Allergen (Gluten) Alert! M Brand Rice

19 December 2012: Wheat in M brand Rice

A recall has been added to the CFIA’s Food Recall Report.

Class 2
Reason for Recall: Allergen – wheat
Product(s): M – Rice
Recalling Firm: Ka Wing Hong Ltd.
Distribution: British Columbia, Ontario

Product details are available at http://active.inspection.gc.ca/scripts/database/recarapp_refsubmit.asp?lang=e&ref=7659

Wheat Allergy – http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-tips/labelling-food-packaging-and-storage/wheat/eng/1332440575352/1332440633913

Note that this is a Class 2 (Moderate Risk) Recall: Eating or drinking that product will most likely lead to short-term or non-life threatening health problems.
Refer to the CFIA website for full details on Recall Definitions: http://inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/newsroom/food-safety-system/food-recalls/eng/1332206599275/1332207914673

Previous Gluten Alerts:

November 16 2012: Campbell’s V8 Golden Autumn Carrot Soup

A recall has been added to the CFIA’s Food Recall Report.

895260_V8_Carrot_TR

Class 3
Reason for Recall: Allergen – Gluten
Product(s): Golden Autumn Carrot Soup
Recalling Firm: Campbell Company of Canada
Distribution: National

Product details are available at http://bit.ly/T4YMxH

Wheat Allergy – http://inspection.gc.ca/gluten_intolerance

Note that this is a Class 3 (Low and No Risk) Recall: Eating or drinking that product will not likely result in any undesirable health effects. Class III recalls can include food products that pose no health and safety risk, but do not follow federal food regulations.
Refer to the CFIA website for full details on Recall Definitions: http://inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/newsroom/food-safety-system/food-recalls/eng/1332206599275/1332207914673

19 October 2012: Undeclared wheat in certain Piller’s brand Sub Pac Classic and Sliced Pepperoni products

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OTTAWA, October 19, 2012 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Piller’s Fine Foods are warning people with allergies to wheat and / or sensitivity to gluten not to serve or consume Piller’s brand Sub Pac Classic and Sliced Pepperoni products described in this notice. The affected products contain wheat which is not declared on the label.

These products were distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. However, they may have been distributed in other provinces.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Consumption of these products may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to wheat. Also, these products represent a health risk to gluten sensitive individuals / Celiac sufferers.

Piller’s Fine Foods, Waterloo, ON is voluntarily recalling the affected products from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20121019e.shtml

28 May 2012:

I just got an email from the Newfoundland Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association. The following products have been recalled due to gluten: Designer Whey Protein Powder in French Vanilla and Strawberry.

http://active.inspection.gc.ca/scripts/database/recarapp_refsubmit.asp?lang=e&ref=7174

Allergen (Sulphite) Alert: LEE’S LUXURY MINI SNOWBALLS

A recall has been added to the CFIA’s Food Recall Report.

snowball3

Class 3
Reason for Recall: Allergen – Sulphites
Product(s): Lee’s – Luxury Mini Snowballs
Recalling Firm: Coleman Group Of Companies
Distribution: Newfoundland and Labrador

Product details are available at http://active.inspection.gc.ca/scripts/database/recarapp_refsubmit.asp?lang=e&ref=7572

Sulphite Sensitivity – http://inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-tips/labelling-food-packaging-and-storage/sulphites/eng/1332438953632/1332439026694

Previous Sulphite Alerts:

16 November 2012: Madeira Mix

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A recall has been added to the CFIA’s Food Recall Report.

Class 3
Reason for Recall: Allergen – Sulphites
Product(s): Madeira Mix
Recalling Firm: David Roberts Food Corporation
Distribution: National

Product details are available at http://active.inspection.gc.ca/scripts/database/recarapp_refsubmit.asp?lang=e&ref=7571

Sulphite Sensitivity – http://inspection.gc.ca/sulphite_sensitivity

Home for a Rest: Twillingate, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

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For those of you reading this post, who are Newfoundlander and/or Canadian, chances are that you are already singing this tune in your head 😉

This past weekend was Remembrance Day long weekend and we were home to visit family in our hometown, Twillingate. I used the breaks in between visiting family to do some long overdue blog, CCA-NL and FAE Facebook Page work, and was happy to start working on a blog post about my trip to Twillingate back in July of this year.

