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An Apology for an Oversight

This day has not gone the way I thought it would. I had a slew of chores to tackle. But they had to be dropped because …

… I slipped up … and I am so sorry.

You see, today I received a comment from Nancy on my coconut yogurt post. She wrote:

“I see the Vegan culture [Cultures for Health Vegetal] is processed in a plant with a lot of no-no's for me. I would love to try the coconut yogurt but am leery of the starter you use. Anybody have trouble with it because of cross contamination?”

I halted in my tracks. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Had I failed my readers?

Apparently so and I am profusely sorry.

It is my aim to be diligent about reading labels and recommending only products that are free of gluten, dairy, and eggs and/or any possibility of cross-contamination with gluten, dairy, and eggs.

I have spent the morning researching Nancy’s claim. And she is absolutely right.

Right there on the Vegetal Yogurt Starter label it reads:

“Produced in a facility that also manufactures wheat, soy, eggs, nuts and fish.”

How did I miss this!? I am beside myself.

But wait, it got worse!

I called Cultures for Health who referred me to their source for Vegetal. That source pointed me to the manufacturer’s spec sheet.

It’s not every day that the average consumer reads a food manufacturer’s spec sheet and had I not I wouldn't have even discovered that barley and soy are used as "fermentation nutrients" in the production of Vegetal. I take that to mean that the bacteria is fed barley and soy and that the barley and soy (and gluten in the barley) is completely consumed by the bacteria? I sure hope so.

The spec sheet goes on to say:

“Danisco [the manufacturer] has determined that fermentation nutrients [barley and soy] are outside the scope of US and EU food allergen labeling requirements. Local regulation has always to be consulted as allergen labeling requirements may vary from country to country.” 

I am not sure what THAT means and I am no food scientist (can one pipe in?), but until I can verify that this product is indeed completely “safe,” I can no longer recommend it. Fortunately we have not had any problems with it. For all I know it may be a non-issue. But I will remain on the safe side for your sake.

With all this said. I apologize once more for not doing my homework and for this oversight.

And I thank Nancy for bringing this all to our attention. I need my readers!

I will be returning to using 35-40 billion CFU's (colony forming units) of Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete probiotic capsules per 2 quarts of liquid for making yogurt. The only downside with Klaire Labs is that they do not sell direct. Products are sold exclusively to healthcare professionals, authorized distributors, and patients with a physician-supplied authorization code. However, because it is impossible for me, a consumer, to oversee every step in the manufacturing process, I must leave it up to you to research and decide which yogurt culture or probiotic is safe for you and your family. I use Klaire Labs, but defer to you to find decide on which product you will choose to use.

The one tip I can provide when selecting a non-dairy yogurt starter or priobiotic capsule is to select one that includes the lactic acid-producing bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In the United States, the USDA defines "yogurt" as containing these two strains bacteria.

Thank you for being a loyal Lexie’s Kitchen reader. I made a oversight and hope you will forgive me.

I will leave the Cultures for Health shopping link on my site as some of you do not have issues with soy and gluten and/or may deem this product “safe enough” for your personal use.

Today I did not accomplish what I set out to do, but I have learned TWO great lessons:

1. Scrutinize labels—each and every time! Manufacturing processes can and do change. Ingredients and manufacturing processes used one day may not be the same the next.

2. Admit when you are wrong. The kind and understanding people will forgive knowing that you are doing your best. We all make mistakes and oversights.


Sources: Yo-Mix™ Vegetal 7 375 DCU Product Description www.danisco.com

Reader Comments (13)

Lexie, thank you for your honesty. Always. Not one of us is perfect. We all have to remind ourselves and our readers that any time we're not using whole food, determining completely safe status can be tough. I had to go back and update an old post the other day because I found out one Better than Bouillon product I used contained dairy and I had said that the chowder recipe I used it in was gf/df. :-(And now BTB won't say its products are gf and some of them even have barley in the ingredients now, but that's another story.) It was a reader who informed me, too. It was an older post, so I have no idea if the formulation changed after I did the post. Sometimes formulations do change, and other times we just miss things. As one of your readers, I appreciate you sharing this info and setting us straight as soon as you discovered this issue. You help up with so much, dear; we are all so grateful for you!


