Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today I ate a food even though its label clearly stated that it contained WHEAT. Yet the food did not, in fact, contain wheat!

How could this have come to pass?

Jars of Vita herring have long sported such a label, but only recently did the company do the research that led it to recognize that its vinegar does not, in fact, contain wheat. So, for the time being, the labels continue to say WHEAT...but soon they will not.

I first got wind of Vita's policy switch from a post on the international celiac mailing list:
I just got off the phone with Vita Herring. What a wonderful conversation. The woman (Joan), actually knew what she was talking about.

The labels on the herring say wheat, because the vendor who provides them with the vinegar wanted to go through the steps to get his product tested by a reliable lab, to be sure it was really o.k. to say gluten-free or to leave off the wheat as an ingredient. In the meantime, when the labels were printed, in accordance with the Jan. 06 food labeling law, since the vendor wouldn't confirm gf, Vita put wheat on the label, to play it safe.

The vendor has verified that his vinegar is gluten-free, and provided Vita with documentation. They are in the process of using up the old labels, and printing new ones, at great cost.

But the bottom line is Vita Herring is gluten-free, and always was, despite the label.
Here's the note I subsequently received from a customer service manager at Vita:
I have good news! Vita now has certification from our suplier [sic] that our Vinegar does not contain any gluten. The vinegar we use was the only ingredient that we could not get certification from the supplier. We have now received certification from our supplier that our Vinegar does not contain any gluten. In addition, we had gluten testing performed by an outside lab on our vinegar containing products. The tests were negative for gliadin, a component of gluten.
Now that Vita's vinegar confusion has been cleared up, soon the only thing fishy about its labels will be the herring itself!

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