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How do you know if something is really and truly gluten free?
And what about cross contamination? Is is really as bad as it sounds?
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I have done my fair share of searching for gluten free cosmetics in the last few months. And I know that many of you have spent many more months, even years doing searches. One thing that I see a lot is publicity for Arbonne being a great gluten free cosmetic choice. I have seen the lists, the personal Arbonne representative website articles, and so on. From what they say, there are many "gluten free" products to pick from. However, there is a disclaimer (I think I read this in bold print somewhere) that it is not made in a gluten free facility.
As you have read in my column before, there are occasionally some companies that produce things in facilities that are not gluten free, but appear to not be a problem. Those companies have been more of the home-grown type, who started small and still "act small" once they've grown up some. By and large, the bigger companies have not been able to give answers that are as clear or comforting about cross contamination. Only one, maybe two, companies have stated that they are completely gluten free with a gluten free facility (Afterglow and another I haven't posted on yet). Both of these are the smaller types where the owner might answer the phone or do some of the customer service.
I wrote to Arbonne a few weeks ago asking a handful of very specific questions (beyond just "do you have any gluten free products?"). The information I received from Arbonne appeared to be a "form letter" type that looked similar to other emails I have seen from Arbonne posted on message boards before. To be fair, I have not called them yet. I wanted to see what they did or didn't answer in my email request. Well, I got a letter that listed all the products without gluten in them, as well as a list of products with nut-derived ingredients and peanut oil. No answers about my specific questions and I didn't ask about nuts!!
I will be calling them to see what else they say. To Revlon's credit, they (Revlon) indicated that because of the way the products are made and transported (read: Gluten Cross Contamination Risk), they can't guarantee anything truly being gluten free. I will ask Arbonne something directly like that to see what they can say about the making and transporting part.
I am not looking to bad mouth or put down any cosmetic company. There is no need for cheap shots here, just honesty and thoroughness. However, if I get wishy washy answers about the non-gluten free facility issue (and making and transporting), that certainly casts a big shadow of doubt over the statements of the company and their representatives. Again, this may highlight the classic difference between the two basic definitions of "gluten free". One being simply without glutenous ingredients, the other including no glutenous ingredients and virtually zero cross contamination risk.
The proof will be in the customer service call.
I'll get back to you when I take care of this. Take care.