Twillingate is one of the most beautiful places to visit during the summer. Depending on what time of the summer you visit, your encounters could include icebergs, whales, theatres, festivals, etc. etc. If you’d like to learn more about Twillingate and what it has to offer, check out these websites:

Town of Twillingate: http://www.townoftwillingate.ca

Twillingate Island Tourism Association (TITA): http://www.twillingatetourism.ca

One of the highlights of our summer visits, and the biggest event to take place, in Twillingate is the Fish, Fun & Folk Festival which has been an annual event for over 30 years (find out more about the FFFF here: http://www.fishfunfolkfestival.com). For (at least) the past five years, my guy and I have been trying to convince our city friends to travel home with us for the Festival. Finally, this past July our friends Karen, Chris and their Golden-Doodle Zoe, decided to take us up on our offer! 🙂

First on the agenda was some site-seeing. We took the dogs on a drive and stopped for a short walk and some photo ops at Long Point Lighthouse.

Photos by Karen Power

Then we dropped in to my parents house but on the way Karen wanted to get some photos and I told her that this was my bus stop as a kid. It’s a beautiful spot, and has become a bit of a tourist attraction. Our friends, Kayla & Allan who blog over at Treasure Island Caching, wrote an entire blog post on this location when they recently visited.

Photos by Karen Power

Next we were on to a beautiful part of Twillingate Island called Back Harbour, where my guy’s parents had their boat docked.

Photos by Karen Power

We took Karen and Chris out with the hopes of stumbling upon some whales. It wasn’t long before we found two Minke whales.

Photos by Karen Power

Photo by Sheila Guy

… Apparently Chris and I didn’t get the memo on coordinating outfits with drinks …. so we grabbed the nearest objects we could find to hold in our hands 😉 …

It used to be a tradition to watch the fireworks on the Friday night of the Festival from the middle of Twillingate Harbour in my pa-in-law’s boat …. but in recent years he’s downsized his boat and now we spend the afternoon and early evening on the water and return to watch the fireworks at their dock which is adjacent to the dock where the fireworks are launched. It makes for one FANTASTIC experience… not only are you directly underneath the fireworks but you can also smell the gunpowder, you are so close! I’ve attached a link below to a video of the fireworks that Chris took with his iPhone, but the video doesn’t do justice to watching in person. The fireworks display is the highlight for the festival and a lot of money is invested by the town’s people and businesses. Every year the display seems to get better and we’ve often said that the fireworks show is far better than what we see in our capital city, St. John’s! 🙂

Twillingate Fireworks 2012 Fish Fun & Folk Festival

The next day Rob’s dad took Rob and Chris out fishing while Karen and I decided to take Zoe on a very short hike to a Natural Arch located in another beautiful section of town called Little Harbour. We took a wrong turn at one point, enjoyed the view and eventually made our way back to the correct trail.

Photos by Karen Power

Once our hike was over, we decided to get some lunch. Because I wanted Karen to get to enjoy some of the local life, I decided that we should dine out. Normally I would have suggested that we head to R&J’s Restaurant which used to be a guilty pleasure of mine before going gluten-free and I was so disappointed by the fact that I can no longer indulge in the food that I loved so much as a kid. However, my Aunt works for the local hotel, The Anchor Inn and I knew that they had at least one gluten-free option. My Aunt was diagnosed with Collagenous Colitis earlier this year and in order to keep her symptoms under control, she had to do a complete overhaul on her diet. As a result, she had to cut out all foods containing gluten, dairy, and high in sugar (and perhaps likely more restrictions that I’m forgetting). So it wasn’t surprising to find that the restaurant contained within the hotel, Georgie’s at the Anchor, had decided to dedicate a fryer specifically for gluten-free fish & chips (which they note on their menu).  Not being a huge lover of fish and chips, I asked if they had any other options available that were considered gluten-free, and I decided on their Island Nachos.

