Friday, April 30, 2010

North Carolina Governor Declares May Celiac Disease Awareness Month

Media Release

North Carolina Governor Declares May Celiac Disease Awareness Month

• Triangle residents can participate in a gluten-free food drive at various locations or make a monetary donation to help stock the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina
• Bella Monica Italian Restaurant is hosting a six-course gluten-free dinner prepared by Vanessa Maltin, food and lifestyle editor for Delight Gluten-free Magazine
• A top food allergens poster is available for restaurants to download to educate their staff about these items, including gluten

Raleigh, N.C., USA, April 30, 2010 – The Gluten Free Raleigh Blog has announced Governor Beverly Perdue has declared May 2010 “Celiac Disease Awareness Month” in North Carolina. The Gluten Free Raleigh Blog and Pat Berger, leader of the North Raleigh Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) Support Group brought the petition to the Governor’s office regarding the awareness month.

Celiac Disease is a genetic autoimmune disease that affects one in 133 people in the United States. It interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food and can cause gastrointestinal and neurological issues, infertility, skin rashes and cancer. The only treatment for Celiac Disease is lifelong, strict adherence to a gluten-free diet.

“The Governor’s proclamation paves the way to further educate the community on Celiac Disease and helps to create a positive impact on the quality of life for people living with this condition,” said Zach Becker, creator of the Gluten Free Raleigh Blog. “It’s my goal to help raise awareness so those living with this disease can safely eat out at restaurants and have easier access to gluten-free food.”

In an effort to educate, raise awareness and give back to the community, there are a number of gluten-free events scheduled during the month of May.

• A gluten-free food drive will be held on Saturday, May 8 to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Special discounts at the drop off locations may be available in exchange for your donation. Bins are set up in each of these locations to accept the packaged gluten-free non-perishable food items:
o Rosie’s Plate – N. Person St., Raleigh
o Bella Monica Italian Restaurant – Edwards Mill Rd., Raleigh
o ZPizza – Falls of Neuse Rd., Raleigh and Cornerstone Dr., Cary
o Mellow Mushroom – W. Peace St., Raleigh
o Whole Foods Market, Raleigh – Wade Ave., Raleigh
o Earth Fare – Moncreiffe Rd., Raleigh
o Harmony Farms/CafĂ© Harmony – Creedmoor Rd., Raleigh

• A virtual Gluten Free food drive will be held all month to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina with gluten-free food. The link to donate can be located at the top of the Gluten Free Raleigh Blog.

• On Sunday, May 16, beginning at 5 p.m., Bella Monica Italian Restaurant will host a six-course gluten-free dinner prepared by Vanessa Maltin, food and lifestyle editor for Delight Gluten-free Magazine and Corbett Monica, head chef at Bella Monica Italian Restaurant. They will be preparing dishes from Maltin’s gluten-free cookbook entitled The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook: Spicing Up Life with Italian, Asian and Mexican Recipes. Copies of the cookbook will also be included. Tickets are required for this dining event and can be purchased by calling Bella Monica Italian Restaurant at 919-881-9778.

• The Gluten Free Raleigh Blog worked with Sofia Noble of the design firm This Is Beautiful to create a poster featuring all of the top food allergens, including gluten. This poster is now available for download in English and Spanish at the Gluten Free Raleigh Blog. Wake County restaurant owners may use it to educate their staffs about these foods.

“Research indicates there are approximately three million people living with Celiac Disease in the United States and of those, only about 120,000 have been diagnosed,” said Alice Bast, founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). “It’s great to see North Carolina working to raise awareness about this disease so perhaps others can be accurately diagnosed by their doctors. Zach Becker and the entire North Carolina Celiac Disease community should be commended for their leadership and successful advocacy efforts.”


