Warning about Boulder Canyon Chips

January 23, 2014

The following is a message from Tricia Thompson, Owner/Founder Gluten Free Watchdog, about Boulder Canyon Chips. 

Dear subscribers to Gluten Free Watchdog,

If you or your patients eat Boulder Canyon chips (especially the malt vinegar and sea salt kettle chips) please read the ingredients list very carefully even if the product is labeled gluten-free or appears to be certified gluten-free.



Long story short, I was contacted about this particular product by a diligent subscriber. According to the website this product is listed as gluten-free yet it contains malt vinegar and malt extract. I wrongly assumed this was a website error. The manufacturer stated to me by phone, email, and on twitter that the product was certified and tested by GFCO. Another wonderful subscriber went to the store and took pictures showing the GFCO logo on the back of product packaging.

However, according to GFCO they do NOT certify this particular flavor. According to Boulder Canyon it was their understanding that the chips were certified by GFCO. Obviously there was a miscommunication somewhere. Both Boulder Canyon and GFCO are working to rectify the situation.

However, certification is NOT the real issue here. The issue is that the company represents this product (and others) as being gluten-free even though they contain malt ingredients. We want to be able to trust the gluten-free label and in most cases we can. But my recommendation is to remain vigilant. Continue to read ingredients lists.

It is true that the FDA’s final gluten-free labeling rule has confused the issue regarding “ingredients NOT processed to be gluten-free.” In the proposed rule malt was included as an example of this type of ingredient. In the final rule only wheat flour is included as an example. FDA is working on a proposed rule for fermented and hydrolyzed foods/ingredients. In the meantime, I have been advised by FDA that they still consider malt extract to be “an ingredient NOT processed to remove gluten” and therefore NOT allowed in foods labeled gluten-free. However, the situation is complicated when it comes to these types of ingredients.

If anything about this email does not make sense, please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards,
Tricia Thompson, MS, RD
Owner/Founder Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC