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Jessica Smagacz
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Mislabeled ‘Gluten-free’ meals Pulled from Shelves at Whole Foods

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Whole Foods Market said it is pulling three popular ‘gluten-free’ products, Chicago Tribune reports, because the products actually contain gluten.

The Chicago Tribune investigated the products, testing three Wellshire Kids brand ‘gluten-free’ products which are only sold at Whole Foods (Dinosaur Shapes Chicken Bites, Chicken Corn Dogs and Beef Corn Dogs). These products contained between 116 and 2,200 parts per million of gluten.

The actual definition of ‘gluten-free’ Chicago tribune reports is “imprecise” but experts say ‘gluten-free’ is less 20 ppm.

Initially Whole Foods wasn’t happy about the investigation and report completed by the Chicago Tribune last month. However, Whole Foods received close to 20 consumer complaints or inquiries about the ‘gluten-free’ products. Some consumers thought ‘gluten-free’ meant zero-gluten.

Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton said, “Listening to what our customers had to say, in addition to looking at the facts, we decided we just needed to go ahead and pull the products.”

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. It can cause allergic reactions in people who have allergies to wheat and it can also cause severe abdominal pain in people who have celiac disease.

One consumer story includes Peggy Pridemore. She has a four year old son who has a wheat allergy. Her son had a severe reaction after eating the chicken bites last December. Her son was treated at a hospital.

Whole Foods stopped making the products in June after discovering the batter coating on the food contained gluten. The products were initially made by Wellshire Farms, based in New Jersey. Even after they stopped making the product, Wellshire Farms continued to ship the products to Whole Foods and Whole Foods continued to sell the products.

Thank goodness Whole Foods finally decided to pull these products from their shelves.