We are embarrassed & sorry to share an incident that occurred at our production facility in Lodi, California, that allowed wheat flour to enter our gluten-free oat-based system. As a result, original and Honey Nut Cheerios produced on several dates may contain wheat and were wrongly labeled gluten free.
We are voluntarily recalling the products made on those dates at our Lodi facility and we ask you to check the "better if used by" code dates on your packages.
We want to reassure you that this was an isolated incident and we have implemented a solution to ensure that this will not happen again. The Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at our other facilities are, and will continue to be, FDA compliant and gluten-free. We'll also continue to test products and our oat flour supply extensively to ensure our products meet the gluten-free standard. We care about what you and your family eat and we are truly sorry for this mistake. We will work extremely hard to earn back your trust.
Please see below for details on code dates and further FAQs. Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact our dedicated consumer line at: 1-800-775-8370. You may also find a note from the President of Big G Cereal Division at General Mills here: http://www.blog.generalmills.com/
Why is General Mills issuing this Class I recall of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios?
General Mills is voluntarily recalling Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios cereal produced at its Lodi, California facility on certain dates because of a potential undeclared allergen in the product. The products contain wheat, though they are labeled gluten free – and could cause severe reactions or illness in people with wheat allergies, celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Only products produced at the company's Lodi, California facility, and bearing the following "BETTER IF USED BY" dates are being withdrawn:
What is General Mills asking consumers to do?
Consumers allergic to wheat, or diagnosed as celiac or intolerant of gluten, or who are unsure of whether they are sensitive to or intolerant of gluten, should not consume cereals in packages bearing the affected code dates. Consumers should contact General Mills at 1-800-775-8370.
How did this happen?
General Mills was in the process of changing five varieties of Cheerios cereal to meet the FDA standard for gluten free products. The company had tested its oat supply, and confirmed that it met the standard for gluten free. The company had also tested the oat flour used to make its gluten free products at its Lodi facility, and confirmed that its oat flour met the FDA gluten free standard.
During the dates in question, the company's Lodi facility lost rail service, and the company's gluten-free oat flour was off-loaded from rail cars and transferred to trucks. The company believes this isolated incident resulted in wheat flour being inadvertently introduced into the gluten free oat flour system at its Lodi facility, introducing an undeclared allergen – wheat – into products labeled as gluten free.
Is it safe for consumers who are celiac or gluten intolerant to eat Cheerios or Honey Nut Cheerios produced at Lodi, California, before and after the affected code dates?
Yes. We have confirmed via testing that the products produced at Lodi both before and after the affected code dates are FDA compliant as gluten free.
Is it safe for consumers who are celiac or gluten intolerant to eat Cheerios or Honey Nut Cheerios produced at General Mills' other facilities on these same dates?
Yes. Our products produced at our other facilities are not involved. The Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at our other facilities are FDA compliant and gluten free.
Is it safe for consumers who aren't celiac – or otherwise intolerant of or sensitive to gluten – to eat the products being withdrawn?
These products would be safe for people without celiac or who are not gluten intolerant or sensitive to wheat or gluten – and that would include most consumers.
But this is an undeclared wheat allergen of great concern to consumers who are allergic to wheat or celiac or intolerant or sensitive to gluten. Celiac and gluten intolerant consumers should not consume Cheerios or Honey Nut Cheerios cereal bearing the affected code dates. They should contact General Mills for a replacement or full refund.
What about Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at other General Mills facilities? Are any of those cereals or facilities affected?
No. The Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at our other facilities are and were FDA compliant and gluten free. Only packages of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at our Lodi facility and bearing the "BETTER IF USED BY" code dates are affected as shown in the table above.