Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arrowhead Mill Flours:

When I go to the health food store, there are only a couple brands of flour for me to choose from: Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill. Arrowhead Mills Flours are always arranged in a beautiful display of Rice Flours, Millet, to Wheat Flour. So are they safe for my kids? That was the question.

Arrowhead Mills manufactures their gluten free products in a shared facility (facility that also manufactures products that contain gluten - aka wheat, rye, barley, etc.) on shared equipment. Arrowhead Mills products are manufactured by The Hain-Celestial Group, here is a written statement that I found on the Internet: "The items which bear the label "gluten free" or "made with gluten free ingredients" are formulated and tested to be gluten free (below the detectable limit of 10ppm). The Hain Celestial Group's labeling declares major allergens (peanuts, soybeans, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, tree nuts, and wheat) and we follow the U.S. FDA's regulations. In addition, our labeling always declares gluten containing ingredients. Both major and minor ingredients of all products, as well as all processing procedures and equipment, are closely scrutinized and all potential allergen issues as determined by the Hain Celestial Group are declared on our labeling. We assure you that strict manufacturing processes and procedures are in place and that all of our manufacturing facilities follow rigid allergen control programs that include staff training, segregation of allergen ingredients, production scheduling, and thorough cleaning and sanitation."

With that being said, I made a personal call to Arrowhead mills to confirm the statement and to ask a few follow up questions.

"Do you package multiple gluten free products at one time - Like corn and rice products?" The answer was yes there was the direct possibility that different items would be run at the same time. The lady I spoke with literally said - - It most likely would be best if you do not use our products as there is the possibility for cross-contamination.

So, I walked from the call with two key piece of information for our family:
1. All of their gluten free products may contain up to 10 ppm of a gluten containing item. (That is what the statement out rightly said......the ELISA tests can not detect to zero only as low as 10 ppm as I understand it.)

2. Their gluten free flours may be run at the same time. That would mean that corn dust or soybean dust may contaminate the flours my kids could have. My son is so sensitive to corn that in the past corn dust has caused a severe reaction.

Decision for our family: We are not comfortable at this time with using Arrowhead Mills with the severity of our kids allergies.