Confusion about the gluten-free-ness of Ore Ida’s Tater Tots

I was alarmed when I recently saw that on its online page of its gluten-free foods that Ore-Ida/Heinz no longer listed Tater Tots — often a staple of those on a gluten-free diet — as gluten-free.

Indeed, from the web page, here are the list of gluten-free foods:

GLUTEN FREE PRODUCTS
If you suffer from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) you will be pleased to know that the Ore-Ida® Brand offers a wide variety of products that are gluten-free.
Hash Browns UPC CODE:

Ore-Ida® Southern Style Hash Browns (32 oz.)

1312000392

Ore-Ida® Potatoes O’Brien (28 oz.)

1312000469

Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (30 oz.)

1312000833

Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)

1312000862

Ore-Ida® 9 count Golden Patties® (20.25 oz.)

1312000080
The Classics

Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (32 oz.)

1312000258

Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (5 lb.)

1312000278

Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (32 oz.)

1312000286

Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (5 lb.)

1312000291

Ore-Ida® Potato Wedges with Skins (24 oz.)

1312001012

Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (28 oz.)

1312000828

Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.) (Costco only)

1312008564

Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.) (Sam’s only)

1312008572
Extra Crispy  

Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Fast Food FriesTM (26 oz.)

1312001417
Fun Shapes  

Ore-Ida® Pixie Crinkles® (26 oz.)

1312000296

Ore-Ida® Cottage Fries (32 oz.)

1312000377
Seasoned  

Ore-Ida® French Fries (8 lb.) (Sam’s Club only)

1312000647
* Please note that recipes and processes can change from time to time. Therefore, we recommend that you always check the ingredient statement on the label

Unless I’m blind, Tater Tots are not on that list.  (For the record, Ore Ida considers Tater Tots to be in its “Fun Shapes” category.)

It was my theory that since Ore Ida is now making an “extra crispy” line of potato goods, most of which contain actual pure wheat gluten, that perhaps there was some cross-contamination going on in the manufacturing process, leading them to remove Tater Tots from the list.

So, I submitted a question to the website, even though I had to give up practically all of my private information to do so, asking for clarity in the matter.  They were kind enough to respond in about 24 hours with this statement:

Thank you for your interest in Heinz Products. We certainly understand how difficult it can be to find foods that meet the requirements of a restricted diet.

As you requested, the following is a listing of all of our products that do NOT have gluten containing ingredients. If the product you asked about is not on this list, then it does have gluten containing ingredients.

HEINZ PRODUCTS:       
Heinz Ketchup  (All Varieties)
Heinz Organic Ketchup
Heinz One Carb Ketchup 
Heinz No Sodium Added Ketchup
Heinz Hot & Spicy Kick’rs

Lea & Perrins Products– All Varieties
Jack Daniel’s EZ Marinader — Teriyaki Variety
Jack Daniel’s EZ Marinader — Garlic & Herb Variety
Distilled White Vinegar       
Red Wine Vinegar       
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Flavored Vinegar

CLASSICO PASTA SAUCES:       
All Classico Pasta Sauces   

TGI FRIDAY’S SALSA:
Both Mild and Medium Salsa in 16-ounce jar
       
DELIMEX PRODUCTS:       
UPC CODE:       PRODUCT NAME:       
1769600012        Taquitos, 36 ct. Delimex Chicken        
1769600018        Tamales, 12 ct. Delimex Beef       
1769600019        Tamales, 12 ct. Delimex Chicken & Cheese        
1769600020        Taquitos, 24 ct. Smart & Final Beef       
1769600024        Tamales, 6 ct. Delimex Beef        
1769600028        Taquitos, 25 ct. Delimex Beef        
1769600029        Taquitos, 25 ct. Delimex Chicken       
1769600048        Taquitos, 36 ct. Delimex Beef       
1769600095        Taquitos, 12 ct. Delimex Beef       
1769600096        Taquitos, 12 ct. Delimex Chicken        
1769600133        Taquitos, 22 ct. Schwan’s Beef w/ Salsa       
1769600155        Tamales, 15 ct. Costco Beef        
1769600159        Tamales, 20 ct. Delimex Beef, Costco        
1769600180        Taquitos, 60 ct. Delimex Beef        
1769600186        Taquitos, 60 ct. Sam’s Club Beef  
1769600206        Tamales, 2 ct. Trader Joe’s Beef        
1769600207        Tamales, 2 ct. Trader Joe’s Chicken & Cheese       
1769600214        Taquitos, 25 ct. Delimex 3-Cheese       
1769600222        Tamales, 6 ct. Schwan’s Beef        
1769600481        Taquitos, 36 ct. Delimex Beef (Mexico Import)       
1769600500        Taquitos, Delimex Beef / Deli-Pak       
1769600505        Taquitos, Mini, 40 ct. Beef, Snacker Tray w/ salsa       
1769600554        Tamales, Cheese Deli Bulk Pack       
1769600555        Tamales, Chicken Deli Bulk Pack       
1769600556        Tamales, Beef Deli Bulk Pack       
1769600565        Tamales, 20 ct.Beef, Sams Club       
1769600684        Taquitos, 66 ct. Costco Beef       
1769600685        Taquitos, 66 ct. Costco Chicken       
1769601208        Tamales, 2 ct. Trader Joe’s Cheese & Green Chiles       
       