Although it isn’t listed on the online menu, for those who are vegetarian and visiting Twillingate, Georgie’s offers a Veggie Burger and I was told by my manager when she visited Twillingate with her family, that her daughter thought that Georgie’s Veggie Burger was one of the best that she’s had to date.

We also went to a new coffee shop in town, called the Crow’s Nest Cafe, for some delicious Iced Cafe’s and I discovered that they sell Gluten-Free almond flour brownies (high-five, Crow’s Nest!!). I think this is the second summer that they’ve been open but it was my first time that I had stumbled upon them. I highly recommend this place. I unfortunately only took photos from the exterior, but you can check out what they have to offer (and what they look like on the inside) if you jump over to their blog: http://crowsnestcafe.blogspot.ca

That afternoon once the boys returned from fishing and cleaned up, We decided to take Karen & Chris on a tour of Auk Island Winery. The interesting thing about the winery is that it is the same building where I attended Kindergarten before it closed and we all transferred to the elementary school on the main part of the island. I have to admit, it felt a little weird walking in to the building and seeing it converted into a winery. …. and it was funny to discover that its hallways were only about a third of the length that I recalled in my memories. I enjoy the fact that evidence still remains of the lines on the gymnasium floor 🙂

While we are enjoying the wine tasting at the end of the tour, Rob received the following text from his dad: “Orcas”. Meanwhile, back on the Ma & Pa Guy’s boat …..

Photos by Sheila Guy

We couldn’t believe that we missed this! Almost every year for the past 5 years there has been a pod of Orca’s that have passed through during the weekend of the festival…. the first time we encountered them was the most fascinating of all, but encountering them never grows old! 🙂

That evening we had a BBQ over at Rob’s parents’ house along with my parents, my brother-in-law Dave and his girlfriend Sarah and their dog Waffles. Between Rob, Chris and my pa-in-law the BBQ was attended to, while my parents attended to the dogs and the rest of us took care of everything else in the kitchen. I had brought home the ingredients to make Go-Go Quinoa Salad and it once again was a hit. And to cap off a perfect weekend, we ended the night with a fire in the back yard.

Photos by Sheila Guy

I hope you enjoyed my account of a fabulous weekend in my hometown of Twillingate! It truly is a beautiful place to visit 🙂

Allergen (Tree Nut) Alert: Undeclared potential for Almonds in PC brand Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) are warning people with allergies to almonds not to consume the PC brand Milk Chocolate covered Raisins described below because the affected product may contain almonds which are not declared on the label.

20121113a

The affected product, President’s Choice (PC) brand Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins, is sold in 908 g packages (Club Pack), bearing UPC 0 60383 98203 4 and Best Before date 2013 JL 15.

This product has been distributed nationally.

See the CFIA release here: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20121113e.shtml

Glutened, Days after attending Gluten Free Expo (… and no. it was unrelated)

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One of my favourite experiences from this year was travelling to Toronto to attend a Gluten-Free Expo (which I randomly became a last minute volunteer for)…. and I had a blast! You can read about it here.

My least favourite experience from this year? Getting “glutened” a few days later in the same city, during the same trip. Oh, the irony!

Luckily, getting glutened was totally independent of attending the Expo (…. Margaret & Ellen: if you are reading this, you can start breathing again 😉 ….. Margaret was the organizer and mastermind behind the expo and Ellen supported her remotely from BC. It was a pleasure to help them out during the event!).

Like I said, the Expo was amazing and I was very much looking forward to hanging around for a couple of extra days so that I could hang out with one of my BFF’s, Jenny, who had just returned from a trip to India.

