Friday, April 15, 2011

Justice Is Served!

I know that many of you have been following the story of Paul Seelig and the accusations that he knowingly sold gluten-based products as "gluten-free."

However, for those of you unfamiliar let me provide you with some background information.

Paul Seelig owned a company known as Great Specialty Products that was based in Durham County, North Carolina.  He sold an assortment of baked goods that he claimed to be gluten free.  He told customers that the gluten free grains were grown on a farm that he owned and that the bread was tested weekly to make sure that it was free of gluten.

After many customers started to fall ill after consuming his products, inspectors tested his baked goods for gluten.  It was found that the products contained extremely high levels of gluten.

Many were wondering if Paul Seelig would face any consequences for his actions as there is currently no federal standard for what is considered gluten free and labeling is completely voluntary.

This is one of the many reasons why the 1in133 campaign is so important.  If you haven't already signed the petition to create a standard for gluten free labeling then please do so now.

In court, workers from Great Specialty Products testified that Paul Seelig bought bread from commercial bakers and simply repackaged it with his own gluten free labeling.  He then sold these baked goods at the state fair, street fairs, and via home delivery.

Paul Seelig insisted during the trial that his products were gluten free and that he got them from an Amish baker in Ohio.  However, this baker had no phone, no street and/or email address and he always only paid in cash, so there were no payment records.  Seelig was also asked to provide records of the tests that he supposedly conducted weekly to make sure his products were gluten free but he was unable to furnish any of these records.

At the close of the trial earlier this week, Paul Seelig was found guilty of 23 counts of obtaining property by false pretense in Wake Superior Court of North Carolina.  He was sentenced to at least 9 and as many as 11 years in prison.

Hopefully this case will send a message to food companies and restaurants about the seriousness of labeling a product gluten-free.

1 comment:

  1. What are the causes of the celiac? I mean having a gluten intolerance? Thank you so much!