A friend of mine—possibly my first blog reader—just told me she has been diagnosed with celiac disease at age 58. In her email she told me that, while she is pretty freaked out, she felt much calmer having been reading my blog for the last 2-1/2 years. But it’s still a ton of work to completely clean out your kitchen, get rid of toasters and bread machines and colanders… and I feel for her, and anyone else who finds out they have celiac disease.

I didn’t have to go to that extreme, and some of her questions have made me realize that I could do more to educate myself, and readers, about cross-contamination and keeping safe if you have celiac disease.

A while back I was able to make a trek to Bob’s Red Mill while on a work trip to Portland, Oregon. Their Marketing & Social Media Specialist, Cassidy Stockton, was nice enough to take me on a tour of their dedicated gluten-free facility. Here’s why you should only buy certified gluten-free items if you have celiac disease or are very sensitive to gluten:

Once you see the regular factory, where they are grinding flour, you realize that the flour dust goes EVERYWHERE. There is no way to clean out the machines to prevent cross-contamination. Bob’s Red Mill has a dedicated gluten-free processing room in their plant. Here’s how they keep their products safe:

  • Ingredients are received and moved into quarantine. Once they have been cleared by Quality Assurance as gluten free, they are moved into their gluten-free production facility.
  • The room is cleaned daily.
  • Workers in this room ONLY work in this room on a shift; they don’t go back and forth.
  • All the items being processed in the room are gluten-free to begin with.
  • Testing is conducted when an ingredient arrives, during packaging and after packaging to make sure no gluten has contaminated the products.
  • Product is ground into tote bags and then moved into packaging. Both facilities are strictly gluten-free.

So, if you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you buy products that say certified gluten-free, and check with the company if you have any doubts. It’s not enough to buy corn meal or oats, you need to buy ones that say “gluten-free” on the label.

Stay well!

Required FTC disclosure: Bob’s Red Mill provided me a free factory tour. I was not paid to write this post.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Tuesday reviews, Wednesday essays, Thursday how-to’s, and Friday giveaways (when available).