free Watchdog) last conversation in which they stated they were looking to source “some” oats from growers following purity protocol. I quoted some because it’s not all. If you’re like me, if a product containing oats isn’t using 100% certified gluten-free oats, then I put it back on the shelf. My hope is that GM’s will move from some to all.

Second, some of the tests have had results as high at 90ppm. My thought is that if you are making a gluten-free product, the test results should be in a small cluster with an occasional slightly higher result (this is my opinion based on my psychology classes in statistics and methodology). Knowing that there has been one result that high, I don’t feel comfortable…because with my luck, I would get one of those boxes and be sick for weeks. NothanksIlikenotbeingsickallthetime.

Third, just because other people say it’s okay, I never jump on the bandwagon. I weigh the facts and the options carefully. You should too. Just because people say they don’t react, doesn’t mean the gluten isn’t doing damage while they enjoy bowl after bowl of cereal. There are a lot of things we all miss, but I refuse to do more damage to my gut just for something I might miss. I still won’t eat Domino’s gluten-free pizza.

It is a fine line to be in the public eye, blogging and using social media to spread the word about gluten-free living. It would be irresponsible of me to say, “Hey, gluten-free Cheerios are safe to eat because we have those awesome labeling regulations now.” No, it doesn’t work that way, especially with something this controversial and iffy. Research, dig, do due diligence. You owe it to your health (and that of your family if you’re the one making decisions for gluten-free family members) to do so and not just take someone’s word for it who you happen to follow on Facebook or read their blog.

If someone has to use a qualifying statement like, “If you have Celiac or are extra sensitive, you shouldn’t eat/drink this.” IF it is that serious, no one who is gluten-free should be eating or drinking said product. I won’t use gluten-free Cheerios until I’m certain they will be safe for EVERYONE.

Some articles by Tricia Thompson on gluten-free Cheerios:

General Mills “Gluten-Free” Cheerios: Comment from Gluten-Free Watchdog

More Thoughts on Gluten-Free Cheerios

Gluten-Free Cheerios: Take Two

After some discussion on the gluten-free easily Facebook page, Shirley has encouraged everyone saying they reacted to the gf Cheerios to contact General Mills and the FDA. I feel it is important to contact both and not just one. GM needs to know that their product and how they are processing and testing it is not meeting true gf needs. The FDA needs to know that a labeled gf product is making people sick. 

 

 

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30 comments

  1. I tried the Honey Nut Cheerios already. I have missed them for the last two years since my diagnosis. However, by day two and many trips to the bathroom, it was apparent I am not able to eat them still. Oh well. I tried it and it’s out of my system (figuratively and literally).

    • I’m sorry to hear that. Even with the new labeling regulations that started a year ago, I feel it’s still important for us to keep reading labels so we don’t fall into traps that companies use to get us to keep from looking closer before buying their product.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you 150% I hate when companies put a gluten free label on a product that truly isn’t GF. How can they say GF and then state if you have Celiac’s you probably shouldn’t eat this? That is totally contradicting what you are selling. Gluten free should me free of all types of gluten. I’m so sick of how foods can be labeled in this country as well as what is deemed ok for us to eat. It really says something when other countries will not accept our food. Thanks for the article. Even if something says GF I always check the ingredients until I kno for sure it is ok for me.

    • Melina, it appalls me whenever I see ANYONE say, “If you have Celiac or are highly sensitive, don’t eat/drink this” when it’s something being touted as gf. One time I was out with Johnna (In Johnna’s Kitchen) and we both educated someone at a bar about why Omission beer isn’t really gluten-free. I agree with you as well. If it’s gf, it should be safe for EVERYONE.

      • Debi I feel your pain its how I feel about Vodka that is made from grains. These companies are trying to say the distilling process clears all the gluten out. Really, then how come if I drink one of those grain brands I get sick? The other thing is trying to explain to a waiter/waitress that if you accidentally put croutons in my salad that it is not ok to just take them off. I so wish it was that easy.

        • I think we’ve all experienced that, Melina. Oddly enough, vodka is the only grain liquor I react to. If it’s made from something other than grains (like grapes or coconut), I’m fine. Glad to know it’s not just me and some of my friends. But you’re right, it’s so hard trying to explain to people who have no idea.

  3. You are definitely not alone. Have you tried Tito’s Vodka its made from corn but tastes very much like a grain vodka. Its pretty good

    • I haven’t, but I’ve heard good things. I keep Bomborra (grapes) and VuQo (coconuts) in my bar cabinet…because I rarely drink vodka anymore. lol I drink bourbon and rum way more than vodka nowadays.

      • Oh I’ll have to try those. Yea I’m not a big drinker but when I do want something my go to used to be Stoli Razz and 7up. Now its Titos w soda water & a few drops of lemon/lime water flavor. Less calories but still tastes good. Have you tried Angry Orchard those are good too and they have all different and seasonal flavors

        • I do like hard cider (or just cider as they call it across the pond). My favorite is Stella’s Cidre. It’s more beer-like and not as sweet. Otherwise, Woodchuck Summer Cider or Angry Orchard Cinnful Cider with mead.

