Ian’s Alphatots… Gluten Free??

While I usually like to prepare more healthy, whole foods, I’m a working wife and mom to a very active 7 year old. So on those days where it’s pick up from school and go-go-GO until dinner (karate, soccer, homework, play dates, music lessons… phew!) , sometimes I “cheat” and have fast, premade meals in the freezer to save time. Like last night we got home from practice at 6:45 hot, tired and sweaty and ready to eat! Since my husband was out of town, it was just my son and me. So I needed to save some time and pop something into the toaster oven to cook while I gave him a much needed bath. (Okay, at what age can you trust your kid to actually CLEAN themselves in the bath, not just whip a washcloth across their extremities without actually cleaning anything?! But I digress…)

So one of my go-to brands of simple kid-friendly food is Ian’s Red Banner allergen-free line of gluten-free, dairy-free foods: chicken nuggets, fish sticks, onion rings and -the subject of this post – Alphatots, the alphabet shaped french fries. Not the healthiest foods, but not bad either. Now, Ian’s says on their website that they have a very strict allergen policy. And while we’ve had the Gluten Free Fish Sticks and Chicken Nuggets many times and I’ve never have any reactions, I have to say that I’m concerned about the Alphatots GF status. Now for the third time in a row (from the same family sized bag…? Maybe, not sure…) I’ve had a pretty serious reaction after eating these Alphatots. And it’s not an allergic reaction (I actually took a Benadryll last night in the midst of the reaction, just to test and be sure that it wasn’t some other odd allergy that I have yet to identify, but no, there was NO relief from Benadryll).  So within an hour of eating I started to have my classic “Oh no! I just ingested gluten!” symptoms.


All that from one ingestion of a “gluten free” product. It couldn’t have been any cross contamination: we don’t allow ANY gluten in the house any more. And the timing of the onset of symptoms says that it can only be one of the two Ian’s foods, the Alphatots or the Nuggets. And the Red Line Chicken Nuggets have never given me a problem before.

Oh! I know what I’ll do!! I’ll try one of those ELISA gluten tests that I purchased at the GIG Conference to test for the presence of gluten in the remaining Alphatots!!!! At more than 10 bucks a pop, I’ve been hesitant to actually use them. But this is a perfect thing to test it on. I’ll do it this weekend with my son and videotape it, so you can all see the results. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do: I’ll take a negative and make it into something positive. Which is why I do this blog in the first place: if I have to be gluten-free, I may as well share what I learn and so more positives can come out of what’s not always easy….

So, have you had any experience with Ian’s Alphatots? Or is it just me… I’d love to know if I’m not alone! :)

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3 Responses to “Ian’s Alphatots… Gluten Free??”

  1. Kaci 06/19/2014 at 11:22 PM #

    Hey, just checking to see if you ended up testing these? We are headed off to camp for the first time and I would love to avoid making dozens of gf mini corn dogs and just buy Ian’s… I just don’t know what else it could be if not gluten.


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  2. Kaci 01/09/2013 at 5:34 PM #

    Did you ever do this test? My son has a reaction EVERY time he eats food from Ian’s and we cannot figure out what from. Last night was a TOTAL blowout which HAD to have been induced by gluten.

    I am interested to see what you found or if others have problems with Ian’s products. Thanks!

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    • noi 01/09/2013 at 6:08 PM #

      Hi Kaci

      No, unfortunately I couldn’t find the test strip thingies, so I never did the test on the Alphatots (which I STILL refuse to eat because I’ve been burned so many times!).
      But I think I’ll buy some right now online and find out once and for all. ‘Cause I’m also suspecting a GIG certified product, the new Rudi’s Wraps, that I ate earlier this week are contaminated. So I’ve been thinking about getting some already. This just gives me the push I need to actually do it now. (:
      I’ll let you know how it goes.
      Thanks for sharing!

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