ORE-IDA PRODUCTS: 
UPC CODE:           PRODUCT NAME:        
13120XXXXX-        ALL VARIETIES of Ore-Ida® Tater Tots®
1312000080         Ore-Ida Golden Patties® (9 ct.)       
1312000198         Ore-Ida® Snackin’ Fries ™ (10.5 oz.)       
1312000258         Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (32 oz.)       
1312000278         Ore-Ida® Golden Fries®  (5 lb.)       
1312000286         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (32 oz.)       
1312000291         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (5 lb.)       
1312000296         Ore-Ida® Pixie Crinkles (26 oz.)       
1312000377         Ore-Ida® Cottage Fries (32 oz.)       
1312000392         Ore-Ida® Southern Style Hash Browns (32 oz.)      
1312001417         Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries (26 oz.)
1312000469         Ore-Ida® Potatoes O’Brien (28 oz.)       
1312000647         Ore-Ida® French Fries (8 lb.)       
1312000654         Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)       
1312000801         Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (5 lb)       
1312000809         Ore-Ida® Crunch Time Classics Straight Cut (24 oz.)       
1312000810         Ore-Ida® Crunch Time Classics Crinkle Cut (24 oz.)       
1312000828         Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (28 oz.)       
1312000829         Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (40 oz.)       
1312000833         Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (30 oz.)       
1312000845         Ore-Ida® Deep Fries Crinkle Cuts (24 oz.)       
1312000854         Ore-Ida® Hash Browns (5 lb.)       
1312000862         Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)       
1312001012         Ore-Ida® Potato Wedges with Skins (24 oz.)       
1312001190         Ore-Ida® Steak Fries (3.75 lb.)       
1312008564         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles®  (8 lb.)       
1312008565         Ore-Ida® Golden Fries®  (8 lb.)       
1312008572         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.)       
                          
Again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us.   If you need further information, feel free to call us at this toll-free number (1-800-255-5750).  Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 6:00 PM, Eastern Time.

That list does show that Tater Tots are gluten-free!!

I did just call the toll-free number listed, and the customer service rep told me that the website does not have up-to-date information, but that the list above is the current authority.  Hm.  That’s a little confusing;  it’d be great if they were consistently providing identical information to all consumers.  BUT, I am glad that they are gluten-free.

Sheesh.

I also find it very interesting that Lea & Perrins is now listed as gluten-free.  It at least used to be made with malt vinegar, which is not g.f.  Recently, I checked a label at the store, and it just listed “vinegar.”  Maybe they’re using distilled now.

Also of note is the fact that many Delimex products are gluten-free, as are Costco Taquito items, and the fact that, apparently, Heinz makes the tamales sold at Trader Joe’s.  I thought virtually all of T.J.’s stuff came from small producers.  I guess not.

Anyways.  I guess all of we Tater Tot eaters who must maintain a g.f. diet can breathe a sigh of relief.

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About Karen Joy

I'm a homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 17, 15 and 12 years old, and three girls: 8 and 5 years old, and our newest, born in June 2013. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I am a natural childbirth advocate and fledgling birthing class instructor. I'm a CSA coordinator for a local organic farm, Crooked Sky Farms. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 2, 2007, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Gluten-Free Blogfriends and Resources. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for this info! I recently found out I may have celiac disease and am in the process of going to go get tested. It has been a great trial to find products that are ACTUALLY gluten free. It’s really hard because the safest way for me to eat is to just cook everything myself….. but being a working mom, I don’t always have time. It’s great to get little bits of info here and there on items that I can purchase from the store. Thank You!

  2. The Ore-Ida tater tots I recently purchased are actually marked “Gluten Free” right on the package (albeit in very small print, almost in the seam fold at the bottom). That was nice, as it helps take the guesswork out of it!!

    Heinz doesn’t list their Delimex products on their list of Gluten-Free foods on the website anymore. I wonder whether they changed the ingredients. I guess I’ll have to go to the store and read a box myself.

  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I WAS VERY UNCERTAIN REGARDING THIS MATTER..I APPRECIATE YOUR TIME TO INVESTIGATE FOR YOURSELF..BECAUSE IT ASSISTED WITH THE REST OF US!!! I AM PREGNANT WITH CELIAC AND WAS CRAVING TATER TOTS SO, KNOWING THIS REALLY HELPS TO EASE WHAT IS ALREADY A DIFFICULT PROCESS OF FINDING FOOD WHILE PREGNANT. ;o)

  4. Some friends had the onion tater tots and it says gluten-free on the package.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks for all the info & what you went thru to get it! I appreciate your sharing it; saving the rest of us a lot of effort :-)

  1. Pingback: How to find out if a food is gluten-free « Only Sometimes Clever

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