Thursday, February 19, 2009

Email to Sami's Bakery Regarding Their Millet and Flax Seed Bread

from Marianne
date Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 2:22 PM
subject A happy yet concerned customer

Dear People of Sami's Pita Bakery,

I want to thank you for making Millet and Flax Bread! As a baker who found herself needing to go wheat-free, for six years I despaired of finding a gluten-free / wheat-free bread that even remotely resembled the "real thing." When I tried yours, I was very impressed. I wanted to find out more about your products and your bakery, so I looked up "Sami's bakery" and "gluten free millet flax bread" online.

Are you aware of the debate and sometimes heated emotional controversy surrounding the Millet and Flax products? All of it seems to boil down to a R-Biophar Ridascreen Fast Gliadin test (in English: a test to find the presence of a protein found in gluten) done at the request of the Tri-County Celiac Support Group of Michigan ( ) by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 2007. ( and ). Less that 20 ppm is considered "gluten-free." The greater than 5000 ppm listed as a test result indicates more than accidental contamination.

Sami's Millet and Millet and Flax breads do not list any gluten-containing ingredients, but the label on the packaging clearly states that these products are made in a facility that processes wheat and may contain traces of wheat. Part of the issue may be that health food stores are labeling these items as "gluten free" and customers are accepting that at face value. I myself am torn; while I did not have a problem eating these products once a month, would daily ingestion make me ill? When your body is the test tube, "experimenting" with products that "might" be okay is not only uncomfortable, for some it's possibly dangerous. I have several questions which I think will address these concerns:

- How does the Millet and Millet and Flax bread products get that texture without wheat or yeast?
- Are there additional ingredients not listed on the packaging because they're not used in large enough quantities to require it?
- Does Sami's try to limit gluten / wheat contamination, and if so, how? Do they bake these products first thing in the morning, or have a different set of pans?
- Has Sami's ever tested the Millet or Millet and Flax products for wheat / gluten? Would Sami's be willing to have them tested and post the results on their web site?
- Would Sami's be willing to put an FAQ on their web site addressing consumers concerns? Would Sami's allow me to post their response on my blog, Café Tor? ( )

I think it's important to clear up these rumors and uncertainty so that people who have concerns about their diets get the information that they need. While I understand that Sami's bakery may not wish to answer all of these questions (people would love to have the exact recipe!), answering any of them would be most helpful in clearing up whether or not those who need to eat gluten free diets can safely eat Sami's Millet and Millet and Flax bread products.

Thank you so much for your time,
Marianne Richardson

Sami's Bakery did not respond.

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