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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:06 AM

Can you give some examples of companies that are advertising that they are gluten free but in actuality are not? This is a pretty bold statement with nothing to back it up.
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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:05 PM

I'm assuming the statement was made with regards to foods sold in the USA, because we have no regulations in effect yet to regulate the gluten free label. It is completely legal to make a gluten free claim with different levels of rigor, some of which are not rigorous enough.

Companies that make the claim that a product is gluten free, but do not test their products for gluten so cannot actually confirm that their products ARE gluten free, are not uncommon. Testing standards can differ widely. Some companies test every batch, some test batches periodically, some only test batches when the product is first being produced, some test ingredients going in and don't test the final product at all - it's all over the map.

If there is no testing or only periodic testing, contaminated batches can fall through the cracks and make us sick. Or sometimes it is 'naturally' gluten free goods that contain gluten above the 20 ppm that most people consider a gluten free standard.

Although to be fair, I've noticed more companies start testing their products over the last year or so, so that's good news.

However, as you wanted some examples, here's just a couple. :-)

Food for Life tortillas - some lots tested at an independent lab show above 20 ppm of gluten. The gal who had these tested made sure to contact the company so that they could hopefully correct whatever problem was causing the contamination, so perhaps that has been addressed now. The original blog posting regarding this has a broken link, but here is a link to another blog reporting on it: http://glutenfreemom...-tortillas.html

In the above link, it also mentions a study done on naturally gluten free grains and flours, where about 32% were above the 20 ppm standard. The original article for that is no longer up on the web, either, sadly. What I do remember is that some of the flours tested were significantly above 20 ppm. One soy flour was over 2,000 ppm of gluten. 0.0 The study itself declined to mention which brands were tested, however, so we're unable to locate those particular brands.

In September, 2011, when I last contacted Boulder Canyon Chips, they tested the lines for their gluten-free potato chips during a certification period to ensure they were gluten free. After that, the chips are never tested again to ensure that they remained gluten free and uncontaminated unless there was a change in ingredients. Again, this was a little over a year ago, so that may have changed by now.

That's just a few examples, but there are others if you look. Most of the big name companies seem to be testing at least periodically now, that I know of.

However, another potential issue for those who are more sensitive is tracking down the original information for what is 'gluten free.' A great example of this is many of the Frito Lay chips - which I know many here can't eat, but it's a good example so I'll use it.

On a lot of websites with lists of gluten-free chips, they will list a whole slew of Frito Lay chips, like certain varieties of Doritos, Cheetos, Funyuns, and so on. If you hunt down the website, however, you find out that Frito Lay has not made the claim that these chips are gluten-free. Frito Lay has a few chips that they test for gluten, and then a much larger group of chips that they do not add gluten to on purpose, but do not test and do not have them in a situation to keep them as free from gluten contamination.

On their site (http://www.fritolay....ngredients.html ) they list a lot of their chips in the 'no gluten ingredients' category. But this gets passed around the webosphere and becomes 'gluten free' when even the company isn't making the claim.

Also, sometimes on the sensitive section here, people get frustrated because we'd love a reality where 'gluten free' meant '0 ppm of gluten.' That's not the reality, and it's not something that can even BE a reality at the present time and with the present level of technology. But for some folks who react to less than 20 ppm in quantities they would eat during the average day, the gluten free standard doesn't adequately protect their health.

Oh, for the latter? Even the FDA has recognized that the 20 ppm standard is a potential issue for some Celiacs. In the FDAs Health Hazard Assessment for Gluten Exposure in Individuals with Celiac Disease, on page 46, it says:

In sum, these findings indicate that a less than 1 ppm level of gluten in foods is the level of exposure for individuals with celiac disease[celiac disease] on a GFD[gluten free diet] that protects the most sensitive individuals with celiac disease and thus, also protects the most number of individuals with celiac disease from experiencing any detrimental health effects from extended to long-term exposure to gluten.

So, for some of these folks, a 20 ppm standard is a LOT higher than is safe for them, you know?
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Gluten free since August 10, 2009.
21 years with undiagnosed Celiac Disease

23 years with undiagnosed sulfite sensitivity

25 years with undiagnosed mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) 


Daughter: celiac and MCAD positive

Son: gluten intolerant
Father, brother: celiac positive

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