General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) announced that 1.8 million boxes of supposedly gluten-free Cheerios were recalled after users complained they contained wheat. The FDA reported that they received at least 125 complaints from people developing health problems after consuming the product.

Earlier this year, General Mills launched the gluten-free Cheerios. The company said they found a way to remove the amounts of wheat, rye, and barley that were unintentionally added to oat before producing the product.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Symptoms include pain and discomfort in the digestive tract, chronic constipation and diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), anaemia and fatigue. Credit:

Shortly after this announcement, the company was forced to recall the gluten-free products, as they contained wheat. They announced that they will take the cereals out of warehouses and store shelves, encouraging customers who were affected to contact the company for a full refund.

The FDA and the ‘Gluten-Free Community’

FDA stated that there are no reports of people being hospitalized due to these Cheerios. “Lab tests done by the agency revealed 43 parts per million of gluten in one sample of Honey Nut Cheerios. However, for a product to be labeled as gluten-free, it must contain no more than 20 ppm of gluten,” the FDA said according to Food Safety News.

Sensibility and allergies to gluten are estimated to affect 1 percent of U.S. population. According to the FDA, most people can eat gluten, but the ones suffering autoimmune celiac disease end up with damage on their intestines due to the gluten’s ability to prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and can result in other health complications.

“Beyond feeling sick, we are being set back in our road to recovery, and the damage done by gluten is cumulative. Even if you have maintained a gluten-free diet, incidences of exposure to gluten can result in the development of additional autoimmune diseases among other things,” said Hannah Ross Crane from the Huffington Post, who has the disease.

The official version

General Mills released a communicate on their official blog, explaining themselves after the recall:

“We sincerely apologize to the gluten-free community and to anyone who may have been impacted. We care deeply about making safe, nutritious, gluten-free products more widely available, and we’ve worked very hard to ensure our products are gluten free. Today we must acknowledge that we failed to meet that commitment for a time, and we’re recalling all affected products as a result.”

The company informed that their oat supply wasn’t the cause of the issue, claiming that they had it tested as gluten free. Moreover, they said that they are testing all finished products to avoid further issues, and introduced new flour handling protocols to ensure this won’t happen again. “Please know we’ll be working even harder to earn back your trust,” the press release concludes.

Source: General Mills