Aug 21, 2009

Recall - Van's Wheat Free Pancakes

One lot of Van's Wheat Free Pancakes is being recalled because of undeclared wheat, egg, and milk. Here is the important recall information from the Van's website.

"The 118 cases of recalled Van’s Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes may have been distributed in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Idaho and Hawaii, through retail outlets that include but may not be limited to Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant Carlisle, Sprouts and Martins. The distributors and the retail customers involved have been notified.

The product comes in a 12.4 ounce package which is beige with an orange stripe on the top and a triangular blue gluten-free call out in the upper right-hand corner with the lot number 200060629B1 located on the side flap of the box. The 'Best if used by date' is March 30, 2010 also printed on the same flap.

The voluntary recall was initiated immediately after a packaging operator error, limited to one shift, was discovered. The company has immediately reinforced its Quality Assurance and Packaging procedures and believes that the problem was a one-time incident.

Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund or send the box top with the printed lot number to the address below to receive five free coupons for any Van’s waffle, pancake, or French toast stick product 12.4 ounce or smaller."

Van's International Foods, Inc.

Attn: Wheat Free Pancake Product Recall
3285 East Vernon Avenue
Vernon, CA 90058

Fortunately, the box I purchased yesterday at Whole Foods to finally try these pancakes is dated June 2010 and is not part of the recall.

Aug 14, 2009

The New York Times Reports on the Cost of Gluten Free Food

On August 14, 2009, The New York Times published a great informative article, The Expense of Eating with Celiac Disease. This article not only explains about celiac disease and the high cost of gluten free food, but also mentions some cheaper options. Here are two important quotes from the article.

"That’s because the treatment for celiac does not come in the form of a pill that will be reimbursed or subsidized by an insurer. The treatment is to avoid eating products containing gluten. And gluten-free versions of products like bread, pizza and crackers are nearly three times as expensive as regular products, according to a study conducted by the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Unfortunately for celiac patients, the extra cost of a special diet is not reimbursed by health care plans. Nor do most policies pay for trips to a dietitian to receive nutritional guidance.

In Britain, by contrast, patients found to have celiac disease are prescribed gluten-free products. In Italy, sufferers are given a stipend to spend on gluten-free food."

"Finally, if you itemize your tax return and your total medical expenses for the year exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you can write off certain expenses associated with celiac disease. You can deduct the excess cost of a gluten-free product over a comparable gluten-containing product."

It is impressive to see a major newspaper discuss the cost of gluten free food and provide cost saving tips, including the brown rice pasta and tortillas at Trader Joe's suggested by Kelly Courson, co-founder of Celiac Chicks. Below is a topic mentioned in the article to explore with your benefits department.

"Do you have a flexible spending account at work? Ask the plan administrator if you can use those flex spending dollars on the excess cost of gluten-free goods — many plans let you do this."