About Gluten Free Raleigh Blog
Zach Becker was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in May 2008. He founded the Gluten Free Raleigh Blog in August 2008 and has created similar blogs across the state. He has recruited writers for these blogs so gluten-free information in those communities can be shared. The blogs contain restaurant and grocery store reviews, summaries of national news as well as highlight local companies that cater to the gluten-free community. Becker is an advocate for those living with Celiac Disease in the Triangle and donates his time to educate the newly diagnosed, local restaurants and government leaders on this condition.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jules Shepard Updates

Just wanted to mention a few updates from a Gluten Free Raleigh favorite - Jules Shepard.
  1. Jules released a new free CookiE-book a few days ago (which has now expired).  However, for Gluten Free Raleigh readers, the offer has been extended through May 5th.  Click this link and enter the coupon code "cookie8" to get your free 18 page e-book featuring 11 Gluten Free cookie recipes.  The e-book normally runs $10.
  2. Jules is taking part in a Celiac Disease fund raiser this weekend called "Making Tracks for Celiacs" which benefits the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research.  During this run/walk, Jules is attempting to raise $3000 and is already halfway to her goal.  It's not likely that most of you will be in Baltimore this weekend but you can still donate online to help Jules reach her goal.  If any of you have ever had the pleasure to experience a Gluten Free cooking class taught by Jules here in Raleigh, you know she is a great person and is a huge advocate/activist for Celiacs.  Now is our turn to repay her for making five trips to Raleigh for cooking classes over the last year or so.  Donate online to Jules' team here.  This event is in it's 9th year and has raised nearly $2 million towards increasing awareness and supporting research.  Definitely a great cause.
  3. Jules is also currently working on finishing up her third book entitled Free for All Cooking.  This new recipe book (Jules' third book) will contain 125 recipes that are Gluten Free and can easily be made Allergen-Free.  It also features a really extensive substitution guide for common ingredients that you or someone in your family may be allergic too - pretty cool!  The book can be pre-ordered right now on Amazon.com and should be available in early October.

Rosie's Plate - Upcoming Gluten Free Cooking Classes

There are two upcoming Gluten Free cooking classes at Rosie's Plate - one this weekend and another next weekend.  See below for details.
Gather around our prep table for an interactive cooking demonstration on preparing gluten free meals made with fresh, all natural ingredients.
In each of these classes, Emily will teach you how preparing deliciously healthy meals
really can be quick and easy.
You'll come away with everything you need to do it yourself!

May 1st - Easy GF Meals for Restricted Diets: 2pm - 4pm $50

May 8th - Easy GF Meals Kids Will Just Love: 2pm - 4pm $50

Call Rosie's Plate for more details @ 833-0505.  FYI - There are only 10 seats available for each class.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market - Gluten Free Options

Today begins the season for the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market (formally Moore Square Farmers Market).  The market has been relocated to the new City Plaza on Fayetteville Street near the new convention center and Mariott hotel.  The market runs from today until October 27th and is held each Wednesday from 10am - 2pm.

While looking through the vendor list, I noticed three that stuck out...
Annelore's German Bakery
Morrisville, NC
(919) 294-8040
-Premier German Bakery specializing in authentic German baked goods.

Pasta Wench
Boone, NC
828.262.1040
www.PastaWench.com
-Supporting local food is my goal, as well as creating delicious memorable fillings for my gourmet ravioli's, specialty pastas and sauces. I am part of the Goodness Grows in NC, and also ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program) Pasta Wench currently is setting up local NC growers for next year, and I believe that supporting our local growers and economy is paramount for having a sustainable, local business within the community. I live on a small farm, and we are currently in the process of organic certification for our fresh herbs that are used for sauces, and ravioli fillings. This spring we have expanded our line to include Gluten-Free, Organic and Vegan ravioli's and pasta. 

