There are plenty of blogs and websites out there with lists of which traditional holiday foods are safely gluten free, but there is one item that may be found on the lists which is not. For the past several years, Costco has carried Kirkland brand spiral hams which were labeled gluten free. This year I said I would take ham to our church Thanksgiving Potfaith, but when I went to Costco to buy it, I found there were no Kirkland hams. There was a guy from the meat department stocking shelves, so I asked him about it. He told me that Farmland had always produced those hams, they were now being packaged with the Farmland label, and they are now boneless. I asked him if they are still gluten free (didn’t have my glasses on, figured he would know), and he said the representative he spoke to assured him they are. So I bought my ham.
Fast forward to Saturday evening when I was looking at the ham, determining my plan of attack for the next morning. I was looking it over and realized that it did not say gluten free anywhere on the label. I thought that was odd since it had on the Kirkland label, so I went to Farmland’s website and gave it the usual gluten-free shake down. My discovery both disappointed and pleased. In the FAQ’s, under Ingredients, I found the following answer to the question, “Do Farmland products contain gluten?”
Spice formulations from our suppliers and secondary suppliers can change from time to time and still be correct under USDA labeling requirements. Because of this, along with the possibility of cross-contamination from the secondary suppliers to our own main ingredients, we cannot absolutely guarantee that our products will be gluten-free.
This shocked me because I was planning on eating that ham at church the next day and now I would have to come up with another type of meat to eat in a hurry (I knew I should have said turkey instead of ham! I made some chicken. It turned out delicious, and I will be having turkey on Thursday).
This pleased me because it indicated that Farmland finally figured out the serious and difficult nature of avoiding cross-contamination and came clean with the public about it. I don’t know when this happened, but I have to think that they made the decision to stop the Kirkland label for this reason. I could pursue this to find out for sure, but I don’t believe I will.