General Mills has voluntarily recalled 1.8 million boxes of original and Honey Nut Cheerios due to wheat contamination.
"Our Lodi production facility lost rail service for a time and our gluten-free oat flour was being off-loaded from rail cars to trucks for delivery to our facility on the dates in question," Jim Murphy, president of General Mills' cereal business, said in a statement. "In an isolated incident involving purely human error, wheat flour was inadvertently introduced into our gluten-free oat flour system at Lodi. That error resulted in an undeclared allergen – wheat – being present in products labeled as gluten-free at levels above the FDA gluten-free standard."
The recall includes four days of production of original Cheerios and 13 days of production of Honey Nut Cheerios at the Lodi facility. Though the mistake was isolated to just one plant, the company is testing all finished cereal product for gluten to ensure that the incident isn't more widespread.
The recalled boxes of original Cheerios are marked with the code LD, along with "better if used by" dates from July 14-17, 2016. The recalled boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios are also marked with the code LD, and "better if used by" dates from July 12-25, 2016.
General Mills is working hard to retrieve all affected products from warehouses and stores, and the company encourages customers with celiac disease or wheat allergies to get in touch for a replacement or refund: 1-800-775-8370.
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“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,” said Murphy. “Today we must acknowledge that we failed to meet that commitment for a time, and we’re recalling all affected products as a result.”
General Mills says that it has now instituted new flour handling protocols to ensure that such contamination incidents don’t happen again in the future.
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