Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Celiac.com 04/12/2011 - Paul Seelig was found guilty today of 23 counts of obtaining property by false pretense after a two-week trial in Durham, NC. The jury found that he illegally represented baked goods as gluten-free, but they actually contained gluten. Mr. Seelig received an 11 year prison sentence for his crimes, which included the sickening of more than two dozen customers, one of whom had a premature delivery that was possibly caused by her involuntary gluten consumption.
Seelig's company, Great Specialty Products, purchased regular gluten-containing items from companies in New Jersey such as Costco, and then repackaged them in his home kitchen and sold them as "gluten-free" at the NC State Fair, various street fairs and via home delivery. Seelig claimed that his baked items were homemade in his company's 150,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, and that his company raised its own grains on its 400-acre farm. High gluten levels were detected by both customers and investigators in Seelig's supposedly gluten-free bread, even though he claimed that he tested his bread weekly for gluten and found none. Mr. Seelig could not produce any of his test results at trial.