  4. For the last 13 + years as celiac, I used to be able to explain celiac to the general population as wheat / rye / barley /oats – along with all of the grains that tie in, but now OATS is considered no longer since you can get certified GF . I have only tried twice ( both accidental) and I am can not even tolerate the GF oats – having GF oats has actually made things so much more difficult for me – especially when others making or buying food is involved, they see GF and thinks its safe (well, not for me). The Cheerios isn’t even using GF Oats? even worse! 90 PPM being called GF should be a crime!

    • Dina, I know you aren’t the only one who can’t tolerate certified gf oats. I don’t think I’ve ever heard about anyone looking into why that happens and it makes me wonder if it’s something like molecular mimicry. Like you, I have people who will tell me something is gf just because the package says so. It’s why I tend to bring my food with me when going to a gathering. It’s the only way I know I’ll be 100% safe. I agree. If a company wants to provide a true gf product they would put the effort in to make sure that they were doing it right. If they were, it wouldn’t test so high. I could understand it testing just a little over 20, but 90 is way too high to take any kind of chance.

    • I’m glad you mentioned that, Holly. We’ve been talking on FB and a friend is encouraging people to contact the FDA and GM. I’m going to add the contact info to the post, just need a few minutes to add it. 🙂

  5. Debi–I can’t thank you enough for writing this post! Your headline has compelled folks to really read about what’s going on with GM Cheerios when most of them were ignoring the facts before. Bravo! I also want to add that Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog is recommending that folks grab all the product-specific data from the products they consumed and include that info in their letters to the FDA and General Mills. I did want to ask about the qualifying statement (“If you have Celiac or are extra sensitive, you shouldn’t eat/drink this.”) that you included. To my knowledge, General Mills is including no such statements on their “gluten-free” Cheerios. Tricia shared a similar, but not identical statement in her warning on GF Watchdog. Where is this statement made? Finally, thanks so much for urging folks to contact both the FDA and GM. If folks take this action, it could make a huge difference!

    Thanks,
    Shirley

    • Shirley, the qualifying statement was meant to mean when people or companies make that in general about a product, not necessarily that GM made the statement. It was a general cautionary if say, they are new to the gf diet without a doctor’s diagnosis or diagnosed with gluten sensitivity and see a blogger saying on Facebook or Twitter that it’s okay for them to eat or drink something if they don’t have Celiac or are highly sensitive. Does that make sense?

      Thank you again for sharing this post, I know it’s reaching a lot of people even if a small handful are insistent on continuing to eat the gf Cheerios. However, it looks like a lot more had no idea and hadn’t tried it yet and will now avoid it. I always appreciate your advocacy. xo

  6. This article is so true, but I really don’t like the title you chose for this article. It’s kind of gross using the word “pissing” in an article that is meant to be helpful.

    • Mel, I’m glad you agree with the post, however, the title is mine to choose as it is my blog. It might be gross to you, but as a writer I like playing with words and phrases and the title is a play on the phrase, “Who pissed in your cereal?” It has several meanings here, one of which is General Mills has figuratively pissed in cereal (in more ways than one) that is meant to be safe for those who are gluten-free. Another is to figuratively do so to the people who are ignoring the facts and encouraging others to eat this cereal. Whether you like it or not, the title has garnered a lot of attention and people who had no idea General Mills was using mean test results to determine their under 20ppm are now aware and will be avoiding the cereal. It has also brought voices forth who have gotten sick from the cereal, voices we hope that will be contacting General Mills and the FDA to effect change here.

  7. I knew better than to give in & try them. I caved in & I’ve been sick for a week now. I hope they get their act together or just stop trying to make them.

    • Ang, I’m so sorry you got sick. I hope the symptoms don’t last much longer. If you still have the box with the lot #, etc., please consider contacting General Mills and the FDA with the information and how the cereal has affected you. The links for contacting the company and the agency are above.

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  9. Thank you, Debi (and to all the others advocating: Shirley, Tricia, etc.). I haven’t tried them (we’re in France now, and of course, it’s not an issue here), but when we return to the US we wouldn’t try them anyway. I never trusted the initial info I received from GM when asked to visit their facility (along with many other bloggers) and I certainly wouldn’t trust the product now. This is a fail for GM and a serious let down and health hazard for the gluten-free community. I’m sharing your post, as well as the others you cite on my social channels and will continue to do so. I signed the petition and will encourage my readers who feel compelled to do the same. Thanks, again… great post! xo Gigi

    • Thank you for your support, Gigi! I know you aren’t the only one who hasn’t trusted GM and still don’t. I’m hoping through this that we not only raise awareness, but open the eyes of the people who aren’t accepting of the facts (I know how you like facts!). xo

    • Mary, I am so sorry you are one of the many who became sick after eating the gf labeled Cheerios. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to report it to GM and the FDA through the links I provided above. Through your reporting, we can help make sure that change happens here. And if you would like to, please sign the petition (http://chn.ge/1LOZHiM) and share with others to help us gain more support to make sure the gluten-free label on Cheerios really means gluten-free. I hope each day you are feeling better.

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