Okay seriously, how many times does a celiac recite the whole "wheat, barley, rye, and oats" line, fully including oats in the category of forbidden foods, even though technically, oats in and of themselves are safe? It's too much to explain, and being that most oats are contaminated somewhere along the way, it's just easier to lump them in with all the poisonous grains for the sake of explanation.
Personally, I don't even try to mess with the certified GF oats because I'm scared it'll be too confusing to me.
Yet.... I was drawn in when I got word that Kroger had labeled its store brand blueberry instant oatmeal as being GF. I bought a box. I was too chicken to actually try to eat it, but I bought it. It says right on the front: "A gluten free food. This product has never contained gluten."
Wow. Their website is quite thorough, so I can trust this label, right?
I couldn't bring myself to try to eat it. I got on their website and sent the following message to Kroger:
"I recently found that on your blueberry instant oatmeal, the package states that it is gluten free. I am concerned about the gluten contamination that so often occurs with oats. Before attempting to eat this oatmeal, I would like to know if Kroger is confident in stating that these indeed are oats that have not been contaminated by wheat, barley, or rye at any stage in their harvesting and production. Thank you for your consideration."
The first reply came a few days later:
"Thank you for contacting The Kroger Co. A Customer Service Representative has received your comments. We have forwarded your message to a Registered Dietitian who will research your inquiry and reply as soon as possible.
Also, please feel free to call our toll-free number (1-866-632-6900) with nutritional inquiries concerning our products; our representatives will be happy to assist you and provide you with the most up-to-date information.
Thanks again for your inquiry, and we look forward to helping you in the future.
Ooookay..... I am now concerned at the fact that they do not have a reply to such an inquiry already prepared. Most of the time when I contact a company online about the GF status of their products, I get the same response that anyone else would get when they ask. Apparently this question has not yet made it to "FAQ" status.
Today I received the promised reply that could truly address my concerns. This is what it said:
Thank you for contacting The Kroger Co. We are always happy to provide additional information for our products. You inquired about the gluten free icon on the label of the blueberry instant oatmeal. We do not recommend our oats on a gluten free diet for the exact reasons you noted in your original e-mail. I have notified our corporate food technologist who is responsible for the product and we have agreed that we should remove the icon from the label. I apologize for the inconvenience this causes you and for our oversight in this matter. Please feel free to return the product to the store. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention so that we can get it resolved. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions.
Maggie Gough RD LD
The Kroger Company
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1141
No further comment from me on this one!