October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShirley @ gfe

Thank you for taking responsibility for the information you post. Your integrity is one of the reasons why I will continue subscribing to your site. There are so many allergy/health/homekeeper bloggers now, and it often seems to me that the information is rehashed from one site to another, often with the same typos, even!!! You are a wonderful resource and inspiration to moms like me, who struggle with making good food choices for children with multiple food allergies. Thank you so much for all that you do. You are a blessing to many!

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

Shirley and Peggy,

At the end of this day's post I was crumpled in a heap ... so your words have meant so much. It was a bad day all around and as I tell me kids, we all have them. : ) I guess I have that first-born-perfectionist-don't-want-to-let-anyone-down streak in me. Thank you for lifting me back up. I felt the love!!!


October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

Lexie, I am the Nancy who brought the cross contamination to your notice and did not even realize how important that could be to others when I did so. I sure did not mean to hurt you in any way. I am rather new to looking at labels beyond just gluten but was recently diagnosed with allergies also to egg, dairy, soy, chicken, almond, rice, and corn. Glad I could be of help though :) I am wondering if Culturelle could be used as a starter as I can easily get that at Walgreens. I was a huge yogurt fan and do not want to give it up.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Nancy, I am so GRATEFUL that you shared what you found. Don't ever apologize or thing that it is hurtful. I am one that likes to have everything in the clear. Sure it would have been easy to sweep your comment under the rug so to say, but I could never do that. We are all in this together and I need everyones' eyes and ears. I learn SO much from each and every one of my readers who take the time to comment, share, and interact.

Regarding Culturelle. You can try. I just feel kind of hand tied suggesting any one brand. Maybe check your local natural food store ... maybe in the refrigerated section ... and look for a mix of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

Thanks again for following my blog and participating : )


October 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Lexie, I just started following your blog and I can't say that I'm necessarily a very avid follower at that (quite a few of your recipes grace my boards on Pinterest, however. ;) ) and I've never posted a comment, but when I read your blog post today, I just had to step in.

In a time where things seem to get swept under the rug and people don't take responsibility for their actions, you went the extra mile to research something you believed to be a mistake. And when you discovered that you had been wrong, you can out and admitted it and gave alternative solutions. What honesty and integrity! We all make mistakes and do things we wish we hadn't, but it's the way we respond afterwards that shows who we are and displays our character. You have a heart for your readers and their health and that outweighs personal 'pride' or 'self-preservation.' And contrary to what it may have seemed like at the time, I'm pretty sure this situation raises the esteem your readers have for you.

You have gone the extra mile out of concern for them and to make sure they have the truth about something. That's a much, much better trait to have than being perfect all the time (this is coming from a fellow girl with the first-born-perfectionist-don't-want-to-let-anyone-down streak). And for me - there are lots of food blogs I follow, but now this one is going to have a special place in my heart because it is human and real and I've formed an attachment. :)


October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTaryn

Taryn, thank you for putting into words what I try to be. I believe in letting the conscience we have been given be our guide. There was no way I could sweep this one under the rug. : ) Sending you a big hug and welcome to my blog! xoLexie

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

There's a therbiotic complete powder probiotic, too. I use that one, it's got more live cultures than the capsule and might be easier to use in yogurt recipes since it's a powder.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Do you know if the Cultures for Health Sourdough starter and Kefir starter also have a gluten or soy base?

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Alisa, yes, they do make that powder and it's a bit more economical. I have continued with the capsules (they are easy to break open) because I open 15 capsules a day for my son's supplement cocktail and grabbing capsules and popping them open has become assembly line for me. xoLexie

October 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Jean, great question. You may want to contact them and ask. I did find this in the comments under Brown Rice Sourdough Starter: "The starter does not contain any soy, nuts, dairy or coconut. It is however produced in a facility that processes dairy and wheat. " So if cross contamination is of concern to you I might look elsewhere ... I know, but where. Ugh. xoLexie

October 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

Lexie, you go above and beyond with your caring and quality of this blog. I am a HUGE fan and admire your research on this subject. Please do not beat yourself help. The bottom line is that all of us are individually responsible for what we place in our bodies and no matter what we read on the internet, we must make those calls to manufacturers and do our homework as processes change.

Your work is amazing and know your army needs you! Keep up the good work!

November 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGratefulfoodie

Caroline ... you bring happy tears to my eyes! THANK YOU for your support and the love. You are so right on. March on I will. xoxoxoxLexie

November 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLexie

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