Sweet T, a cakery
Cary, NC
919-259-0141
www.sweettcakes.weebly.com
-Sweet T, a cakery offers gourmet, artisan cupcakes, cakes and baked goods made from scratch using only the finest fresh, local and organic ingredients. We offer an amazing selection of gluten-free and vegan treats. Our creations are not only moist and delicious but beautiful and creative.
The first I discovered at the recent Gluten Free Vendor Fair @ Whole Foods Market in Raleigh.  The second two I am not familiar with (yet) but they specifically list Gluten Free options.  I'll do some digging and see what I can find out.  If you are familiar with any of these vendors offering GF items, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Custom Choice Cereal Updates

Since Hajo was nice enough to write about Gluten Free Raleigh today, I'll return the favor.  Below are some updates from our GF friends over at Custom Choice Cereal.
  • CustomChoiceCereal.com recently underwent some minor surgery and now has simplified and enhanced the ordering process and user experience.  Some new ingredients (including USDA Organic choices) were also added and they now boast that you can make over 1.25 Billion combinations of custom Gluten Free cereal.  Awesome!  New and bigger pictures of the ingredients are also now online.
  • You can also now find Custom Choice Cereal at the Hillsborough Farmers Market each Saturday from 830a - 1230p at the Hillsborough Home Depot Parking Lot, Hampton Point Shopping Center. NC 86 & I-85 @ Exit 165.  Mark on your online order that you are picking up your order there to save on shipping.
  • Create your favorite mix and share with your friends.  Give them your mix id and if five friends order your mix, you get it free!  Pretty cool.
  • As always, each month on the first Wednesday, Custom Choice Cereal's Blog will feature a Q&A session with Dr. Wagnen.  The next one is coming up on May 5th.  Ask your question about Celiac or Gluten Free Living right there on the blog and the Doc answers.
  • Order your Custom Choice Cereal mix by Cinco de Mayo to get 10% your order for Gluten Free Raleigh readers.  Use the coupon code "gfraleigh".

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Gluten Free Products from General Mills

General Mills is at it again... They hit the Gluten Free market in full force last summer with the debut of several varieties of Chex cereals in addition to the release of four varieties of Betty Crocker GF baking mixes.  Since last summer they have rolled out a new Web site called Live Gluten Freely which now currently details over 250 General Mills products that are labeled Gluten Free.  Those 250 products include Betty Crocker frosting, yoplait yogurt, Progresso soup, fruit by the foot, gushers, fruit roll-ups, Betty Crocker potato buds, Green Giant vegetables, and LaraBars.

This summer, General Mills will again make a splash with new product offerings.  This time, it will be a Gluten Free version of it's famous Bisquick product along with three varieties of Hamburger Helper dinner mixes.  See the details over at Celiac-Disease.com.  The products will first be unveiled at the annual Celiac Disease Foundation conference in Los Angeles on May 15th.  The products will be rolled out nationwide later in the summer.

FYI - if you or someone you know are new to the Gluten Free diet, you can visit the Live Gluten Freely Web site to order a gift box of a variety of GF items from General Mills.  Click here for details.  There are also a ton of recipes as well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Durham Bulls - New Gluten Free Options

Just wanted to share some exciting news from the Durham Bulls.  They are very interested in offering Gluten Free options at the ballpark.  In fact, they have already started to offer a few items.  This past weekend, I enjoyed a few RedBridge at the game.





How to find the Gluten Free items
There is nothing on the Web site yet and not really any signs around the stadium, so I'll do my best to direct you to the GF cart.  On the main concourse on the third base side (enter the ballpark and take the stairs up to the main concourse then head left), there is a new healthy options cart (see picture) which is now offering the following Gluten Free items.
  • RedBridge Gluten Free Beer
  • Baked Goods from Moonlight Bakery; Peanut Butter Cookies, Reese Cake Cups & Brownie Bites
Please keep in mind that the entire cart is not Gluten Free.  There are other Gluten containing items on the cart (like wraps).  So far, they are using precautions like only selling packaged items to prevent cross contact.  For example, Moonlight Bakery's items are nicely packaged and are not opened or handled after delivery from Moonlight Bakery to the ballpark.

The Bulls would like to expand the offerings and are looking for input from Gluten Free consumers like you!  Please vote in the poll below and/or leave a comment with the food item you'd like to see them offer.  I will be passing along this information to the folks in charge (Thanks Tammy!) and if the items requested are reasonable and can be safely sold, they will do their best to expand.

