Hungry Rooster Can’t Guarantee Gluten-Free Products are Suitable for Celiacs

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Out of an abundance of care for consumer safety,  a concern about a product line promoted as gluten free by Hungry Rooster, a manufacturer of wheat-based perogies on Vancouver Island, BC has been lodged with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA has indicated that Food Complaint #75505 has been received and that an investigation will be undertaken.

BACKGROUND

My heart took a little dip when I noticed that a Vancouver Island producer of wheat perogies had begun marketing a ‘gluten-free’ line of products.  I followed up with the contact listed on hungryrooster.ca

Hello Janina!

Your gluten-free perogies fairly leapt out at me from a store freezer last week. Bravo on creating a version without the magic of gluten. That is not an easy thing to do!

As a celiac who lives within a family of gluten-eaters, I know just how hard it is to keep things ‘separate’ in a busy kitchen. I hope you don’t mind me asking a couple of questions you’ve probably been asked before.

  • How do you know that the practices you have in place to prevent cross-contamination really work?
  • Do the ingredients for your gluten-free line come with assurances that they are truly gluten free i.e. have not been cross contaminated themselves?

I know that you understand that celiacs depend on knowing as much as we can about the food that others prepare for us.  Thanks for your attention, and for venturing to make celiac perogy lovers happy. We do appreciate it!


Hungry Rooster may not be safe for celiacs


Janina replied:

“We do our outmost to ensure the risk of cross contamination of our gluten free products is reduced to the minimum. We can not guarantee our product is suitable for people affected by celiac disease. If you are a person with a true celiac disease the only true gluten free products are available only from speciality certified stores. This is indicated on our labels on all gluten free products.”


Representing products as gluten-free, but not guaranteed to be safe for celiacs seemed a contravention of Health Canada’s Regulatory Requirements for Gluten-Free Foods:

  • 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)

I shared the above correspondence with the Fair Labelling Practices Program & Food Safety Specialist Inspector – BC Coastal Operations, Canadian Food Inspection Agency along with images of Hungry Rooster’s website information (see below), and a sample bag each of  ‘Gluten-Free’ Cheddar Potato and ‘Gluten-Free’ Spinach/Feta/Garlic perogies.


Below are the reputable, well-intended retailers that carry http://hungryrooster.ca/wholesale-perogies across Vancouver Island and in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta. Also note Hungry Rooster’s many upcoming public appearances, itemized on http://hungryrooster.ca/calendar.

  • Victoria, BC: Market on Yates and Market on Millstream • Lifestyles Market on Douglas • Red Barn Markets (all four)
  • Duncan, BC: Cowichan Valley Meat Market
  • Nanaimo, BC: Hungry Rooster retail store #203-1925 Bowen Road
  • Parksville, BC: Naked Naturals • Eat Fresh Urban Market
  • Qualicum Beach, BC: Naked Naturals
  • Salt Spring Island, BC:  Country Grocer • Natureworks • Salt Spring Mercantile • Vesuvius Cafe
  • Edmonton, AB: K & K Foodliner • Baltyk Bakery • Delton Sausage House
  • Calgary, AB: Old Fashioned Meat Products

Gluten-Free Products

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