Is Health Valley Gluten Free Cafe Actually Safe From Gluten Cross-Contamination?

We contacted Health Valley Gluten Free Cafe's parent company to understand more about how they protect against gluten cross-contamination.

Health Valley Gluten Free Cafe, which is a part of the Hain Celestial Group along with popular brands Imagine Foods and Celestial Seasonings, is probably best known for their gluten-free cream of mushroom soup.

For reasons unbeknownst to us, finding out more about Gluten Free Cafe is difficult. Both Celestial Seasonings and Imagine Foods have their own website. Heck, even Terra Chips (another brand under the Hain Celestial Group umbrella) has a website, but I cannot find anything for Health Valley Gluten Free Cafe. That’s weird, right?

I felt like I might have been overlooking something obvious, but Hain Celestial’s website lists all of its brands with links to their websites. The Health Valley website links back to Hain Celestial. At any rate, I wanted to know more about this company and the foods they produce, so we reached out through Hain Celestial Group.

How Does Health Valley Gluten Free Cafe Avoid Gluten Cross-Contamination?

While we obviously knew that Health Valley Gluten Free Cafe’s foods are gluten-free, an online search didn’t tell us anything about how they avoided cross-contamination, so we contacted them. They got back to us with this response dated 2/11/2020:

Thank you for reaching out to us. We always appreciate hearing from our loyal consumers!

Gluten is the general name for the storage proteins in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is the substance in flour responsible for forming the structure of dough, holding products together and leavening.

We do not have lists of products that are specifically considered to be gluten free. Reading the label is the best way to check for the presence of ingredients which contain gluten. If gluten is a major ingredient, it will be specified in the ingredient list. For consumers concerned about the presence of trace amounts of gluten, we suggest avoiding products that include oats, natural flavors or spices.

Hain Celestial Group products that make a gluten-free claim are declared as such by utilizing the a triangular Gluten-Free symbol, by carrying the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) Seal, or stating “gluten free” on packaging.

In addition to meeting the FDA’s standard for ‘Gluten Free’ of less than 20 parts per million of gluten, all of our gluten free products are formulated without the presence of any gluten containing ingredients. All manufacturing facilities for Hain Celestial’s products employ good manufacturing processes and procedures to prevent allergen cross-contact.  Each facility has established rigid allergen control programs that include staff training, segregation of allergen containing ingredients, production scheduling, and thorough cleaning and sanitation. These allergen and sanitation programs are verified by our Quality Assurance department.

Gluten-containing ingredients:

Barley, Bulgur, Cereal Binding, Couscous, Durum, Einkorn, Emmer, Filler, Farro, Graham Flour, Kamut, Malt, Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Malt Syrup, Oat Bran*, Oats*, Oat Syrup*, Rye, Semolina, Spelt, Triticale, Wheat, Wheat Bran, Wheat Germ, Wheat Starch

*Oats are genetically gluten free. It is, however possible for cross contact with gluten containing grains to occur during planting, growing, harvesting and processing.  Because of this most oat products sourced from all parts of the world have been suspect of containing some level of detectible gluten.

We hope this was helpful! If we can be of further assistance, please reply to this email by clicking the link below. Or, give us a call at 800-739-4838. We are here to chat with you Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm Eastern Time.

Sincerely,

Gluten Free Café Product Specialist

Is Gluten Free Cafe Safe for People on a Gluten-Free Diet?

So, based on this response, is Gluten Free Cafe a good brand for sensitive celiacs and those with non-celiac gluten and wheat sensitivity? I don’t know. For many people, 20 parts per million of gluten is too high, but that’s something we’ll leave for you to decide individually.

The biggest bummer in this response is that we’re not really given any specifics. So many of these manufactures skim over the most important information! For example, we know they “prevent allergen cross-contact,” but we have no idea how.

Additionally, they say that “each facility has established rigid allergen control programs,” but gluten isn’t an allergen, so are we to believe that those same rigorous protocols are applied to barley, rye and triticale manufactured in their facilities?

I do love that they offered more information about oats because many gluten-free eaters don’t realize that oats may be harming them. So, kudos for that addition! And we also like seeing that some of the Hain Celestial Group products carry the Gluten-Free Certification Organization seal, though, from this response, we’re not sure what products/brands do.

Hain Celestial Group, we’d love a detailed list of which of your products are gluten free or certified by the GFCO!

What has your experience with Gluten Free Cafe products been like? Share with us in the comments below!

Go get your grub on!

Gluten-free Grubbin'