I would be grateful to hear your opinion about a certain trend I noticed on many food products in Canada (nutrition bars, beverages, ready broths, frozen meals, frozen pizzas, etc. Many different kinds of products).
They have a nice "GLUTEN FREE" claim on the front / main label, with or without the barred ear of wheat or the circled GF logo.
If you turn the product and read the little statements behind (usually under the ingredients list) you find also a similar statement:
PROCESSED IN A FACILITY THAT PROCESSES GLUTEN (or WHEAT etc.).
1) Isn't this a contradiction in terms?
2) I thought that you cannot use the GLUTEN FREE claim unless you can be absolutely sure that your product is gluten free (whether it is below 20 ppm or zero/undetectable, this is another topic). If you are sure (allergen program, suppliers program, ingredients testing and segregation, production appropriately scheduled, specific cleaning procedures before processing the gluten free products, food contact surfaces tests before production, batches/lots of finished products tests, etc.), then you can claim it.
But, in this case, because you are sure and you verify every lot, you DO NOT NEED to write "processed in a facility that processes gluten".
It wouldn't make any sense!
What's the purpose of this warning? To inform the consumer that, because of that, there might be gluten traces. So the allergic people will be afraid to eat the product, and prefer avoid. So what's the point of having the allergen program in place and the gluten free claim?
3) Then I thought that, even though you do not add any gluten or gluten-containing ingredient, if you don't have the above allergen program in place, if you also have gluten in your facility, and you are not able to assure that it doesn't cross-contaminate the non-gluten products, than you need the warning.
But in that case, the last thing you can do is claiming GLUTEN FREE on the label! Because, indeed, you do not know if it's gluten free or not.
4) Finally, definitely I always knew that both the statements on the same products are an absurd.
I talked with some manufacturers and they even said that it's mandatory for them to write the warning if they have gluten in the facility, no matter what! Is this true? It doesn't make any sense! If a facility is controlled enough to be able to claim GLUTEN FREE, they should be allowed to omit the warning.
That warning basically destroys every effort, time, and dollar spent by the company to ensure the product is Gluten Free!
Any hint about this?
US-related answers are also welcome.