Product Review: Barbara's Honey Rice & Multigrain Puffins
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Feb 15 2010

Product Review: Barbara's Honey Rice & Multigrain Puffins

I have been enjoying Barbara’s Honey Rice Puffins for well over a year. They remind me a lot of Quaker Oat Squares that I can no longer eat.  I happened upon an ad a couple weeks back about a new version of Puffins – Multigrain.  They said “gluten-free” on the box, so I quickly went to investigate the ingredients:

Ingredients: Corn Flour, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Brown Rice Flour, Whole Oat Flour, Fructan (NutraFlora® Natural Dietary Fiber), Oat Hull Fiber, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Natural Caramel Color, Sea Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Iron, Annatto, Vitamin D, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols [Soy]).

I started to browse around the rest of Barbara’s site, as I knew that the Peanut Butter Puffins, Original Puffins and Cinnamon were wheat-free, but not gluten-free.  Boy, was I confused!!  It seemed to me that the only ingredient on the wheat-free puffins that would be suspect would be the oats as well.  I went ahead & sent an email to Barbara’s to get some clarification on why the Multigrain would be gluten-free.  Had they used certified gluten-free oats in the Multigrain Puffins?  Here is the response that I received:

Hi Kimberly,

Thanks for your inquiry and comments about the oat flour in our new Multigrain Puffins.

Barbara’s Multigrain Puffins contain only “pure” oats, which are certified uncontaminated.

As you may know, for many years those adhering to a gluten-free diet omitted oats due to cross-contamination with wheat, rye and barley. Barbara’s commitment to a true wheat-gluten free product led us to purchase “pure” oats.

These oats cost almost four times as much as conventional oats but the result is a truly wheat gluten-free oat. Our oat products are certified by the Gluten-free Certification Organization (GFCO) and tested by ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). Further, our production team follows strict protocols to make and package Multigrain Puffins to avoid possible cross-contamination. We test every batch through a third party accredited lab. No product leaves our facility until we get back the clean test results. By ensuring quality at each step, Barbara’s Bakery is able to guarantee a safe, delicious and nutritious gluten-free cereal.

What do authoritative organizations say about pure oats?

Recent studies show that pure oats can be safely eaten in a gluten-free food plan. Several authoritative organizations are now allowing for oats in a gluten-free diet:

  • In April 2008, the American Dietetic Association’s hot topic on the inclusion of oats in a gluten-free diet stated, “although oats contain the gluten protein, avenin, research shows that pure oats in moderation (1 cup, cooked) are safe for most people with CD (celiac disease), however, most oats and oat products sold can be cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains.”
  • The American Dietetics Association’s Nutrition Care Manual patient education materials state, “In the past oats were believed to be harmful to persons with celiac disease. Based on recent research, moderate amounts of uncontaminated oats are now considered safe to include in a gluten-free nutrition prescription. However, commercially available oats in the United States may be contaminated with small amounts of wheat, barley, or rye.”
  • Health Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) conclude that the “majority of people with celiac disease can tolerate moderate amounts of pure oats.”

I was also given a list of gluten-free products made by Barbara’s that can be viewed here.

I was able to find a box of the Multigrain Puffins at my Whole Foods on Monday.  I was not disappointed!  These Puffins taste even more like my beloved Quaker Oat Squares!  I believe that I like them even better than the Honey Rice Puffins, though I won’t stop eating those.  I love that both the Honey Rice & Multigrain Puffins don’t get soggy quickly in milk. I usually use Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze on my cereal. The Multigrain Puffins were more expensive at Whole Foods than the Honey Rice Puffins.   They were $4.50+/box and I believe the Honey Rice Puffins were under $4. 00.

Anyone else out there try the new Multigrain Puffins yet? What did you think?

Article Written by:

Kimberly Bouldin is a gluten-free wife, runner & blogger with two children in Columbus, Ohio. After her celiac diagnosis in 2006, she has made it her mission to embrace an entirely new approach to nutrition in a gluten-free world, exploring options that run the gamut from "made from scratch" homemade bread to sampling and reviewing the gluten-free prepared foods that are continuously being introduced to the market. While navigating the waters of becoming gluten-free, Kim shares her experiences and passes along valuable product reviews in addition to helping other moms of celiac kids develop healthy menus that are kid-friendly and palatable. Kimberly is a valuable resource for those who are newly diagnosed, as well as for the more seasoned gluten-free veterans. Follow Kim on Twitter!

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Comments

  1. Victor Dolcourt says:

    Kimberly,

    In Cupertino California Multigrain Puffins are $3.90 at Whole Foods. Neither Cupertino nor Whole Foods are known for low prices. I tried them, and although the product is good, I prefer flake type cereal. So these Puffins are no on the shopping list. Rice Puffins are not to my liking, so you score one more than I. Natures’ Path corn flakes and Mesa Sunrise are favorites as are Kix (not GF but contain no gluten ingredients), corn chex and rice chex. This definitely proves that good food is only a matter of taste.

    Thank you for all of your hard work and your blogging.

  2. Tiffany Janes says:

    Victor – I agree that I don’t care for any type of puffed cereal generally but I might try these because I’d like to have a cold cereal that contains oats. Now I only have oatmeal during the colder months. It’s much improved my health in so many ways and I’m so glad to be one of the lucky 95% of people with celiac that can enjoy oats.

  3. Hi Victor,

    I also like the Mesa Sunrise Flakes & Nature’s Path Corn Flakes. I prefer the Puffins for a cereal that I grab by the hand & snack on as I go. :)

    Thanks for reading.

    Kim

  4. Anne Steib says:

    I used to eat Puffins all the time pre-GF, I will have to look for these, thanks!!

  5. Tiffany Janes says:

    The new pretzels from Snyder’s are gluten-free and they are processed on equipment that also processes wheat. They test at acceptable levels for people on the gluten-free diet. GIG approved the product as safe. It is possible for things made on wheat lines to be made safely gluten-free. Everyone should choose what to eat and what to avoid, of course. Regarding your question about oats, that would be a question for the company ;)

  6. GF in Chicago says:

    On the box it says that there may be cross contamination from other foods such as WHEAT due to sharing equipment. How can they guarantee no cross contamination under such circumstances?

    Also, your quotes above say no more than 1 cup of GF oats… in moderation. That is not an all-out endorsement of GF oats for celiacs. Shouldn’t the cereal state such a warning on its label?

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