I have blogged
about Crunchmaster Crackers before*, but truth be told, I never tried them until last month when I was sent free samples by the company.
The Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers
come in three flavors and I was sent the White Cheddar as a sample. I did try eat some of these crackers even though "oat fiber" is an ingredient. These White Cheddar Multi-grain crackers and all Crunchmaster products are certified gluten-free, but I usually make it a habit of not eating oats at all. In all honesty, I didn't actually notice this "oat fiber" ingredient until after I already ate a few crackers. This was careless on my part since I usually obsess over ingredients before trying anything new. The website and the packaging all said "Certified Gluten-Free" and I took their word on it. I hoped for the best but expected the worst, luckily I had no noticeable oat-based reaction.
Even though these crackers tasted good, I will not buy them again due to this ingredient. Please note, my choice to not eat oats is a personal preference
after more than thirty years of never eating oats. Many people have no problem whatsoever with "gluten-free oats" but I choose not to eat them. This is not a reflection on Crunchmaster products, but again is my personal choice. I have lived without oats my entire life and don't feel that I am missing anything by not eating gluten-free oats. My PR contact for Crunchmaster did check with the parent company and said "that they use a certified gluten free oat fiber that is a bit more expensive, but worth it to Crunchmaster as it adds more fiber and nutrition to their products." More expensive doesn't put me at ease, but at least they are using a certified oat fiber in their product.
What I did find really interesting about this oat question was the confusing information on the Crunchmaster website. On the "Go Gluten Free
" page, the very first sentence says "Gluten is a natural protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats." But on the "Grown For You" page, the middle paragraph says "Several studies have shown that amaranth seed, like oats
, may be of benefit for those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease." To someone new to the gluten-free diet, this could be really confusing especially if their doctor told them to avoid oats. I think Crunchmaster should address the "oat issue" on their website and be really open and honest about their use of gluten-free oats.
On the flip side, Crunchmaster does address the question of certification on their FAQ page
. They state "All Crunchmaster products are Certified Gluten Free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization. GFCO standards are met through a rigorous process of third-party audits and frequent product and ingredient testing at the manufacturing facility. The GFCO sets strict standards that finished products may not contain more than 10 ppm gluten, twice as strict as the proposed FDA and Codex definitions for gluten free. Every production run of our Crunchmaster products are tested prior to shipment for added assurance that they meet our high standards."
Quite honestly, I don't like to be so confused when trying to get information about the products I am eating. From a non-oat eating point of view, I think Crunchmaster could improve their FAQ section by specifically addressing gluten-free oats vs regular oats. Then again, this is one of those controversial topics in the gluten-free community so it might have been a business decision to specifically not address the nature of the oats. Again, as a life-long Celiac this is something I want to pay attention to in ALL of the products I eat.
I also was sent a box of 7 Ancient Grains Hint of Sea Salt crackers. These were good and I felt much more at ease eating these crackers because the ingredients were much more simple and had no oats. The ingredients are "brown rice flour, potato starch, safflower oil, sorghum flour, quinoa seeds, sesame seeds, millet, flax seeds, amaranth seeds, and sea salt." They are all easily identifiable gluten-free seeds and grains. I ate these plain but could see these pairing really well with both cheeses and dips. I would buy these again and could see myself serving these at a party to all of my gluten-eating and non-gluten-eating friends. They are definitely one of those cross-population types of snacks.
Overall, although the Crunchmaster crackers were good the confusion about the oats left me less than impressed. I do understand these crackers are widely popular with the gluten-free community and are even advertised on the NFCA
website but I will probably choose to stay away until some of the website and possibly packaging verbiage is clarified.
* As a new rule here at Gluten-Free Fun, I will only blog about products and recipes that I have actually personally tried and consumed. I recently learned that some gluten-free bloggers never even taste the recipes they are posting or the products they are "reviewing". This baffles me so much. How can you give honest opinions when you don't taste your own food? Going forward ALL of my reviews and recipes will cross my gluten-free lips before being posted to this site. I want to remain an honest and integrity-driven blog and in no way want to deceive my readers or even worse, post an untruthful review. Thank you.
Labels: Crunchmaster, oats, review