Namaste Foods: Are the products really Corn Free?
Before we discuss Namaste Foods, we need to discuss the term Corn Free, and how it is used with regard to consumer products.
Sometimes a company will claim an item is Corn Free, because they think the finished product is free of corn, or “the corn protein has been removed.” For example, when I contacted Nature’s Sunshine about their Nutra-Calm, I was told:
“ … the Vitamin C ingredients are made from corn, but they do not contain any corn proteins and should not pose no risk to people with corn allergies”.
To be clear, that statement is not correct, and if an item is made from corn, those who are allergic should not consume it.
In other cases, corn is used in the processing or creation of an item. When that happens, the item may be claimed as corn free, when in fact there are remnants of corn because of the packaging.
And sometimes, companies are just confused. Edward & Sons has the following Special Diet Concerns information on their site:
“CORN & NUTS: There are many consumers who have serious allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, and all kinds of nuts. None of our products contain any nuts. We also do not use any corn or corn by-products in any of our products or in our facility at all.”
That’s a great statement to make, but given the Product Allergen Information chart also provide, which labels where corn IS used (14 items plus the forgotten item of their organic cornstarch), well, I don’t have anything to say really. They made my argument for me.
Now, back to my original question. Are Namaste Foods, Corn Free?
If you aren’t yet aware, when I use the term Corn Free, I use in the sense of typical consumer. That means, I expect the item to not have had any contact with corn, or corn-sourced ingredients. The wording on the Namaste Foods FAQ page is this:
“I am ordering your product but wondered about the XANTHAN GUM. Your ad says corn-free. Doesn't xanthan gum have corn in it or a by product?
Namaste Foods uses xanthan gum that is NOT derived from corn or corn sources. It is certified by the manufacturer to be free of all
carbohydrates including corn, wheat and soy.'”
It’s wonderful when companies provide full disclosure on their site, providing the source of the ingredients, but since Namaste Foods only mentions what Xanthan Gum doesn’t come from, they leave the question open as to what it does come from. I contacted them on May 30th with that very simple question. I asked them the source of their Xanthan Gum.
This is part of the Namaste Foods response:
“Namaste Foods uses xanthan gum that is not derived from a corn or corn sources. It is certified by the manufacturer to be free of all carbohydrates including corn, wheat and soy. Xanthan gum is traditionally grown on a carbohydrate source however after all the processes are complete there is no residue of the source left. It is also certified by third party agencies.”
The response goes on to mention they’ve never received a complaint from anyone who has a corn allergy, and lists their products that do not contain Xanthan Gum.
The missing part to this exchange, was the answer to my question.
Since part of the response states again, their Xanthan Gum does not come from corn, I replied, and asked if the Xanthan Gum comes from Wheat or Soy.
“This question comes up a lot but after consulting with our owner
I cannot give you more specifics. I have given you the most accurate information I possibly can and if you or your readers still have doubts, it is best to avoid our products. You may wish to consult a food science lab if you would like more technical information regarding how xanthan gum is processed and what implications there may or may not be for people with food allergies. As I have said- no one has come forward that has had any problems with our products due to the corn issue.”
Still no answer. However, Wikipedia does a great job of answering the question about Xanthan Gum and it’s source.
“Xanthan gum may be derived from a variety of source products that are themselves common allergens, such as corn, wheat, or soy. As such, persons with known sensitivities or allergies to food products are advised to avoid foods including generic xanthan gum or first determine the source for the xanthan gum before consuming the food.”
Namaste Foods is unable, or unwilling, to provide the source of their Xanthan Gum. I have previously recommended them as a corn free food, but I will no longer do so. Instead, I recommend anyone with a corn allergy (or soy, or wheat) to avoid their products unless they are able to tell you the source of their Xanthan Gum.