Celiacs will go completely out of there way to go to a restaurant that has been identified as safe for Celiacs. I had consulted The Celiac Scene maps to look for a safe restaurant that had a brunch option for Jenny and I before we took on an afternoon of shopping. She had mentioned that there was a place called Mitzi’s that had gluten free options as far as she was aware. I remembered going there before I realized that gluten was making me sick and I remembered how delicious the food was so I agreed that we should definitely go there, even though Mitzi’s wasn’t showing up on The Celiac Scene. But I know that the “Scene” is only as good as those who actively contribute to it …. so if you’re in an area where there aren’t a lot of Celiacs using the Scene, then chances are you could miss out on a fantastic restaurant with safe options because there’s been no one to providing feedback to the Scene in order to get that restaurant on the list. Perhaps, I figured, this was why Mitzi’s wasn’t showing up on the list.

When we got there and I had a chance to peak at the menu, I was SOOOOOO excited to see Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes! Generally, I don’t get the luxury of having someone else make me gluten free pancakes, unless they are made by my guy in our kitchen at home. Better still, the pancake of the day was topped with an espresso cream, maple syrup, whipped cream, and pralines – HELLO DELICIOUSNESS!!

I was delighted! That is, until the waitress popped back to our table and said that the pancakes were actually made with oats. I asked if they were certified gluten-free and she said that she didn’t think so. I asked if I could see the package to have a look at the ingredient list. Turns out it was Quaker Rolled Oats and there was a “May Contain” statement for wheat.

I don’t know if I have Celiac Disease or not. It was suggested by my naturopath that I was sensitive to gluten and I immediately went on a gluten-free diet. It was amazing the difference after years of bloating and digestive discomfort. I later realized that you should be tested for Celiac Disease before going on a gluten-free diet because gluten needs to be present to cause the the inflammation in the small intestine in order to get a positive diagnosis. So, although I do not know if I have celiac disease, I have so many of the symptoms that I’m almost certain that I do. I eat as strictly as a Celiac does …. with the exception of this instant. I totally let me guard down. In hindsight, I was being absolutely naive.

When I saw the “may contain” statement, I thought “Oh, it’s probably just a liability disclaimer. It’s likely that it’s made in a totally separate area, but because they process wheat in the same building they have to list a May Contain statement” ….. I normally DO NOT eat anything with a “May Contain” statement but the idea of eating those buckwheat pancakes with the espresso cream and other delicious toppings made me let my guard down. I kept telling myself, “I’m sure it’ll be fine …. maybe just some light swelling of my belly”.

I ate the pancakes and they were DELICIOUS!! When I left, I noticed that my stomach was swollen and I felt very nauseated….. but my stomach didn’t feel like it was ripping apart like it normally does when I accidentally ingest gluten. So I thought perhaps there was very little trace of the wheat in the oats. Boy, was I wrong. At about 3:30 that afternoon all hell broken loose on my digestive system and I was back and fourth to the washroom off and on for hours afterwards. My stomach was still not 100% back to normal when I went to bed that night. I think this is a very likely sign that I do in fact have Celiac Disease.

So, it turns out that the Gluten-Free buckwheat pancakes were not actually not gluten-free at all. This is not the first time that I’ve been exposed to glutenous buckwheat breakfast items. I learned the hard way that the buckwheat crepes at Cora’s also contain wheat. In fact, first when I went gluten-free and was learning about all the things that I need to keep an eye out for it took me a while to clue in to the fact that the sausages that I was ordering contained gluten …. then I discovered that the breakfast potatoes were coated in a flour mixture. And after the third time going and coming home feeling nauseated and sick to my stomach, I decided to do a little googling. And sure enough, I found a Celiac Disease forum that stated that Cora’s buckwheat crepes actually contained wheat (despite wheat being in the name, buckwheat does not contain gluten). Every gluteneous mishap is another opportunity to learn from it. I learned a lot in the first few months of going gluten-free.

