Recently Bob’s Red Mill was under fire because one of their batches of Red Mill Sweet White Sorghum Flour from lot 150772, tested over the 20ppm by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This product only affected Canada and the allegation was thoroughly investigated by the company. Bob’s Red Mill had this to say,
“Our products typically test at much lower, even undetectable levels. The product in question was tested for gluten according to internationally accepted protocols. At each point in the process it was found to be well below both our maximum tolerance and that of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.”
Bob’s Red Mill went back and rechecked the same lot several times in house as well as using a third party laboratory and each time the flour tested well under the 20ppm range and in the third party lab, the flour tested at “undetectable levels” But because Bob takes gluten free extremely serious, he decided to recall all the mentioned flour as a precaution.
Yesterday I was able to meet with Bob at the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore for a few minutes and ask him directly what he thought happened. He seemed very perplexed and said, “I honestly don’t know. We test our products before, during and after production and they all came back well below the 20ppm levels”
I have to say he did look very perplexed and concerned about how the situation could occur. I had asked him if he thought there might have been problems with the Canadian Government Testing and I could tell he wasn’t ready to answer that question. Instead he said that they emphatically stand behind their testing procedures, as well as the results their company produced and the third party produced.
I believe mistakes can be made and Bob was very sincere and genuine in his concern. Not only did he recall the flour but he tested and retested in house and with a third party. I do think this is an isolated case and a possible blunder by the Canadian testing system. Either way, the problem has been solved and the company was quick to react, which is all you can ask for.
In a world where so many companies are irresponsible with their gluten free and cross contamination, I believe Bob’s Red Mill to be one of the good guys.