Bob’s Red Mill company has integrity – The Food Sensitive Shopper
A few weeks ago we talked about gluten free flours and how they are not all the same, nutritionally speaking. Well, they are not all milled the same as well. Recently I spoke with a company representative from Bob’s Red Millwho provided me with samples, great information and a contact at their offices to tell me more. This is what I found out…
Bob’s Red Mill uses a stone grinding milling technique that helps preserve the nutritious parts of the grain, the bran and germ. The stone grinding equipment is a flint-hard quartz millstone not a metal machine. The Romans used this type of milling as did our American ancestors. Bob really likes to stone grind grains (say those last three words three times…tough tongue twister)
A virtual tour
Imagine walking through a millet field. During the harvest Bob’s Red Mill company checks with the transportation company to ensure the grains will be transported without cross contact with gluten. The grains arrive and are quarantined in the GF ‘waiting room’. It probably looks like a warehouse but imagine it being clean and clear of wheat, barley, rye, and other glutinous grains. Lab techs, in their white lab coats, take samples of the grains to check for the presence of gluten. If under 19ppm the lab tech gives the thumbs up for the grain to go to the mill. The mill is a high energy place. You can hear the grains being crushed by the quartz stone… crunch, crunch, crunch… until it becomes gluten free flour. Now off to the packaging plant to be bagged in the familiar Bob’s Red Mill bags.
Gluten is measured in parts per million (ppm). The industry standard is 20 ppm of gluten or less can be considered ‘gluten free’. That may not be low enough for some folks who cannot tolerate gluten. Cassidy, our Bob’s Red Mill connection, told me that most of their gluten free grains measure at an average of 5 ppm but their upper limit is 19 ppm. She did mention that they typically don’t reach the upper limit. That is good news for those of us on a gluten free diet. More good news is the variety of gluten free products they offer. Did you know that Bob’s company has 70+ GF products?
Food allergy sufferers, especially to nuts and seeds, have been put off by the disclaimer that Bob’s Red Mill flours may contain nuts. We spoke with Cassidy at Bob’s Red Mill about this. She did confirm that almond and hazelnut is used in their GF facility but they segregate ingredients and use good manufacturing practices. We hear this latter term a lot these days. At Bob’s Red Mill this means that each line is cleaned between runs (i.e..after each type of GF flour is run through the packaging equipment). They then flush 30 pounds of the next product through the line before beginning packaging. This is their standard method to flush out any remaining residue.
Although I cannot guarantee there is no cross contact after the flushing the company stands behind their practices with long term success. I have used their GF flours to make sweet breads and muffins and my son, who is extremely allergic to all nuts, has tolerated the products. When considering a new product I hope you make your purchasing decision based on your family’s needs not my family’s success…everyone is different.
Thinking of going to Oregon for a vacation? Visit Bob’s Red Mill. I have it on my list of places to visit. Tours are on Monday through Friday. Go to their website and click on ‘Story’ tab. The tour information is located on the bottom of that tab. Here’s the link to Bob’s Red Mill: http://www.bobsredmill.com/
By the way…Bob is a real guy not just the icon on all of their labels. Read all about Bob at: http://www.bobsredmill.com/about-bob.html
We hope we made you a bit more comfortable today by learning about Bob’s Red Mill. I know I always feel relief when a company representative takes the time to answer my questions about their products.
One last tidbit about gluten -Bob’s xanthan gum is grown on wheat sugar unlike other xanthan gums that are made with corn sugar. Cassidy sent me some facts about their xanthan gum…
‘The bacteria that produces xanthan gum is fed wheat sugar. Once the xanthan gum is harvested, there is no wheat sugar or gluten left in the product. Beyond that, we test the xanthan gum for gluten at our facility. It is safe for those with wheat allergies, celiac disease and gluten intolerance.’
I have been using Bob’s Red Mill xanthum gum for quite some time and am gluten intolerant…again, everyone has a different level of tolerance.
Until we shop again… Be well, Eat well, & Feel well.