Rawthentic Eatery Retracts Gluten-Free Claims

 “Until we are certified and approved by the CFIA, we have taken down references to gluten free.”
Bill Hadikin, Owner, Rawthentic Eatery

The CFIA carried out a food safety investigation into this matter [File# 74160]. We were in contact with the regulated party and based on our inspection, we were able to identify the source of the issue regarding print advertisements and gluten-free representations for food.  In accordance with the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR), in order for a food to be represented as “gluten-free”, it must comply with section B.24.018. Claims to the effect that a food does not contain an ingredient or substance must be factual and not misleading, including all advertisements.  Accordingly, the company has taken action to correct the identified issue.” (Aniko VargaFair Labelling Practices Program & Food Safety Specialist Inspector – BC Coastal Operations, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Government of Canada)

What prompted the initial Canadian Food Inspection Agency Investigation File#74163 – January 14, 2016 

Rawthentic Eatery claims-to-gluten-free“My daughter who has celiac disease and myself who is gluten sensitive frequently visited your restaurant. We loved your food and assumed it was safe because of your claims on your website, on your menus and on your product labels. Because of these claims, Rawthentic Eatery appeared on The Celiac Scene’s recommended restaurant list, qualified to participate in Victoria’s Gluten Free Gala in October 2015, an event widely- promoted as safe for gluten sensitive and allergic consumers. We began buying your products to enjoy at home,  excited to find gluten-free nuts, hemp seeds, treats etc.

Just after Christmas my daughter started to feel unwell. I thought maybe it was her just being tired from all of her college studies. By early January her symptoms were getting worse. By the middle of January her symptoms were severe. We started to try to figure out she was being glutened. Cleaned my kitchen went through how she could be getting crossed contaminated. Then it hit me we were bringing all your products home for her to eat. She had been getting slowly poisoned for months. I called the restaurant and ask what supplier you were using for your nuts and seeds and I was told Dan d pac. I found the source of our problem. As you know there products are not safe and made in a facility that contains all allergens.  Celiac disease is an auto immune condition that if you eat gluten the body immune system attacks itself.  After the continuous exposer to your products these are some of the symptoms my daughter has:

  • extreme fatigue
  • body and bone aches that are very intense
  • cankers sores in her mouth so severe that she couldn’t close it,
  • balance issues,
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • lack of circulation to hands and feet, chills
  • crying bouts, fits of anger, lack of concentration, brain fog

It is now March and she is finally recovering. She has missed classes at college and missed work for the duration. I also suffered health consequences: digestive problems, skin rashes, brain fog etc.

I appreciate that this is our medical condition and it is difficult for us to find safe foods. Please understand that if your restaurant is making these claims you need to understand what your are doing and where you are getting your products from. Please take the claims off your web site that your restaurant is safe for allergy suffers, the gluten free and safe for celiacs.

I have some products that I have bought that I would like a refund on, can I bring them into the royal oak location?  I do think your Restaurants food is very good and the treats you make are amazing. I hope one day that Rawthentic Eatery will be truly gluten free and safe for celiacs. It is a dream to be able to eat good healthy food and not worry about getting sick.”

Kathleen Lee (and on behalf of Kiara Lee)

Please visit ‘Restaurant Continues to Claim Gluten Free Despite CFIA Investigation‘ or view the details copied below.

Rawthentic Eatery

Google Search ‘Rawthentic Eatery,’ January 26, 2016

The Victoria office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have launched an additional investigation of the Royal Oak location of Rawthentic Eatery.

On January 14, 2016, The Celiac Scene published a caution in regard to concerns that a local consumer shared with the CFIA (File# 74160) regarding, “ill effects that her celiac daughter associates with gluten ingestion” after eating at Rawthentic Eatery. See complete article below or visit  Rawthentic Eatery Recalled from The Celiac Scene RE: Ingredient Sourcing

File# 74163 was established by the Victoria office of the CFIA today, as the result of Rawthentic Eatery’s advertisement in the Saanich News, January 22, 2016, promoting  “food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food if the food contains any gluten protein or modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, referred to in the definition “gluten” in subsection B.01.010.1(1).” See Health Canada’s Position on Gluten-Free Claims.

