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Herr's potato chip recall creates dangerous gluten-free confusion for celiac disease

Lana Bandoim's picture

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, then you may have been excited to notice another gluten-free item on the grocery store shelves. However, if that item was Herr's Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips, you will want to pay attention to the latest recall. Herr Foods Inc. is recalling specific lots of some of its Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips because they are mislabeled as gluten-free. These chips actually contain wheat and should not be consumed by people who are sensitive to wheat or allergic to it.


Herr Foods Inc. shares that the front of the package on some Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips has the label gluten free. However, the back of the package lists wheat as an allergen and includes it in the ingredient list. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mentions that the chips were sold in retail stores and online. Only one size of the Herr’s potato chips in the Sour Cream & Onion flavor was affected.

Recalled product details

The 1.875 ounce bags of Herr's Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips are being recalled. The green bags have red logos and have a gluten free statement on the front. The statement is located on the right side of the bags above the line that states potato chips. The bags have best buy dates that range from January 02, 2016 to January 30, 2016. The UPC number is 72600 00061, and the product code is 122. You can find the code on the front of the package of chips.

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If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or allergies to wheat, then you want to avoid the recalled potato chips. They have wheat and should not have been labeled as gluten-free. Herr Foods Inc. recommends returning the recalled chips to your retailer and asking for a refund. You can also contact the company directly with any questions by calling it at 1-800-523-5030. Herr Foods Inc. states that only one lot of the potato chips was mislabeled and recalled. It has not received complaints about illnesses at this time.

Recall advice and mislabeling issues

According to Herr Foods Inc., some of its other chips are gluten-free, but the company has a warning for individuals who are sensitive to wheat. Although the products may not contain wheat, it produces them on the same manufacturing lines as other items that have gluten. This creates the risk of cross-contamination and puts consumers who cannot eat gluten in danger. Herr recommends that highly sensitive individuals avoid all the products.

The latest recall is a reminder for people with allergies and other food intolerances to carefully check both sides of a package. For this recall, the back of the potato chip bags clearly stated that they contained wheat in the ingredient list. Unfortunately, it is not enough to trust the front of any package and the labels on it. You still have to check the ingredient list, pay attention to recalls and verify that the food does not contain the allergens or other items you cannot eat.

Mislabeled food is an ongoing problem for consumers who have to watch their diet carefully. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that companies correctly label their food products. Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc. has a list of some of the common allergens that have to be on the label. They range from wheat to eggs, and they must be included even if they are in small amounts. The allergens in spices, natural flavors or colors also have to be identified. Unfortunately, mislabeling makes it more difficult for consumers to keep track of the ingredients and trust the companies.