What is the Gluten Content of Foods Sold as Gluten-free?
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
Celiac.com 12/02/2013 - There really hasn't been too much research into gluten levels of products labeled and sold as 'gluten-free in the U.S. A team of researchers recently set out to try to get an idea of gluten levels in food being labeled and sold as 'gluten-free.'
The good news is that that vast majority of gluten-free foods sampled in their small study were, in fact, gluten-free, and many registered detectable gluten levels far below the 20 ppm allowed by law.
The research team tested three different samples of 112 separate products, for a total of 336 packages tested. They tested each sample twice, for a total of 672 extractions.
Of the 112 products tested, 36 products (32%) were certified gluten-free by either the Gluten Free Certification Organization (32 products) or the Celiac Sprue Association (4 products). Only four products (i.e., bread, hot cereal, tortilla, cookie) from three manufacturers tested at or above 20 ppm gluten. Three of these products were not certified gluten-free; one product was certified gluten-free.
While 9.4% of extractions contained quantifiable gluten, the vast majority of manufacturers are in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s gluten-free labeling rule.
Overall, 97.5 percent of extractions tested below 20 ppm gluten. Of the extractions in compliance, 93% tested below 5 ppm gluten, which is the lower limit of quantification for the assay used.
Based on the findings of this evaluation, many manufacturers are currently producing food that tests below the 20ppm threshold level of gluten that is currently allowed by the FDA.
Gluten-free consumers can take comfort in the knowledge that the vast majority of manufacturers who are designating food as gluten-free are complying with the FDA’s labeling rule.
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