“N.C Puts Its Weight behind Gluten-free Cause” says News & Observer
Due to inclement weather, the trial of a North Carolina manufacturer accused of falsely labeling gluten-free bread products has been postponed. The N.C Attorney Generals Office is asking a judge to close the company after state agriculture officials investigated three complaints of contamination.
Because of weather, a hearing has been delayed in which the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was expected to ask a judge to shut down Great Specialty Products of Durham permanently. The lawsuit details complaints from three people who got sick from eating the bread or whose children got sick. The company’s owner, Paul Seelig, denies any wrongdoing, saying if his company’s bread had gluten in it, more than three people would have complained about getting sick.
The state agriculture department’s food and drug protection division is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of food labels and claims. That’s the division that investigated complaints against Great Specialty Products.
The unit vets between 300 and 500 complaints from consumers annually, ranging from roaches at a grocery store to finding what they think is a bone in their bag of peanut M&Ms, which actually happened last fall. The unit’s 27 inspectors and four supervisors also regularly inspect about 5,000 grocery stores and food manufacturing facilities across the state.
NFCA founder and president Alice Bast is quoted in today’s News & Observer article, commending N.C state officals for protecting the health and welfare of the celiac community.