Rice Dream Gluten Free? Hum….

Since I’m allergic to dairy (lucky me…I have a true allergy to casein, the protein in milk) I have to find other milks to use in my cereal and homemade baked goods. When I first found out about this dairy allergy I automatically turned to soy milk, but had trouble with it. Turns out many soy milks actually contain casein! But I won’t go into details about that since this is a gluten blog, not a casein blog….

So then I tried rice milk: Rice Dream in particular ’cause it’s so readily available. But I had trouble with that too. So I looked it up and saw it was vegan, that there was no casein. Okay…. But then why the icky reaction? It says in bold red letters “Gluten Free” right on the front of the carton! And the ingredients don’t have any cautionary gluten items…. But could there be gluten in Rice Dream Rice Milk?

Hum… I smell a challenge! Let the research begin!

So I searched and crawled and emailed the manufacturer (several times) … And found out that while there are no gluten ingredients IN Rice Dream rice milk, they actually use a barely enzyme to manufacture Rice Dream Rice Milk. The manufacturer, Hain Celestial, says that the enzyme is subsequently removed in the manufacturing process and discarded after it’s use. They state that this renders the remaining product Gluten Free. But perhaps this is why I react as though I’m ingesting gluten: perhaps there are trace amounts of gluten left in Rice Dream Rice Milk! Hain states that they test all products labeled as “gluten-free” to ensure they contain less than 10 parts per million, which is below the international standards of 20 parts per million. Which is great, but what if I react to less than 10 PPM? But that’s a subject of another post….

All I know is I can’t tolerate Rice Dream Milk, so something in it isn’t good for me. Have you ever had a gluten reaction with Rice Dream Rice Milk? I’d love to know if it’s just me or if anyone that’s really sensitive to gluten could have a reaction and should avoid it. Thanks for sharing your story in the “Leave a Reply” section below. :)

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5 Responses to “Rice Dream Gluten Free? Hum….”

  1. Mae 12/16/2012 at 9:03 PM #

    Even though Hain CLAIMS their rice beverage product is gluten-free, it is NOT. Since I changed from So Delicious coconut milk to Hain’s Rice Dream rice milk I have had increasingly horrific pain in my upper right flank, low-grade fever, terrible fatigue, and horrible diarrhea for the last six months. My body was acting like I had been glutened. I have spent months trying to figure out what I was eating that had gluten in it. The answer was: nothing. Apparently, I was drinking it.

    Two days ago, I did a Google search for “Rice Dream rice milk gluten” and found many celiac forums and Celiac Disease experts cautioning against this brand of rice milk. Many people have written online in celiac forums about how they react badly to Rice Dream rice milk. When I started using Rice Dream rice milk, I had checked out Hain’s website to make sure that Rice Dream was gluten free before purchasing it. They said it was.

    They lie – and the FDA allows this lie.

    Hain uses a barley enzyme in the beginning process of making the milk. Hain is lying when they say on their site: “Is Rice Dream Beverage a gluten free product? Yes. Although Rice Dream Beverage is processed using a barley enzyme, the barley enzyme is discarded after use. The final beverage might contain a minute residual amount (less than .002%) of barley protein.” They state that they use it and then “throw it out.” But apparently it is still in the rice milk no matter what they say because I have reacted strongly to it. In fact, once the barley enzyme is in the rice milk, how in the world can it be separated out?

    Hain also says that any gluten that might be in their product is below the FDA threshold of 20 ppm. But the problem is that the commercial tests for gluten contamination have some difficulty detecting hordein (the type of gluten protein found in barley) when the hordein has been broken down into smaller pieces or protein fragments.

    It is also possible that there is not enough residual gluten left in the product for testing to detect (at least not with current tests), but there is plenty of gluten in Rice Dream rice milk for our bodies to detect it and be damaged by it, especially in people who tend to be very sensitive to even trace amounts of gluten.

    More and more people do not trust the Rice Dream beverage – and they do indeed react like I have reacted. In fact, I drank the Rice Dream rice milk long enough to do further damage to my duodenum. It could take months and months to get over this glutening episode.

