• Join our community!

    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

  • Ads by Google:
     




    Get email alerts Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter

    Ads by Google:



       Get email alertsSubscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter

  • Member Statistics

    78,026
    Total Members
    3,093
    Most Online
    *Erika*
    Newest Member
    *Erika*
    Joined
  • 0

    Are Cheerios Really "Not Safe For Celiacs?" Or is General Mills Getting a Bad Rap?


    Jefferson Adams


    • Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Autumn 2017 Issue


    Image Caption: Image: CC--m01229

    Celiac.com 09/01/2017 - A recent story by Buzzfeed does little to answer the question of whether Cheerios and other General Mills cereals are actually gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease.


    Ads by Google:




    ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADS
    Ads by Google:



    There are a number of folks in the gluten-free community who complain that General Mills is making people sick by selling Cheerios that they know to be contaminated with gluten due to a faulty sorting process. Because General Mills uses a flawed sorting process, the story goes, their boxes of Cheerios are subject to gluten "hot spots," which is making some gluten-sensitive folks sick, thus the complaints.

    They point to regular complaints logged by the FDA to argue that Cheerios are clearly not gluten-free, and thus not safe for people with celiac disease. Comment sections on articles covering this topic show that plenty of people claim that Cheerios makes them sick, and triggers gluten-related symptoms.

    But, one useful measure of the basic scope of an issue is numbers. What kind of numbers are we talking about? How many complaints? How many boxes of Cheerios?

    It's important to realize that General Mills produces huge numbers of Cheerios each week. How many exactly? Well, according to their website, General Mills ships 500,000 cases of Cheerios each week. At about 12 boxes per case, that's about 6 million boxes each week, or 24 million boxes each month.

    We know that the FDA received a number of consumer complaints in 2015, when a mix-up at a Cheerios plant in California led to mass gluten contamination, and eventually to a full recall of 1.8 million boxes by General Mills.

    During that three month period, after the gluten contamination but prior to the recall, when many consumers were eating Cheerios made with wheat flour, the FDA says it received 136 complaints about adverse reactions to the product. So, during the 90 days when we know there was gluten contamination in nearly 2 million boxes of Cheerios, when people were definitely having gluten reactions, the FDA got 136 complaints. During that time General Mills shipped about 72 million boxes, and later recalled nearly 2 million of those due to gluten contamination. That's a complaint rate of about one complaint per 529,411 total boxes, and about one complaint for every 5,000 people with celiac disease; if each person with celiac ate 1 box, and the complaints came only from people with celiac disease. (Obviously this is simplified assumption for discussion purposes).

    Let's imagine another 2 million gluten-contaminated boxes got to consumers. Again, imagine that 1% of those buyers were celiac, so that 20,000 boxes of the 2 million went to celiacs—one box each. 146 complaints for 20,000 boxes is about 1 complaint per 140 boxes, give or take, for each person with celiac disease. That seems like a substantial complaint rate. So, how does that rate compare to the current rate, after the recall?

    Since the beginning of 2016, the FDA has received 46 reports of people with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten or wheat linking their illness to General Mills cereals, including Cheerios and Lucky Charms.

    Let's forget about Lucky Charms for a minute, let's focus on Cheerios. During the 18 months from January 2016 to July 2017, General Mills has shipped something like 450 million boxes. That's about one complaint for every 10 million boxes of Cheerios, or about one complaint for every 100,000 people with celiac disease.

    And those numbers don't include Lucky Charms, which account for some portion of the 46 complaints since early 2016. If General Mills is having an issue with sorting oats, then why have complaint ratios gone down so sharply?

    Also, General Mills uses its optically sorted gluten-free oats for other products. The FDA is certainly taking all of this into account. When they get complaints, they look at large amounts of data to help them put things into perspective. Has the FDA seen corresponding numbers of complaints for different General Mills products made from the same oat sorting process? It doesn't seem so.

    Celiac.com has covered the gluten-free Cheerios story from the beginning, and will continue to do so. We stand on the side of science, and accurate information.

    Beyond the obvious gluten-contamination that led to the recall, we have been skeptical of claims that General Mills' sorting process is flawed, and that their products, including Cheerios are routinely contaminated with gluten.

    If this were true, we think the numbers would be very different, and that the pattern of official complaints would reflect that reality. We also feel that General Mills would be facing down lawsuits from hungry trial lawyers looking to put a big trophy on the wall.