FYI - the hot dogs sold at the ballpark are Sabrett which are Gluten Free.  They might be able to easily add Gluten Free hot dog buns.  Another idea is to bring in packaged food from Rosie's Plate.  I purposely do not have Gluten Free Pizza listed in the poll below because they are currently contracted to purchase pizza from a single vendor who is not producing GF pizza.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gluten Free 101 Class - April 24th 1pm @ Rosie's Plate

Just wanted to put out a quick reminder to those of you who are recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or have gone Gluten Free for one reason or the other. I will be teaching a Gluten Free 101 class this coming Saturday at Rosie's Plate in downtown Raleigh. Please call Rosie's Plate @ 919-833-0505 today if you are interested in attending. There are a few spots remaining and best efforts will be made to accommodate all who wish to attend. It is important if you are learning how to be Gluten Free that you attend this class or one like it. The class really fills the void between your diagnosis and beginning to get healthy again. A portion of the class fee will be donated to Gluten Free Week at Camp Kanata as well. I am trying to teach this class once per quarter since there are so many new GF folks in the area.

Gluten Free 101 Class
Saturday, April 24, 1 - 4pm $35
If you've just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or wheat/gluten allergies this class is for you. Learn firsthand from someone who's been there. Taught by Zach Becker from the Gluten Free Raleigh Blog, you'll learn how to easily segue into a gluten free lifestyle.
We'll cover practical topics including:

* How to transition your kitchen into a safe gluten free kitchen
* What every gluten free person needs in their pantry
* How to read labels & find hidden ingredients
* Tips on how to eat away from home
* What to watch for with personal care products & medications

We'll also discuss the many resources available including

* GF friendly grocery stores & restaurants
* GF knowledgeable Dietitians
* GF Support Groups
* GF Cookbooks & Magazines

This is a wonderful introduction to living successfully, and happily, without gluten!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Tummy Allergen Free Pizza Crusts Now Available in Raleigh Whole Foods

Just a quick update to let you know that after many months of product development, Raleigh resident Maria Hopper has finally got her allergen free frozen pizza crusts available for purchase.  You can find Happy Tummy Baking Company pizza crusts at the Raleigh Whole Foods store in the frozen pizza section (not the frozen GF section).

Monday, April 19, 2010

News & Observer Article Mentions Gluten Free Raleigh

Thanks to Sue Stock over at the Raleigh News & Observer for contacting me about Gluten Free Raleigh for a story she had in Sunday's paper.  Sue was looking for information on popular Web sites or Blogs from the Raleigh area that did not start out with that intention/purpose.  Gluten Free Raleigh falls into that category.  This blog was originally started as a place for me to vent about how hard it was to be Gluten Free here.  Over the course of nearly two years, its turned into a place where 300 people per day come to learn about living GF in this area.  As mentioned in the article, GFR had 25,000 page loads during the first quarter of 2010.  Compare that to 16,000 during Q1 of 2009 - that's nearly 60% jump.

The main feature of the article is Greg from FreezerBurns.com.  I've written about his blog before when he featured Bella Monica Flatbread Company's frozen Gluten Free pizzas.  Greg now gets about 50,000 viewers each month - wow!  Check out his other Gluten Free reviews here.

Click here for the N&O article.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reformulated RedBridge Gluten Free Beer Now Available

I wrote a week ago about an omnious posting over at Celiac-Disease.com about the uncertain status of RedBridge Gluten Free beer.  Word was that it was being pulled from the market temporarily to be reformulated.

Well, the reformulation is complete and the new version should be hitting store shelves soon.  Not sure if they have changed the packaging or if you will recognize the new version by a different taste.  From what I've read, it should be lower alcohol content and thus available in all 50 states.

Here is the information from Triumph Dining & Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom.

FYI - RedBridge won the Bronze medal in the Gluten Free category at the 2010 World Beer Cup out of nine entries.  The gold medal winner is only available at a pub in VT and the silver is only available in Australia.

Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse on YouTube

Check out this interesting behind the scenes look into the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse narrated by Lee Tobin and Pat Berger.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Update: NC vs. Great Specialty Products - Gluten Free Fraud Case

I've had several emails asking for the status of North Carolina v.s. Great Specialty Products case... From what I know, the scheduled hearing from last week on 4/8 did not occur and instead the prosecutor took the case to the Wake County Grand Jury on 4/6.  Paul Seelig was indicted on nine felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.  Rather than having a hearing on 4/8 in which witnesses had to be called, the grand jury was used to decide if enough evidence existing to proceed with the criminal case.  The indictment handed down says that the Grand Jury did find enough.

I guess the next steps are up to the District Attorney.  Will there be a trial?  Stay tuned!

Click the gavel at the top right for the latest information.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gluten Free Tax Day Deals

See below for some Tax Day Gluten Free savings....

Starbucks - On April 15th, bring a reusable travel mug into your local Starbucks and get a free brewed coffee.

PF Chang's - Visit P.F. Chang's on Thursday, April 15th and receive 15% off food purchases.

Whole Foods -  On April 15, Whole Foods Markets in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas will be offering customers "tax-free" shopping.

Leave a comment if you know of any more...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reminder - Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group Meeting

Just a friendly reminder about this month's Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group meeting. The meeting is Thursday, April 15th at 7pm at Rex Hospital. meeting's agenda is geared toward information sharing and discussion. And, Nancy Long, Harmony Farms co-owner, will fill us in on "what's current at Harmony Farms."

SPECIAL NOTE: I'll be sharing a preliminary press release with the support group members which will detail some exciting news about Celiac Disease Awareness Month!  Stay tuned.

Please email Pat Berger to request more information about the group or if you are interested in attending this month's meeting.

You can also check out the Support Group's Yahoo Web page here.

Rosie's Plate - Baked Goods 10% Until April 15th

Just a quick note that I just received from Rosie's Plate.

10% Off All Baked Goods While Supplies Last!
Offer runs Tuesday 4/13 through Thursday 4/15.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Carolina Hurricanes/RedBridge Update

Now that hockey season has officially ended for Caniacs, I decided to check in with the Food & Beverage folks over at the RBC Center to get an update for the number of RedBridge sold during the 2009-2010 Carolina Hurricanes season.  I also did this same thing last year - the number was 106.

Kinda shocking to me, but the number sold this year was only up slightly to 113.  This is shocking in the fact that the beer was only available to folks with a special pass to the club level last year while this year, the beer was more widely available (all 3 levels w/o special pass).  Economy maybe?  I do know that average attendance was down this year (15,240) from last (16,572).  Leave your theory in a comment if you have one.

Regardless, thanks so much to the RBC Center and Carolina Hurricanes organization (organ-iii-zation if you are Canadian) for being very Gluten Free friendly.  See ya next year (hopefully with playoffs)!  Wonder if we'll be drinking RedBridge next season?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Redbridge Update

Check out this post over @ Celiac-Disease.com for an update on Redbrige Gluten Free beer.  It's not a good update.  The following is an excerpt...
The representative I spoke to the last time confirmed that the beer is being taken out of circulation for the time being, due to it being reformulated. They stated that the beer now has too high an alcohol content to be sold in every state. The reformulated beer, so they said, would be around 4% alcohol and therefore can be sold in all 50 states. It is currently around 4.7% alcohol.
For now, Redbridge will no longer be available for local distributors to buy and resell it to consumers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reminder: Raleigh Whole Foods GF Vendor Fair This Saturday

Just a quick reminder about the latest Whole Foods Gluten Free Vendor Fair which will be held this Saturday, April 10th, 2010 from 11am - 3pm.  Stop in the Raleigh store on Wade Avenue to see some great vendors demoing their Gluten Free products.  This is also the launch of the Happy Tummy Baking Company and their new allergen-free pizza crusts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mellow Mushroom's Gluten Free Pizza



As I wrote about late last week, Mellow Mushroom has finally rolled out their new Gluten Free pizzas.  I had the opportunity today to meet the folks behind the pizza, see how it is prepared and cooked and most importantly taste the new pie.  I'd like to start off with a big thanks to Triangle Mellow Mushroom owner Casey (Raleigh, Durham and Wake Forest locations) for inviting me in to see the process and taste the product.  Also, thanks to the two members of MM corporate (John and Eric) for providing all the pertinent information so that I could properly share this exciting news with you.  And to Fred Lybrand of Juno Nutrition for again having great connections.

