November 7, 2010
Gluten-Free Summit at General Mills
You might be wondering, as we were before attending, how they fed us. Tuesday evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano. That’s right, an Italian restaurant! With all the excitement I forgot to take pictures until dessert, but we were served gluten-free bread and had a full menu of gluten-free choices, including gluten-free pasta dishes and pizza. Because of being dairy-free I went with filet mignon and vegetables which were delicious. Here are a couple of the desserts (I had the sorbet on the left):
For breakfast on Wednesday, we had delicious baked goods from French Meadow Bakery, many of which were dairy free. For lunch we had a terrific selection of Pad Thai dishes from Big Bowl.
Wednesday we met as a combined group and in smaller groups for lots of discussion. One really big concern that both Shirley of Gluten Free Easily and I raised was the issue of cross contamination with General Mills’ gluten-free products. It was interesting to learn that although some of their products say “Made in a gluten free processing facility,” it is actually not a separate building but what was described as a dedicated environment (we did not see any of the processing facilities). While they do test to 20 ppm, the proposed FDA standard, many people, including Shirley and my son, do react to their products. Our suggestion, which was echoed by Carol McCarthy Shilson, was to enroll in the Gluten-Free Certification Organization program. We tried to impress on them the fact that it is a matter of trust. We need to feel safe about eating their products, and if we can’t do that, then their involvement in the gluten-free community will be hindered. While nothing could be promised by the people there, we were at least encouraged by their willingness to listen and their openness to criticism.
We ended the day by doing a little baking in the Betty Crocker kitchens. We broke into groups of two or three and prepared desserts from recipes they gave us using their gluten-free dessert mixes or the gf Bisquick and other ingredients. I got to work with Cinde of Gluten-Free Taste of Home. It was a fun experience, though those of us who are gluten free (some of the bloggers are not gluten free themselves but have a gf child or spouse) did not feel safe eating the products because of the wooden spoons, rolling pins, and spatula handles that could easily harbor gluten. It was a learning experience for General Mills!
- Shirley of Gluten Free Easily
- Cinde of Gluten Free Taste of Home
- Maureen of Hold the Gluten
- Jill of Hey, that tastes good!
- Lynn of Lynn’s Recipe Adventures
- Amanda of A Few Shortcuts
- Rachel of The Crispy Cook
- Amy of The Savvy Celiac
- Vanessa of Celiac Princess
p.s. Your hair looks super cute in that photo of the two of you baking :)
What I love about this gf community is we are open, share and look out for each other.
Love the photos too!
I'm going to try and join in the fun with Gluten-Free Wednesdays. While pie crust is not my forte, perhaps I can contribute a blog post about one of those "impossible" pies that make their own crust while they are baking.
Also, I love the pictures!
I couldn't understand how if it was a "dedicated environment" that my system always reacted..now I understand. In addition to the products testing at 20 ppm..it's way too much for my system..thus the reactions.
I do hope they will consider becoming GF certified and changing their production process. I would like nothing better than to use their products..but with no reactions :)
I wanted to find out if anyone brought up the fact that some of their current gluten free products have other allergens in them? I can't use most of othem because they contain potato starch and I'm allergic to nightshades. I think that would be huge if their product line contained no known allergens!!
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