On January 30, 2020, General Mills Convenience and Foodservice, the division that services restaurants and bakeries directly, announced on its Facebook page that it was developing a “gluten-friendly” line of frozen biscuits.
Here is a snapshot of the Facebook post, which has since been removed:
Of course, the gluten-free community is up in arms and rightfully so!
What in the world does General Mills mean by calling it a “gluten-friendly” vs. “gluten-free” product, and does this mean it will meet FDA guidelines for “gluten-free” labeling.
I contacted General Mills to inquire more about the products, and what “gluten-friendly” meant, and would like to share information direct from the source.
Mike Siemienas, General Mills spokesperson, says, “To ensure there is no confusion, these products do not currently exist. The images on the website are a product concept, not a product that is currently available and it may never be available. This was strictly a test to see if any of our customers within our Convenience Store and FoodService network were looking for products like this.
“The photos, labelling and language are all mockups and I can promise you that our team has seen and heard the community’s concerns. We appreciate all of the feedback.”
In other words, General Mills, at this time, is not moving forward with these products; rather, it is simply putting out feelers.
These products are not in development, rather they are concepts being floated to their customers to see if there was a need or desire for these types of products.
I also inquired about what “gluten-friendly” would mean, and Siemienas says, “Gluten friendly, in this context, means items manufactured without gluten-containing ingredients. General Mills does not claim these items meet FDA requirements for “gluten-free” because of the possibility for cross-contamination with gluten, including due to shared cooking and prep areas in kitchens.”
Siemians further stated, “We have heard very clearly that the community is concerned about this language. I can promise your followers that we have heard the feedback and concerns about these potential products. The images will be coming down from our website as we reevaluate these products based on all the feedback we received.”
Thank you, gluten-free community, for making your voices heard. We must unite to push for manufacturers (and restaurants) to hold sacred the gluten-free guidelines set forth by the FDA. You can read more about FDA gluten-free labeling laws in this article.
We must all do our part to educate manufacturers that “gluten-friendly” is not a thing, and such language should not be used as a means to legally get around FDA labeling laws. This is unacceptable and confusing to the gluten-free community, not to mention unethical too.
That said, if General Mills were to create gluten-free frozen biscuits that contained no gluten ingredients and were manufactured in a safe, well-regulated way, I’d be all over that.
And while you’re in the business of making gluten-free frozen biscuits, can we get some gluten-free puff pastry, gluten-free cinnamon rolls, and gluten-free crescent rolls, too. Is it too much to ask?