There have been rumors about this day for many months and I'm happy to report that it is finally here.  I'm also happy to share that MM has really thought this through and have a huge desire to get this right for Celiacs or those who are Gluten Intolerant (or as the typo in the menu says "Celiac Intolerant" - I wish I actually was Celiac Intolerant but I digress).  They have really done their homework on the right way to roll out GF pizza.  You can enjoy these new GF pizzas right now at the 3 Triangle area locations during this test market launch.  Let's do our part to make sure this test is successful.

Here are the important points to remember...
  1. Mellow Mushroom is using a frozen pizza crust product from Still Riding Pizza.  The crusts are made in a dedicated GF facility and shipped to each MM location frozen.
  2. MM is bringing in nearly 50 GFCO certified Gluten Free toppings/ingredients for it's GF pizza.  All these ingredients are kept in a separate preparation area away from the main prep line for wheat pizzas.
  3. MM has developed an extensive preparation procedure that will be used by "certified Gluten Free pizza makers" to deliver safe pizzas to those who cannot tolerate Gluten.  I saw this procedure in writing and will try to get a copy to share with you.
  4. MM only uses corn meal in their restaurants when preparing wheat pizza, thus no atmospheric gluten.
  5. MM keeps all GF toppings, supplies and crusts in a dedicated area.  All GF pizzas will be prepared in this dedicated location.  They use separate utensils as well.
  6. MM will be using dedicated GF screens to cook the GF pizzas in a shared oven (wheat pizzas are placed directly on the oven stone itself) to avoid cross-contamination while baking.
Now onto the pizza.  I sampled a pepperoni and mushroom pizza while Fred tried a Hawaiian.  Both were excellent in taste and mouth feel.  The pizzas were the closest to wheat pizza that I've seen to date in the fact that the crust was not either cracker-like or crumbly.  A very NY-style thin crust pizza you could take and fold over to eat - yum!  The pizza is a 12" pizza and comes in larger than any of its competitors offering a full 8 slices.  MM also does not charge an extra fee for the GF crusts, they are the same price as their normal medium pizza.  With nearly 50 toppings to choose from, you can create basically any pizza you like and have it taste pretty darn close to the wheat version you might be used to from MM.

Product Testing Policy
As per the Gluten Free Raleigh "Paul Seelig" Product Testing Policy, I did perform an EZ-Gluten test on a sample of my pepperoni/mushroom pizza.  See the pictures for more information but I'm happy to report that the result was negative (actual test strip on the far left).

Mellow Mushroom is looking for your feedback on their new Gluten Free Pizzas and preparation/cooking procedure.  Please visit their Contact Us Web site to let them know your thoughts and be sure to give this new Gluten Free Pizza option a try.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jason's Deli - Gluten Free?

Jason's Deli is a sandwich shop with a few Triangle area locations (one coming soon in Cary).  I've never personally been to one - seems like a high gluten environment to me.  Thanks to a reader tip (Julie), I was alerted to a recent blog post from Jason's Deli asking for customer input on the addition of Gluten Free sandwiches.  Check out the blog post here.  You can vote in the poll questions and they encourage you to leave your feedback (there are over 100 comments already).

Menu

Allergen Info

Friday, April 2, 2010

EZ Gluten Order

I've been gathering requests for a big group order of EZ Gluten test strips and wanted to offer one last chance for you to get in if interested.  Please see this post for all the details.

I currently have 94-114 kits requested so far.  If you are interested please let me know ASAP and I'll be placing the order soon.  I will create a Google Checkout invoice for those of you who are involved in the order.  You'll be able to pay via credit card.  Once all the money has been received, I'll place the group order and figure out delivery.  As of right now, the kits expire in November 2010 but I will check with the company again to see if newer kits have been manufactured.  The kits last for 1 year from their date of manufacture.  If there are newer kits, we'll certainly order those to give us a longer shelf life.

