Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Review That Wasn’t


A few weeks ago I was contacted by a company that wanted me to review their new gluten free pasta. I was hesitant at first, because I already have my standby pasta: Tinkyada, but their pasta is available at Walmart and so I thought it might be helpful to those with less access to other retailers.

The pasta is

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Heartland Gluten Free Wheat Free Spaghetti

So I added it to the menu for the week, and even picked up my favorite Alfredo sauce:

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Classico Roasted Garlic Alfredo which is absolutely

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gluten free.

So I sautéed half an onion and cherry tomatoes with fresh spinach. Once the spinach was wilted, I poured in the Alfredo sauce and let it simmer on low so the flavors could meld.

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At this point I was excited about my sauce and the water was boiling for the pasta. I grabbed my camera to snap a shot of the pasta for my review and then read the back of the package.

Uh Uh.

Not happy.

Right there on the back of a package that says gluten free was this:

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Heartland Gluten Free Wheat Free Pasta is processed in a facility that uses wheat? Huh?

No Way.

Not Happening.

Cross contamination is a real thing my friends, and I have discovered that first hand. Remember the corn grits episode? Gluten Hates Me, and I’m not about to eat anything that could have been contaminated with wheat or gluten.


So I didn’t cook it. I didn’t eat it. I won’t. So that’s my review.

Luckily, I always keep Tinkyada on hand. And on the back of their package:

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Yep. That’s gluten free. Good thing I had it too, because that Alfredo sauce turned out REALLY tasty!

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I added a sprinkling of fresh parmesan for zest!

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I love Tinkyada. And this comfort dish really hit the spot.


What’s your opinion of foods that the ingredient list excludes gluten and wheat but their facilities don’t?

Any personal experiences??


Anonymous said...

Arrowhead Mills does the same thing. It claims to be GF but in small print at the bottom, it says, "processed in a plant that also processes wheat...". What is up with that. How can something be labeled GF with that small print statement?

Unknown said...

I also just got a sample of the Heartland Gluten-Free Pasta in the mail and that disclaimer was the first thing I looked for. I haven't tried it yet, so you are making me rethink trying it at all. Thanks for the post.

Gluten-Free Fun

Courtney said...

Some Trader Joe's and Whole Foods gf products are processed in facilities that also process wheat products. They both assert that they use good cleaning practices to keep things from cross-contamination, though. I won't eat things unless I know what their practices are to avoid cc.

Sometimes it's just a huge facility that makes a lot of products. I have yet to get sick from any explicitly gf products at TJs or Whole Foods, but I'm super careful with products from other places.

Unknown said...

Oh I refuse to eat anything that may contain wheat or is processed in the same facility. It's not worth the pain and ickiness.

GF Gidget said...

That makes me so angry! At work, our we won't include anything in our GF sections that was made in a shared facility or on shared equipment. Cross contamination is too serious of an issue to fool around with!

Unknown said...

This says to me that they want all of the money from the gluten-free market (which is just starting to boom) but without any of the commitment or care to the GF community. They don't want new processes or new equipment, but they do want new customers. I think it's slack and conniving, especially because the risk here impacts peoples livelihoods. As seen on the Tinkyada package, you can tell who are the people who are ready to commit to selling a GF product.

aurorafedora said...

well, i'm new to this whole gluten free thing, so i haven't had bad experiences yet. but i am learning you have to read ALL of the label! thanks for the un-review!

April Olin said...

I can't believe this! I just picked some up the other day. I guess I trusted the front label a little too much. Thanks for the post! I'll be returning them to Walmart!!

Megan said...

Um, so I'm definitely NOT gluten-free, but your sauce looks so dangerously easy and amazing! We're already doing vodka sauce this week, so I'm adding it to the queue for next week.

Gina said...

After a few cross-contamination episodes in restaurants, I am now going to switch to a stricter diet. I hadn't previously worries about cross-contaminated packaged products, but I think it's been an issue. I agree with you that it's wrong of them to label it gluten-free if they don't have some sort of specific reason they think it's safe from cross-contamination. I'll stay away - thanks for the heads-up!

Sissie said...

GF Bisquick at my local Harris Teeter! It took them one email and less than a week to get it. Yay! Thanks!

1artsychick said...

I hate it when something says GF and then they have that little disclaimer. I really wish they wouldn't be able to do this. They could say, "No Gluten Ingredients Added" like Trader Joe's does on their items that are processed in a glutened facility. At least then we'd know before even picking it up.

I know you live in Durham, I don't know what area, but the Walmart closest to me has Tinkyada. I know not all of them do, but I've found it in most of them that are a Super WalMart. I go to the Walmart at
1525 Glenn School Rd
Durham, NC 27704
It's right off 85 just past the Club Blvd exit.

Glad you are on top of things.

momof4bdba said...

i just found a wonderful GF pasta that is much better than Tinkyada. It is called bionaturae organic gluten free. Made with rice potato and soy. The texture is fantastic and it does not need to be rinsed like the other ones. There is no disclaimer on the bag either. it is definately one you should try.