“On January 25, 2016, the CFIA received your complaint relating to “gluten-free” representation of food from Rawthentic Eatery, Victoria B.C. (a printed advertisement from Saanich News dated Jan. 22, 2016), and that an investigation into this complaint will be carried out by the CFIA.”  (See image below.)
Saanich News

Click on image to view ad on page A8, Saanich News, January 22nd, 2016

The Celiac Scene would like to express its sincere appreciation to the hard-working staff  at the CFIA who undertake to protect the health and well being of Canadian consumers. We commit to keeping you posted.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Rawthentic Eatery Recalled from The Celiac Scene RE: Ingredient Sourcing


Rawthentic Eatery has locations in Courtenay, Qualicum Beach and Victoria

January 13, 2016 Hi Ellen,  “I just wanted to let you know about our experience at Rawthentic Eatery in Royal Oak, Victoria. My daughter and I have been eating there and buying their packaged foods to eat at home. They say that their food is safe for celiacs and is labeled gluten free. My daughter started having ‘gluten symptoms’ that were becoming very severe. I was trying to figure out how she was getting constantly glutened. I called the restaurant and they told me they use Dan D Pak foods which are made in a facility that produces gluten products. I called Dan-D-Pak and their Customer Service department said that their products should NOT be considered gluten free.  I am not sure about all the regulations but are they allowed to do this? I don’t want anyone else to get as sick as my daughter. Could you tell me what I can do about this?” Kathleen L.

Rawthentic Dan-D-Pak

Click and scroll down to view Dan-D-Pak’s response to online inquiry re: gluten free

The Celiac Scene recommended that Kathleen reach out to the local offices of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in regard to ill effects that her celiac daughter associates with gluten ingestion. It could be that there had been a food safety issue and/or a Health Canada regulatory violation (see Appendix A below).

Fair Labelling Practices Program & Food Safety Specialist Inspector – BC Coastal Operations. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Government of Canada – 250-363-3106

Kathleen informed me on January 14, 2016 that a Food Complaint (#74160) had been registered and that, “an investigation into this complaint will be carried out by the CFIA. Food investigations are conducted in a thorough and consistent manner and the information obtained provides the basis for any CFIA action.”

Kathleen added, “The thing that most upsets me is that they [Rawthentic Eatery]  knew Dan-D-Pak was not safe and they continued to use it, while labeling their products ‘gluten-free.’ This is negligence. I would like them to see how much K…. is suffering.”

Rawthentic 'gluten-free' products

Images of products bearing a gluten-free label, purchased from Rawthentic Eatery in Royal Oak, Victoria

As a precaution, The Celiac Scene has removed all three Rawthentic Eatery locations from its listings until it hears back from Kathleen / the CFIA. If following a strict gluten-free diet is an imperative, please make informed decisions that align with your personal needs. See suggestions on how to Start the Conversation on Celiac-Friendly Dining.

gluten free restaurantWe welcome feedback on the information that we share on this site in a collaboration with the gluten-free and celiac community in Victoria, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. If you feel that a restaurant is ‘Getting Gluten Free Right,’ we’d love to hear about it. Here are celiac-recommended establishments that our contributors tell us are doing an outstanding job! Please reward them with your patronage!


Appendix A

  • As of August 4, 2012, section B.24.018 of the Food and Drug Regulations will state that:
    • It is prohibited to label, package, sell or advertise a food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food if the food contains any gluten protein or modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, referred to in the definition “gluten” in subsection B.01.010.1(1).
  • Subsection B.01.010.1(1) reads:
    • “gluten”
      • (a) any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or the grain of a hybridized strain created from at least one of the following cereals:
        • (i) barley,
          (ii) oats,
          (iii) rye,
          (iv) triticale, or
          (v) wheat, kamut or spelt; or
      • (b) any modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, that is derived from the grain of any of the cereals referred to in subparagraphs
        • (a)(i) to (v) or the grain of a hybridized strain referred to in paragraph (a). (gluten)