The cost breakdown for volume ordering is below.  Right now, we are looking at the kits costing $10.50 each.  If we can get about 25 more kits ordered, the price goes down to $9.50 each.  So please let me know ASAP.
2 = $12.50 each
10 = $11 each
25 = $10.50 each
100 = $9.50 each
The idea is to test as much of the Gluten Free products in the Raleigh market as possible.  I'll provide a forum for the results of this mass testing so that we can all share for the benefit of the Gluten Free Raleigh community.  If you have a product not specifically labeled Gluten Free and you've always wondered, now is your chance to know for sure and to tell others as well.

UPDATE - we are pretty much at the $9.50 mark, so we've effectively lowered the cost by $3.00 per test or about 25%!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mellow Mushroom Gluten Free Pizza Update

I wrote back in December about Mellow Mushroom getting new Gluten Free Pizza in a singular test market - Raleigh.  There has been some back and forth and some delays but it appears that they are now officially ready to go.  See this article over at Celiac.com about the release on April 5th.  I was also emailed by a member of Mellow Mushroom's Marketing Team named Jason Kemp.  According to the article and email I received, the crusts are made at at 100% dedicated GF facility by a company called Still Riding Pizza.  Good news for those of you in the following cities that will also be part of the test launch; Albany, GA, Conyers ,GA, Peachtree City, GA, Statesboro, GA, Delray Beach, FL, Chattanooga, TN, Burlington, NC and Durham, NC.

I can confirm that the GF pizzas are indeed coming to Raleigh.  I am currently scheduled to have a taste test of the new GF pizza at the Raleigh location on Monday - I'll be sure to post my full review at that time.

Looks like their bar menu also has RedBridge listed...

Stay tuned for more and no this is NOT an April Fool's joke.

Snyder's of Hanover - Meet the Medically Required Gluten Free Diet

The following information was sent to me by someone very respected in the Celiac/Gluten Free Community - Jules Shepard - after her recent experience at the Expo West trade show.  I completely trust Jules' knowledge and judgment on the following situation and thought it vital to share with you her unfortunate experience.  Jules met an executive from the company Snyder's of Hanover which makes snack foods distributed throughout the USA.  The executive in question, VP of Marketing Rudi Fischer very easily and plainly brushed off the seriousness of making Gluten Free products in a conversation with Jules.  Apparently, Synder's is beginning to roll out a version of Gluten Free pretzels to the GF marketplace and they also make several other snack food "Products Made Without Gluten Ingredients" - whatever that means.  Jules was shocked at the statements made by this executive when she questioned him about the potential of getting the product certified Gluten Free (like via the GFCO.org).

Jules was so disgusted by the attitude of this high ranking executive that she crafted the following letter below to the company's CEO - Carl Lee.  Jules has asked me to post the letter and encourage my readers to become educated on the attitude of Synder's of Hanover as a warning.  I also believe that we have a chance to provide our feedback and possibly educate this company on what the Medically Required Gluten Free Diet really is.  The letter is shown below.  Thanks for looking out for us Jules!
Mr. Carl Lee
President & CEO
Snyder's of Hanover
VIA FAX 717-632-7207
March 26, 2010

Dear Sir,
Your company has undoubtedly identified the gluten-free segment of the food market as a high-growth opportunity. You are about to learn how vital truly gluten-free foods are to the health of this same population – a population which can be very vocal when they think they are being taken advantage of and when their health is placed in jeopardy.

I met with your Vice President of Marketing at Expo West and engaged him in a discussion about your new gluten-free pretzels. I was initially excited about this brand new offering, but I soon became horrified at your company's reckless disregard for the safety of the population to which you hope to market this product.

