General Mills has made a huge mistake – the company recently recalled 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios cereal after realizing they were improperly labeled as “gluten free.”
General Mills (NYSE:GIS) has just announced the voluntary recall of 1.8 million boxes of its Cheerios cereal that it says were improperly labeled. According to a report from the Washington Post, the company revealed that original and Honey Nut Cheerios labeled as gluten free likely contained wheat.
According to Jim Murphy, the senior vice president of GM’s cereal division, the company is embarrassed and apologetic following an incident that contaminated the gluten-free oat flour system at a manufacturing facility in California.
The presence of wheat in a product labeled as gluten free could pose serious health risks to people suffering from celiac disease. So far only 150,000 of the boxes were shipped to retailers, and the tainted cereal was produced over a 13-day timeframe.
General Mills will work to remove the tainted boxes from retailers’ shelves, and customers that purchased the mislabeled boxes will be entitled to a replacement or a refund.
Murphy said that the incident that allowed wheat products to be mixed into the gluten free batches of Cheerios was entirely based on human error. Gluten has been losing popularity in the U.S. for a number of years, and a shift in consumer preference from wheat-based products to others that lack gluten has caused producers to rethink their strategies.
While some people avoid gluten for personal dietary reasons, roughly 20 million Americans suffer from a sensitivity that causes extreme pain and digestive discomfort when ingested.