Celiacs, Gluten-Free and Trader Joe’s

Written by Shani

Topics: Introduction

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I’ve seen a lot of discussions lately about gluten free labeling and when is the FDA going to establish a true definition of gluten-free.  According to the article “3 years after deadline, FDA still hasn’t defined ‘gluten-free’” in the Washington Post, the FDA was supposed to have developed a definition for labeling by 2008.  That date has come and gone and they are still working on it.


What does that mean to you?

Be careful!  At this point manufacturer’s determine if their products should be labeled gluten-free which typically just means that there is no gluten or that there is only small amounts.  For those of you who are affected by even trace amounts of gluten or cross contamination, this means that even something that is labeled gluten free isn’t necessarily safe.  I consider myself lucky as I don’t seem to have reactions to items that are labeled “Made in a facility that processes wheat…”  I know that some of you aren’t so lucky though.  A new label I have started seeing on Trader Joe’s Gluten Free products is “Our vendors follow Good Manufacturing Practices to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contamination with allergens.”   Hopefully as more manufacturer’s become aware of the issues of cross contamination, more details such as this will start being added to packages with the gluten free label.


What can you do?

Read every label, every time you go to the store.  Ingredients change, vendors change, labels change.  Also, if you have problems with a particular product that we are recommending, please post a comment in the post so that we can let other people know to be careful.


What will we do here at Gluten-Free @ Trader Joe’s?

I have tested every product that we recommend, but I know there are people out there who are much more sensitive than I am.  We will start making a note in the recipes if there is a specific disclaimer on a package so that you can start your grocery store research knowing that this product may not work for you.  Please feel free to ask us for a suitable substitute or we would love to hear your recommendation for a substitute.  Again, if you have problems with a specific product at Trader Joe’s, please let us know so that we can share.



Have you had any problems with any specific Trader Joe’s products labeled as Gluten-Free?



11 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. SRS says:

    Thanks for all the great information. This site is fantastic!!!

  2. carolyn says:

    I saw that label on the round tub of spicy hummus… trust/bought/ate
    it and get very sick. I love tj but misleading labels are making me weary.

    • Shani says:

      I was surprised to find that some of their hummus has wheat in it as well. Why do they possibly need wheat in hummus! I’ve had good luck with the roasted garlic hummus, but haven’t tried the spicy hummus.

  3. Msstid says:

    I can’t shop at TJs at all anymore. It’s a shame because they have a lot of great products, but I’ve gotten sick from every “GF” product I’ve tried there. Almost all their products are made in facilities that also process wheat! And they put their GF bread right next to their regular bread! The store’s GF policies were clearly designed by someone who has no idea about cross contamination. Until they clean up their act, I’m shopping elsewhere.

    • Shani says:

      That’s such a bummer that you aren’t able to shop there anymore. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I have very, very rarely had problems there. When I have I’ve always assumed that it was something else I must be allergic too! I still hope you will continue to visit our site as we have tons of recipes that can still be done without buying products from trader joes.

  4. Clayton says:

    Traders Joe in some of their producs such as pancakes, states it is gluten free, but in truth and in fact are cross contaminated because their products are processed also with machinery with wheat products.

    • Shani says:

      Hi Clayton-
      Thanks for the comment and thanks for stopping by. I agree that it’s really important to read all the labeling on gluten free products. Some people are much more sensitive to cross contamination than others. Some people may not have any issues with this; whereas, others, I’m assuming like you, who have Celiac’s, not just gluten/wheat intolerance, can’t tolerate this at all. Thanks for reminding people how important it is to not just look at the gluten free label on any product and assume it is okay. So important to read everything – every time!

  5. Edite says:

    I’m starting to get tired of trying to guess what will be ok for me to it from Trader Joes without getting sick. Their labels are misleading, inaccurate or plain non existent. Whenever I ask about a product in the store that has no labels or indications of any kind and look like they might be ok, they tell me to refer to their long typed list which is stupid and crazy to walk around with. And even if I look at it on my iPhone, it’s still misleading and actually quite vague. Other stores have finally started to have “gluten free” signs directly on thei shelves whereever they have a safe product, but at Trader Joes is always a guessing name. Yesterday I bought the Eggplant Hummus and since their LIST said all hummus are gluten free except 2 which was not the one I bought, I was sure I’d be fine. Well, I was NOT!!! I missed a lecture I wanted to go to this morning because I woke up with a migraine and that the first indicator for me that I ate something that made me sick. The other things I ate with that hummus were tomatoes and cucumber. So obviously it was the hummus! TRADER JOES: this post was first done 2 years ago, you still keep misleading people with gluten sensitivity. It is time you clean up your act!!!!

    • Shani says:

      Sorry to hear you’re having so much troubles with finding gluten free food. Just to let you know, we don’t work for Trader Joe’s, we just do most of our shopping there and try to make great recipes to share with other people who have to eat gluten free. Hopefully with the new FDA labeling rules, you will have better luck with finding things that you can eat. I highly recommend reading every label, every time, not just relying on a list or gluten free sign or symbol. Things that you would never expect to have gluten in it – like hummus or even gummy bears – sometimes do. Even things that I eat regularly I still read the labels just to be safe. Good luck!

  6. BellyAche says:

    I don’t think I can eat TJ’s products. It’s the random things that you wouldn’t think would affect you at all, like canned salmon, that take you down. I got Bumble Bee brand salmon and had no problem. I didn’t even know TJ’s processed the salmon themselves. Had the same experience with beans, so strange. La Castellina brand chick peas, no problem. Trader Joe’s chick peas, problems. I really wanted to save 60 cents a can by shopping at TJ’s, but it’s not in the cards.

  7. Susan says:

    I just returned from TJ’s with a refund for my GF blanched almond flour. I am celiac and it gave me a reaction just like eating wheat. I could tell the manager didn’t believe me and wouldn’t report it, though he gave me a refund. I hope no one else gets sick from it. I baked an apple cake with it and had to throw the cake out. Afterwards I studied the flour and decided the texture wasn’t quite right. It seemed not to clump as much as the almond flour I buy from Lucy’s Kitchen Shop, and I wonder if they’d added wheat or some other grain to get it to “pour” better.

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