When I asked about why Snyder's isn't GF certified, your VP of Marketing, Rudi Fischer, brushed off the notion, explaining that the company had explored the requirements of certification, and “didn't want the headaches” that came with it. He elaborated that Snyder's didn't want to have to do any product recalls or lose inventory because any given run may test at over 20 ppm gluten. He even threw out the example that if someone “forgot to wash down the line” between gluten and gluten-free runs, he didn't want to have to “report to anyone else, pull inventory or do any recalls of product”. He went so far as to say that although the bags are currently labeled “Gluten Free” and also “Wheat Free,” the company is actually going to take off the “Wheat Free” designation since the products are run with wheat products and are potentially contaminated with wheat. Shockingly, he indicated that the “Gluten Free” label will remain, however.

Your VP also said your company is not really concerned with the gluten ppm test results since, he said, “only 3 million people are celiac, and most of them don't even know it yet.” He identified your target market as “the other 22 million eating gluten free, just because.” He indicated that this market segment wouldn't really care if your products contained 20ppm or 23ppm gluten. Can he be serious? When I inquired as to why on earth Snyder's would enter this marketplace (with this approach), he answered, “Because Glutino is making a killing with their pretzels.”

This 3-ppm increase in gluten could trigger any number of symptoms in celiacs, or in those who “merely” eat gluten free, ranging from painful gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and cramping, to nutrient malabsorption, painful skin lesions, joint inflammation, fatigue, infertility and miscarriage, and of course, headaches – although apparently ours are not as serious as the headaches your VP indicated would come with gluten-free certification.

I spent the afternoon before the Expo speaking at the Healthy Baking Seminar to more than 130 manufacturers who wanted to get gluten free right. Small and large companies which are willing to invest in educating themselves about the onerous responsibility of gluten-free food safety as well as the market opportunity it represents.

They know, as I wish your company did, that gluten free is not just about a market opportunity. It is a responsibility manufacturers bear when they enter this marketplace. Did you do more than buy the SPINS report, or did you actually talk to gluten-free consumers? In any of your focus groups, did anyone say that a 3-ppm increase (or more) in gluten is acceptable? One-eighth of a teaspoon of gluten-containing flour can cause a chain reaction of painful symptoms in gluten-free consumers from which it may take weeks to recover. The manufacturers who take this responsibility seriously and produce good products -- the ones who do it right -- like Glutino, can make “a killing.” The ones who disregard the importance of the responsibility they bear, like Great Specialty Products (recently indicted in North Carolina on six counts of obtaining property by false pretenses by marketing bread as gluten-free that was not, in fact, gluten-free), will have far more to deal with than poor sales.

This is a critical juncture for Snyder's entering this market. As you will see, all eyes are now on you; you have the opportunity to do the right thing. If your product recovers from this misinformed beginning, it will be by finding an organization who is willing to train and certify you – and believe that when they walk out the door you will uphold their standards. It will also come from taking the time to understand your market and ingrain yourself into the gluten-free community by funding Celiac research, by supporting efforts to raise awareness for the needs of the gluten-free community, and by proactively lobbying for tougher -- not looser -- labeling protocols. Take the high road and redeem your company, leading the category by example, or your “gluten-free” products will fail and much good will toward your company will be squandered.

Sincerely,
Jules E. D. Shepard

Author,
Free For All Cooking
The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free
Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating
I encourage you to contact Synder's of Hanover and introduce them to the Medically Required Gluten Free Diet.  Ask them if they understand the implications to a Celiac if Gluten is consumed.  Ask them if they should reconsider the "not worth the headaches" attitude of certifying their product as GF.  The GFCO certifies over 4,000 products, we certainly should spend our money on those products and not Synder's of Hanover if this continues to be their attitude.  I think with what we have learned from the Great Specialty Products incident, we are all a little less trusting of GF manufacturers... but that certification from a organization like GFCO goes a long way to restore that trust, no?

Voice your concern by contacting Synder's of Hanover CEO Carl Lee @ SOH@snyders-han.com or by using the companies Contact Us page.

Update -  It appears that Synder's of Hanover has now contacted the GIG to begin the process to certify their GF products via the GFCO.  This is a great start - let's hope they follow through.  If you do contact the company, please encourage them to follow through with this certification.  See Gluten Free Mom's Blog for more.