Phyllis Kessler, President of South FL Celiac Support, Group Slams Maureen and “Gluten Dude”

As many of our newsletter subscribers know, I posted some information from Gluten Free Watchdog last month about GF Cheerios and why GF Watchdog feels that they are not safe; due test results and the way they are testing them. Today, I sent my final thoughts about it in my newsletter; after I read GF Watchdog’s final analysis. I stated my opinion as to why I felt they are not safe and also gave a link to Gluten Dude’s blog post as well, because I like to give my readers other opinions when I can.

Below is what I said and the link to Gluten Dude’s post. So in the interest of showing both sides of this, I have posted the incredibly rude and insulting email that I got directly from Phyllis Kessler, President of the South FL Celiac Support Group. I am guessing she is not happy with me or Gluten Dude; you be the judge!

My Article in Newsletter sent 9/23 at 5:39pm:

GF Cheerios are NOT Safe for Celiacs! s
A month or so ago I told you about Gluten Free Watchdog and their testing report on GF Cheerios. Well, I got her final report a few weeks ago and they are not safe! I won’t eat them and neither will Gluten Dude, so I have put in a link to Gluten Dude’s blog about this, “Why are we celebrating GF Cheerios?”  I like it when you can hear it from someone, other than me, every once in a while.  Basically, General Mills is using regular oats, not gluten free oats, and they are attempting to clean them mechanically themselves but they are still contaminated with wheat and barley!  Some batches are testing ok and some are testing above 20ppm. There have been many complaints of Celiacs getting sick and several customers have told me that they have gotten sick.  Check out what “Gluten Dude” has to say about it!

This is the email I got at 6:18pm from Phyllis Kessler:

On Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:18 PM, Phyllis <> wrote:
This hate campaign really needs to stop!
As a celiac I have had zero reaction.
I have over 3500 followers and not one
has had anything bad to say.
No clue why you or anyone else is
getting sick. Ever think it was from the
milk that you’re having or maybe
you’re overeating!
Sent from my iPhone
Here is My Response emailed directly back to Phyllis Kessler:

Maureen Burke <>

To Phyllis
Today at 7:01 PM

3 thoughts on “Phyllis Kessler, President of South FL Celiac Support, Group Slams Maureen and “Gluten Dude”

  1. Geez Louise! What in the world could have prompted such a rude, off-the-wall, insulting response to your newsletter post, I have no idea. The fact that some batches test over 20 ppm is proof positive that these products cannot be trusted. Who wants to play “Gluten Roulette”?! For those with CD, that is just foolhardy.

    I am furious every time I see the stupid commercial for the Cheerios where they brag about getting to offer GF food. Not going in my shopping cart, my house, or my digestive system!

    And as for the email, Miss Kessler, I consider it completely inappropriate for you to communicate in such a manner, given your position.


  2. Sometimes emotions obviously get the better of people. My 14 year old son is a Celiac, diagnosed 9 years ago, will not be eating these. But my husband has the gene and no sign of the disease and is eating them. He is 57 and in great health and these are one of his favorites. We don’t treat them like safe GF food since we really don’t know at this point if we have a lucky box or an unlucky box in the lot of products being tested.

    Nobody is attacking General Mills. They are just highlighting the issue with the lack of appropriate testing to know that each box is safe. While there are other ingredients in Cheerios too that people “could” be reacting to, it is highly unlikely since the testing process still needs to be better and the oats being purchased need to be certified GF. Although that is NOT a guarantee that a celiac will not react, since so many can not eat oats. My son is one of those, so again, Cheerios won’t be an option for him.

    As a leader in the celiac community in FL, it would seem to me that logic rather than emotion should be involved in commenting. I am sure that you have been told you attract more flies with honey then you will with vinegar.

    As an HR professional for over 25 years, I see so many of these attacks online. It’s as if it’s okay to be mean to people online and bully them for their opinion, sharing a fact, or sharing an “unbiased” review. I, too, have friends that work for General Mills. While I love my friends, I love my celiac family members too, so keeping them safe is priority one.

    I do think there is certainly a more professional way to agree to disagree or to express that you don’t agree. Making personal attacks never works.

    I wish that General Mills would concede that they need to tighten up their testing in a manner that works and that they would purchase certified GF oats. Part of that decision is definitely allowing some of the profit to be cut in to and that’s a hard sell to the finance department in any organization.

    Since we don’t sit in the board room at General Mills, I don’t know if the thought of a product costing more and netting less profit, is the major challenge for the sensible change… or if there is really a family member at General Mills that is a celiac and didn’t react and they are using that as their science behind the product. I don’t know… I just know until there is a better way to tell if these are safe or not, my celiac son will not be eating them.


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