This discussion arose from questions on the CCA’s Facebook Group.
The question was a simple one: “Do I need to worry about cross-contamination with hemp hearts? These are naturally gluten-free, but is there a potential cross-contamination problem?”
The string of responses were interesting as a number of members combined their knowledge.
One person pointed out that one Canadian company declares that their hemp products were processed in a hemp-only facility. A second noted that the same company once made a gluten-free claim for their hemp hearts, and now don’t. This triggered an email inquiry to the company and a response that stated that it no longer tests for gluten, but barley is grown in close proximity to the hemp so gluten contamination is possible. A little more research pointed out that Bob’s Red Mill no longer processes their hemp products in their gluten-free facility, suggesting that they were not able to make a product that met the gluten-free standard.
Victoria Chapter leader Ellen Bayens summarized the issue very clearly: “Best practice is to purchase seeds and nuts labelled gluten-free. Without those assurances, the consumer has no insight into whether cross-contamination could have occurred at the field level, in harvesting, processing, packaging, repackaging. The more we understand about how our food is handled, the more exacting we need to be.”