    One would think that Hain would be more concerned about the dangers of gluten (and celiac disease) and not sell products that are made with anything that ever contained gluten. I will never buy Hain’s rice milk again or any of their products for that matter because I cannot trust them. And I will join others in spreading information all over the internet about the gluten dangers in Rice Dream rice milk.

    Please do consider what I have said and do not trust what Hain claims their rice milk to be (gluten-free) because it is not.

    The FDA is as much to blame for my glutening as Hain is. The FDA is too lax in what they allow in gluten-free products. 20 ppm is way too high for many Celiacs like myself. Celiac Disease is serious. A teensy tiny bit will make some of us truly suffer. Printing gluten free on a product that has even a smidge of gluten can be toxic for someone like me.

    I have been off the Rice Dream for 2 days. Already the pain is subsiding and I am feeling a bit better.

    I am so angry at Hain, I could spit nails!

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    • noi 12/17/2012 at 12:33 PM #

      Oh, I SOOOO feel your pain Mae! Yeah, Rice Dream is one of those products that I hope gets slammed when the FDA FINALLY cracks down on the labeling regulations for “Gluten Free.” (I’m right there with you on the 20 PPM being too high too!!) There are so many manufacturers out there that are jumping on the Gluten Free bandwagon, labeling products GF that simply are NOT, just because it’s a popular and profitable diet trend. The problem is that for people like us, who aren’t doing it because it’s trendy or a fad diet to loose weight, is that if we eat these contaminated foods we’re going to pay with days of sickness and misery every time we consume one of these unregulated products. And we most likely won’t know what’s causing it, because as far as we know, we did our due diligence and the manufacturer has ensured us that the product is gluten free.
      We’re basically living during the era of the Gluten Free Wild West – anything goes until the slow moving FDA gets to regulating (at less than 20 PPM!) what “Gluten Free” really means.
      And in my opinion, Jain is one of the worst offenders of having gluten-contaminated products labeled as gluten-free. I refuse to use any of their Spectrum oils because of an unbelievably similar experience to the one you describe. And I’ve had reactions to their Bearitos and Arrowhead Mills products too.
      Hain has their own little red and white “Gluten Free” label that they put on all their “gluten free” products (notice the sarcastic quotes around the supposed “gluten free”). I’ve learned over the years to be very wary that label. If I see it, I know to do even MORE research into the product, to go further than normal with my due diligence. So I completely know what you mean about wanting to spit nails. I’m right there with you!!!
      Well, I’m sorry that happened to you. But I’m glad you found the sneaky little culprit and that now you can feel better with every day that you get further from Rice Dream.

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  2. Suzette 08/16/2012 at 10:57 PM #

    Hi, my daughter and I just found your site today, looking for some restaurant info. Have you looked into Vances DariFree potato milk? they claim to be GFCF and soy free as well. taste wise I like it best, and has no vanilla flavor, which is a problem in cooking savory foods. It can be made up in a whole pitcher or smaller amounts for recipes. and it can be made thicker to imitate whole milk or cream in a recipe, which I find incredibly helpful. rice milk is great for cereal but not for recipes like that! http://www.gfcf-foods.com/ Good luck!

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    • noi 12/17/2012 at 12:39 PM #

      Oooh! I miss milk – breakfast is just so hard without it. And I’ve yet to find an alternative that I can tolerate (well, I can have little bits of Almond Milk when I bake, but that’s it).
      I just checked out the site link and am going to see if I can find it somewhere locally…
      Thanks for the tip, Suzette!!

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  3. Marsha 01/06/2012 at 7:09 PM #

    Hi Noi
    We met at the GIG Conference in Orlando. I read your article and you are quite a detective.
    Why don’t you use Almond Milk for your cereal? You can buy it or make it. I would be happy to send you the directions how to make a nut milk if you would like to make your own “milk”. I like doing that and then I know exactly what I am consuming.
    Cheers and Happy Gluten Free New Year,

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