    We have simply not seen any good evidence that supports claims that Cheerios and other General Mills products are contaminated with gluten "hotspots" that cause reactions in people with celiac disease. We have also not seen evidence that rules out adverse oat reactions as the cause of many of these claims.

    If someone out there has different numbers, or better information, we are all ears. However, until we see convincing evidence to the contrary, Celiac.com regards Cheerios and other General Mills products as safe for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. We do offer the caveat that people should trust their own judgement and avoid any food they think makes them sick.

    Stay tuned for more on this and other stories on gluten-free cereals and other products.

    Read more at BuzzFeed.com and GeneralMills.com.

    0


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Guest Shawn McBride

    Posted

    One very important fact is omitted in this article: Many people with celiac disease stopped buying/eating "gluten-free" Cheerios and oatmeal products after getting sick once. We are not idiots; we do not like being sick and endangering our long-term health; these General Mills products are simply not important enough to us to be worth the risk. If people with celiac disease stopped using the products after being sick once, then how many people are left to complain?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Carol Litfin

    Posted

    Thank you for this article. I am a celiac (diagnosed in March 1990. I eat Honey Nut Cheerios every morning and have not had any discomfort whatsoever.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Doris Kickham

    Posted

    I really appreciate Jefferson Adams' articles on issues related to celiac concerns.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I'm in Canada and our standard for gluten-free is more strict then the USA. To label a product gluten-free it must be tested and contain less then 20 ppm. If it doesn't meet or exceed this standard it cannot be labelled gluten-free. Many people with Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity cannot tolerate oats and I think this is where all the complaints are coming from. It's getting blown out of proportion. One person has a reaction and then claims the product is bad - when in reality it is that one person having an adverse reaction to oats. Great article - keep up with the facts. And I do believe Canada gets our Cheerios from the USA plant - which would mean they far exceed the USA's gluten-free Standard of 20 ppm.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Paul Battisti

    Posted

    I have celiac and I won't even try Cheerios. My observation would that the reason complaints have gone down is that most people with celiac are not about taking chances with their health. There has been no solid proof that Cheerios are gluten free and what are the chances of another big mistake happening in the future?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    My daughter has celiac disease and has been eating a lot of Cheerios since they went gluten-free. She has no symptoms and her annual blood check ups have shown no elevations. Are some people perhaps sensitive to Oats? We are thrilled she can eat Cheerios.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Why doesn't the FDA or one these other entities claiming General Mills has misbranded the product(s) just test random batches to see if they fall below the threshold of 20 ppm to meet claims of being gluten-free?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Just playing devil's advocate here. Since many people with celiac never knew what was making them sick before diagnosis, how can we be sure, when we do feel a bit off on any given day, exactly what it was that caused us to feel off? And, since quite a few with celiac do not become symptomatic right away, some never, and some with different symptoms from any given exposure, I just can't see anything scientific about the determination of safety based on just complaints. I can eat something one day with no problem, then feel sick two days later when I eat it again. Can I be sure that one thing was the cause? No. And I would not make a complaint to a company based off that. Maybe a lot of others do the same. Bottom line, if an oat containing food is not made with certified gluten free oats on dedicated equipment within a dedicated facility, there could be a problem. We live with a certain level of risk every day. People deserve to be able to determine what level is acceptable to them based on facts. So, give them the facts about ingredients and how the food is processed and let them decide what is safe for them and what is not.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Thinking outside the box, there are other possibilities why those with celiac disease and NCGS may react to Cheerios. Note, for example, that Cheerios is shelved among traditional gluten cereals at the store. Once at the store, normal handling, from shelving to checkout, exposes the packages to additional external cross-contamination. It may be insignificant for many, but not all. I have personally (albeit, anecdotally) experienced this problem with packaged gluten-free bread stuffed among the wheat bread sold at a day-old outlet store. Another consideration is that some celiacs react to certified-gluten-free oats. Personally (again, anecdotally) I react to gluten-free oats with celiac symptoms when I exceed a certain amount in a certain time period, yet my blood work comes back negative for gluten in my system. Another alternative explanation is that some people experience a reaction when a new food is introduced, especially a processed food. Finally, with respect to processed foods and foods with more than five ingredients. like Cheerios, there is the chance that a reaction to any one or combination of the other ingredients may occur. The caveat noted in the article is one to live by!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This article is not scientific and the conclusion is absurd. First, the proper comparison would be between the number of complaints on Cherrios and those on another gluten-free cereal. I would imagine that there are cereals where millions of boxes have been shipped and there are no complaints of this sort. Secondly, in order to conclude that Cherrios are (even likely) gluten-free, you have to explain the complaints. Are people lying? Are they wrong? If so, why? You have to allege that every single complaint is from a person who is in fact not being contaminated with enough gluten to cause any unusual (for them) reaction, or that they are being affected, and it is only because they are so sensitive that 200 parts per million is not good enough for them.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    There are two important confounding factors that make all your calculations rather meaningless from a scientific standpoint. First, you don't know how many sensitive individuals got sick from the Cheerios/Lucky Charms and just didn't bother to report it. Second, you don't know how many sensitive people had a reaction but couldn't pinpoint the source. The second point has an additional factor in that if the cereal the affected person ate was the cause of their reaction, but they trusted it's gluten free status, they probably mis-attributed to another food source and therefore wouldn't have reported it.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Pam Lewellen

