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  • Jefferson Adams

    Can Better Allergen Statements on Product Labels Lead to Better Choices for Celiacs?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Do allergen advisory statements for wheat help US consumers with celiac disease make safe food choices?


    Can better allergen statements improve food choices by celiacs? Photo: CC--Alex Juel
    Caption: Can better allergen statements improve food choices by celiacs? Photo: CC--Alex Juel

    Celiac.com 11/11/2016 - Do allergen advisory statements for wheat help US consumers with celiac disease make safe food choices?

    A team of researchers recently set out to review food that were not labeled gluten-free, but which appeared to be free of gluten ingredients based the ingredients list. The product labels indicated that the products contained no wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewers yeast. The research team included T. Thompson, TB Lyons, and A Jones. They are variously affiliated with Gluten Free Watchdog, Manchester, MA, USA; the Department of Clinical Nutrition, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA, and with Mary Rutan Hospital Nutrition, Bellefontaine, OH, USA.



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    Looking for allergen advisory statements noting wheat, gluten or both, the team retrospectively reviewed labeling information for 101 products tested for gluten content. They tested products through the gluten test reporting service Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC in Manchester, MA, USA. The review included all commercially available products tested by Gluten Free Watchdog not labeled gluten-free or low gluten at the time of this analysis.

    Gluten testing was conducted via Bia Diagnostics in Burlington, VT, USA. Each product sample was tested in duplicate using the Ridascreen Gliadin sandwich R5 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) Mendez method (Ridascreen Gliadin R7001) and extracted with the cocktail solution (Art. No. R7006—official Mendez method) following the kit manufacturer’s directions (R-biopharm, Darmstadt, Germany).

    Seven of the 14 foods with quantifiable gluten in this assessment are single-ingredient foods, such as oat fiber, spices, and green tea leaves. Many single-ingredient foods are considered by consumers to be naturally gluten-free. However, US grain standards allow certain percentages of foreign material in grains, seeds and legumes.

    On the basis of this analysis, the current use of allergen advisory statements for wheat or gluten are not useful predictors of whether or not a single or multi-ingredient food product contains 20 or more p.p.m. of gluten.

    The authors are urging the regulation and standardization of such precautionary statements so that they are helpful to gluten-free consumers.

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    Guest AWOL cast iron stomach

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    Yes - please my opinion is regulation and standardization helps clarify and get everyone on the same page. In the end it may cost less in the long run.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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