Jump to content
  • Sign Up
  • Join Our Community!

    Get help in our celiac / gluten-free forum.

  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    In the USA Over 20% of Foods Labeled "Gluten-free" Could Contain Too Much Gluten

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 12/05/2014 - To remain healthy, people with serious gluten intolerance, especially people with celiac disease, must avoid foods containing gluten from wheat, barley, and rye. Accordingly, gluten detection is of high interest for the food safety of celiac patients.

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons--SieBotThe FDA recently approved guidelines mandating that all products labeled as “gluten-free” contain less than 20ppm (20mg/kg) of gluten, but just how do products labeled as “gluten-free” actually measure up to this standard?

    Researchers H.J. Lee, Z. Anderson, and D. Ryu recently set outto assess the concentrations of gluten in foods labeled "gluten free" available in the United States. For their study, they collected seventy-eight samples of foods labeled “gluten-free,” and analyzed the samples using a gliadin competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. They then calculated gluten content based on the assumption of the same ratio between gliadin and glutenin, testing gluten levels down to 10ppm (10mg/kg).

    They found that forty-eight (61.5%) of the 78 samples labeled gluten-free contained less than 10ppm (10 mg/kg) gluten. Another 14 (17.9%) of the 78 samples contained less than 20ppm (20mg/kg) gluten, in accordance with the guidelines established by the Codex Alimentarius for gluten-free labeling.

    However, 16 samples, over 20%, contained gluten levels above 20 mg/kg, ranging from 20.3 to as high as 60.3 mg/kg. Breakfast cereal was the main culprit, with five of eight breakfast cereal samples showing gluten contents above 20ppm (20 mg/kg).

    The study does not name specific brands tested, nor do they indicate whether tested brands are themselves monitored by independent labs. Still, the results, while generally encouraging, show that more progress is needed to make sure that all products labeled as “gluten-free” meet the FDA guidelines. Until that time, it’s a matter of “caveat emptor,” or “buyer beware,” for consumers of gluten-free foods.


    Source:


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    I would not recommend that anyone knowingly eat such a product when there are so many alternatives available.

    Unfortunately they're not required to label it as such if there's less than 20 ppm. It's very likely the majority of celiacs are unknowingly glutened quite frequently. Even going to basic ingredients and nothing processed is a risk if you eat meat when the meat market puts everything next to each other behind the glass when a plain cut of meat is stored right next to a questionably seasoned one, or worse in the fish section where breaded fish and crab cakes are right beside non breaded ones. Not to mention with meat and fish markets we don't know what surfaces were used to prepare what on and if they were fully cleaned between gluten items and non gluten items and you can be sure it is extremely rare to find a place with dedicated gluten free work surfaces and tools. I tend to check labels to be sure it doesn't say "Processed on shared equipment or in a shared facility", but I don't think they're required to put that on their label even, so it's still a risk.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    When writing those articles, please post the names of the items that might harm us. What is the sense of spending big bucks on products that are not safe for us to consume.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It is irresponsible of the researchers not to disclose the brands they tested. I also question why the writer and celiac.com chose to publish an incomplete article. All you have done is raise the panic level of celiac patients.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    It is irresponsible of the researchers not to disclose the brands they tested. I also question why the writer and celiac.com chose to publish an incomplete article. All you have done is raise the panic level of celiac patients.

    We are reporting the findings of a study. Those who conducted the study opted not to publish brand names, thus, to report this study here, we are limited, but find the information important enough to share with our readers.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    When writing those articles, please post the names of the items that might harm us. What is the sense of spending big bucks on products that are not safe for us to consume.

    The people who conducted the testing did not disclose the brands, thus we cannot share them here, or we would.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It is difficult but it can be done. If you have eaten a "Gluten Free" labeled product, go to the FDA website, dig until you find the form and NAME the Company. I am sorry that it has come to this. Progress? They are leaving it up to us to get sick before they will investigate. SO, REPORT the companies that are calling their products "Gluten Free."

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Seems to me there is an ethical obligation for the study to name the products.

    See my comment to Davi above. Naming brands would certainly be helpful for people with celiac disease. However, the researchers likely omitted that information to avoid potential legal issues with the companies whose products they tested.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I would not recommend that anyone knowingly eat such a product when there are so many alternatives available.

    It almost sounds like the sourdough post was a bot. This is what is wrong with the gluten reduced movement. They are mostly bought by people who are doing it as a lifestyle choice and they are impacting our regulations.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Kilogram? Who eats a kilogram of anything, at least at one sitting. Gluten per 100 grams is realistic, as that is 3 ½ ounces, a reasonable serving.

    Let's turn this into beer, say Omission, a gluten-reduced beer through enzyme process. At 20 parts per million for a 355 milliliter bottle of the stuff, one would be ingesting 7 milligrams of gluten. Omission posts its test results for every batch, and it's been significantly below this when I've looked, but still, I got sick about three slugs into the second bottle.

    Check my arithmetic, please.

    For any 3 ⅓ oz serving of supposedly gluten-free comestible, one may be getting a 7 milligram dose of gluten, big enough to send you to the toilet.

    We have a group for people who got sick drinking gluten reduced beers. To let the FDA and TTB know that we had an adverse reaction.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think we are quite naive about assuming that there are scientists in white coats out there checking the food we eat. I'm sure companies that produce foods are largely left to their own consciences, and rarely get actually checked by government officials...especially all the little companies, or those who can afford to pay off the officials... no one is baby sitting our food for us. It is up to us to choose cook and eat what is good for us. Even if a label says something is gluten free, how do you know that particular batch didn't have something different in it, maybe they were low on an ingredient and high on production pressure...maybe they substituted a little here and there... who would know the difference. I for the most part buy single ingredient foods, a piece of meat, a potato, some veggies and eat that. If we want meat that is safe, we need to buy local meat from a farmer and butcher we can shake hands with and talk to, someone in our community who lives up to their promises. If we buy food from mass producers whose motivation is to earn money, we should expect to be disappointing in their integrity a percentage of the time.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • 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 2,000 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.

×
×
  • Create New...