Because the food was so delicious, I wanted to provide suggestions to Mitzi’s so that they could improve their awareness of the dietary restrictions that surround Celiac Disease so that they could be a safe place for Celiacs and that we could get them added to the Scene. Here’s the suggestions (and pleas) that I emailed to them the next day:

  • PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not offer them to anyone who is Celiac or gluten intolerant/sensitive until you can take measures to ensure they are gluten-free (if you have to, Tell them that you ran out off your ingredients).
  • Purchase certified gluten-free oats.
  • Confirm if your buckwheat is gluten-free, if not, purchase one that is certified as gluten-free.
  • Ensure that any other toppings for the pancakes are gluten-free (for example, the pralines shouldn’t have a may contain statement).
  • Use a separate pan and separate spatula.
  • There’s a guide for food allergies available on the CRFA:http://www.crfa.ca/foodhealthyliving/#foodallergies . If you follow this link, it will take you to the guide on Restaurant Central (http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/FoodAllergiesGuide.aspx).
  • If you offer Gluten-free toast, don’t use the same toaster that you use for regular bread. Even if you use a convection heater, there’s still risk of cross-contamination. I found this statement on the restaurant guide for food allergies: 

Did you know: It is commonly believed that extreme heat during cooking will change the make-up of the food being prepared and remove the protein that can cause a reaction. This is not true. Cooking the food using extreme heat will not make the food safe for allergic individuals.

  • To help with toaster cross-contamination, you can get Toaster Bags, such as these: http://www.amazon.com/Set-NoStick-Toast-Toaster-Bags/dp/B0012XGM92 .
  • Be mindful of is crumbs in the butter and other condiment (such as mayo) containers. It’s best to use a separate container that’s designated as gluten-free and use a clean knife for cutting and spreading and a separate cutting board when slicing the bread (if it doesn’t already come sliced). I also recommend washing your hands and applying disposable gloves prior to handling the gluten-free bread.

I sent off my recommendations and feedback to the cook and the general email for the restaurant but I never did hear back from anyone. When I get a chance, I’ll call them up and see if they did implement any of my suggestions. I hope, for their sake and for mine that they do, so that I can enjoy another delicious meal when in Toronto and that we can recommend them to be added to the Scene.

I know there’s a bit of a learning curve when it come’s to gluten-free knowledge so I’m willing to give a second chance if I know that an establishment has taken the necessary measures to make positive changes. There is only one place that I have boy-cotted and that’s because I became sick for the third time after ordering a supposedly gluten-free item. Hence my adopted rule of thumb:

Gluten-me once: Shame on You. Gluten-me twice: Shame on Me. Gluten-me a third time and it’s automatic blacklist, buddy.

One thing that I’ve learned over the past year and a bit is that you can never be too safe when it comes to dining out gluten-free (or with any restriction for that matter). There’s no such thing as too many questions when it comes to your health and wellbeing. And such experiences reinforce the need (and my desire) to start Etcetera …. a safe-haven restaurant for people with food allergies and other dietary restrictions! 🙂

Cheers,
Krista 🙂

Grand Plans … Too Busy … and There’s Another Go-To-Girl in Town …

I have grand plans for this blog. Grand. But finding the time to work on blog posts when you’re guy has (appropriately) coined you with the nickname “Little Miss Busy” can be difficult. My guy always tells me that I take on too much. But being busy and helping others is what makes me happy 🙂

Eventually I’ll find my groove when it comes to maintaining a balance on my work and life commitments, so that I can work on my goals for the blog and I’ll truly be successful with maintaining my title of “Go-To-Gates” (as explained in the My Intentions post). But in the meantime, I discovered that there already is a Go-To-Girl living in St. John’s who has been able to find the time to write regular product and restaurant reviews AND has been doing so since January of this year. At first I was a little discouraged that I wasn’t able to find the time to be as active as Janelle, and I felt like I wasn’t worthy of the Go-To title when it comes to living gluten-free in St. John’s. But then I realized that I didn’t have to be the sole local Go-To-Girl and even if we did, at some point, blog about the same product, restaurant or topic …… that no one has ever said “No, I’d hate a second opinion”.

So with that, I’ll send you over to Janelle’s blog, conveniently titled Living Gluten Free in St. John’s, Newfoundland where you’ll find reviews galore.

Happy Reading!!