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Question About Food Safety


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#1 JosieToo

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:01 PM

Just starting out with this whole gluten-free thing. My hubby and I rarely ate packaged foods before all this, and typically didn't eat a lot of bread products. To-date (knock on wood) it hasn't been that much of an adjustment.

 

However, the grocery store has me stumped.

 

There are a ton of products that don't list any gluten-containing ingredients, but are not indicated as "gluten free". For example, I buy natural peanut butter (just peanuts). While there is no warning that it contains wheat (a requirement for labeling in Canada), it also doesn't say gluten free. Same goes for yogurt, cheese, and a few other staples.

 

In cases like this, can I assume the product is "safe" to consume? I would find it pretty limiting if the only truly "safe" gluten free foods are all the breads, muffins, etc. that are filled with all sorts of junky additives.

 

Thanks in advance!


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#2 psawyer

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:51 PM

In Canada, the label rules were changed in August of 2012. Foods packaged for sale in Canada on or after August 4, 2012, must explicitly declare any gluten source by naming the grain on the label.

 

Even before then, wheat was required to be disclosed. Rye and oats don't hide, but in rare cases, barley could hide as "flavour"--not anymore.

 

Many products that are in fact gluten-free are not claimed to be so for legal reasons. If I don't see a gluten grain named on the label, I consider the product safe. That covers a lot of so-called "processed" foods. I have been doing this for over thirteen years, and it works for me.

 

Foods which are naturally gluten-free will not be so labeled in Canada, since such a label would be considered by CFIA as misleading. To merit a gluten-free claim, the gluten-free status must distinguish this specific product from other similar products.

 

It is permitted to claim, although not common, something like, "this milk, like all milk, is gluten-free" or "milk is naturally gluten-free." There is no marketing advantage to doing so, and it may have a negative impact with those uneducated people who believe that gluten-free means tastes like $h!t.
 


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Peter
Diagnosis by biopsy of practically non-existent villi; gluten-free since July 2000.
Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes diagnosed in March 1986
Markham, Ontario (borders on Toronto)

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#3 JosieToo

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:14 AM

In Canada, the label rules were changed in August of 2012. Foods packaged for sale in Canada on or after August 4, 2012, must explicitly declare any gluten source by naming the grain on the label.

 

Even before then, wheat was required to be disclosed. Rye and oats don't hide, but in rare cases, barley could hide as "flavour"--not anymore.

 

Many products that are in fact gluten-free are not claimed to be so for legal reasons. If I don't see a gluten grain named on the label, I consider the product safe. That covers a lot of so-called "processed" foods. I have been doing this for over thirteen years, and it works for me.

 

Foods which are naturally gluten-free will not be so labeled in Canada, since such a label would be considered by CFIA as misleading. To merit a gluten-free claim, the gluten-free status must distinguish this specific product from other similar products.

 

It is permitted to claim, although not common, something like, "this milk, like all milk, is gluten-free" or "milk is naturally gluten-free." There is no marketing advantage to doing so, and it may have a negative impact with those uneducated people who believe that gluten-free means tastes like $h!t.
 

Thank you so much Peter! This is fantastic information and clears things up.

 

So, if I see a package of nuts that says "may have come into contact with wheat" or lists another ingredient that has gluten in it, it is unsafe.

 

If I see a package that doesn't list anything other than the nut (i.e. "Almonds") as the ingredient, it will be safe - even if it does not carry the "gluten free" label or a related certification.

 

Seems to make the Canadian Celiac Association's "gluten free" certification and logo a moot point. Although I suppose it speeds things up by reducing the need to check every ingredient in a product.

 

Got it! :)


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