Gluten-Free Cheerios Recall Issued Due to Wheat Flour Contamination

About 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios were recalled this week, after General Mills discovered that wheat flour had been inadvertently introduced to a gluten-free flour system, posing a potential health risk for those with celiac disease or gluten-free diets. 

The Cheerios recall was issued amid a new marketing campaign by the manufacturer, which promotes that the popular cereal was recently changed to be gluten-free.

Television commercials have been airing that describe how the manufacturer came up with a way to remove the grains that contain gluten from the naturally gluten-free oats that Cheerios are made of. However, it now appears that a manufacturing error allowed wheat to contaminate some batches of the cereal.

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According to the statement issued by the manufacturer, an isolated incident at a production facility in Lodi, California allowed wheat flour to enter the gluten-free oat-based system.

General Mills indicates that they have implemented a solution to ensure that this will not happen again, and that Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios will continue to be FDA compliant and gluten-free. The manufacturer will also continue to test products and the oat flour supply to ensure their products meet the gluten-free standard.

The gluten-free Cheerios recall includes 150,000 cases, or 1.8 million boxes of cereal, produced throughout the month of July. The products had been shipped across the nation to various retailers but have been instructed to immediately remove them from warehouse and store shelves.

The products have been recalled under Class I status, due to the potentially dangerous allergic reactions that may occur if an individual with a wheat allergy or celiac disease consumes the products. As a result of General Mills transitioning five varieties of its cereal to gluten-free federal guidelines, the manufacturer was required to recall the items under the Class I status if there are undeclared allergens on the labeling.

Individuals at risk from the recalled products are those with Celiac disease, which is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten, such as wheat, are eaten. The damage to the intestines then makes it harder for the body to absorb necessary nutrients and individuals may suffer from low blood cell counts, rashes, seizures, sores in the mouth, abdominal pain and various other painful side effects.

The recall includes four production days of the yellow box Cheerios and thirteen production days of the Honey Nut Cheerios manufactured at its Lodi, California facility. The Honey Nut Cheerios with plant code LD with have “BETTER IF USED BY” dates ranging from July 12, 2016 to July 25, 2016 and the yellow box Cheerios have “BETTER IF USED BY” dates ranging from July 14, 2016 to July 17, 2016.

General Mills is asking consumers with allergens or sensitivities to wheat to stop consuming the products immediately and contact their Consumer Services at 1-800-775-8370 for information on how to receive a replacement or a full refund.


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