    Posted

    Thank you for the article. You put numbers to the claim and clarified those numbers very well. I was worried when I started to read this since we have two big boxes of Cheerios and have been eating with no problems. Thanks again for the investigation!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Joyce Donahue

    Posted

    So, how does one report this to the FDA, and do people even know they should? I would expect that many people who have reacted have not reported. Personally, I ate a bowl of these at a friend's house while staying the weekend and had diarrhea for three weeks after - and I am sure I didn't eat anything else unsafe because I brought all my own food other than that, but it never occurred to me to do anything more than never eat gluten-free Cheerios again.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Well, I do think it's a shame that a processed food can be called gluten-free when it has any amount of gluten in it. As a celiac, I'm very very careful about what I eat. I eat very little processed food anyway, preferring to simply eat food that naturally has no gluten. Seems like the safest/healthiest way for me personally. So, no, I don't eat Cheerios at all.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Heather

    Posted

    I didn't even know there was a place to complain besides GM and that's a waste of time. I've had issues with their cereals that contain oats to the point I just won't buy them. I'm sure many don't even realize there is somewhere else they can complain.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    My son and I never complained to General Mills, we just stopped eating Cheerios. They made both of us sick and triggered our gluten symptoms.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I cannot eat Cheerios! I've tried twice and had a gluten reaction both times immediately!!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This article makes me very angry, indeed. First, you are devaluing the experience of the people who reported getting glutened (the 46, 136, or 146...all of them). These are not nameless numbers. These are human beings. Even one person being glutened because of a company's negligence is completely unacceptable. If I eat gluten, I am violently sick for 3-5 days; have fatigue, thyroid crashes, and intense brain fog for weeks; and have violently elevated antibodies and attack on my organs for 6 months or more. And you're saying that hundreds of people being made this sick because a company was not diligent enough is acceptable, because it's hundreds, not thousands. That's simply irresponsible, ignorant, and uncaring. If you spend millions on an ad campaign to get celiacs and people with NCGS to buy your product, you damn well better have made sure it is 100% safe. Maybe if they took those millions and applied them to safer production techniques, that complaint number would be zero. Second, how many of us know exactly what glutened us? Based on extensive experience, I would hazard a guess that for every person who complained, there were 10, 20, or more celiacs/NCGS who didn't report it, because they weren't sure which item they had eaten had made them sick. And you claim to be only interested in scientific data. But this is one of the least scientific statements I've ever seen. It is pure conjecture (and grossly incorrect conjecture if one knows anything about celiac and/or human psychology: "If this were true, we think the numbers would be very different, and that the pattern of official complaints would reflect that reality. We also feel that General Mills would be facing down lawsuits from hungry trial lawyers looking to put a big trophy on the wall." Pure conjecture and fantasy. You think. You feel. Zero science. So please drop the pretense of only being interested in scientific fact. And don't pretend that you, or anyone who sanctioned this article, cares about the health and well-being of the celiac/NCGS community.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Please contact Tricia Thompson at GlutenfreeWatchdog.com. She has been doing the EXTENSIVE work in discussion with GM and has VERY valid and reliable information about all of this. As a "supporter" for those with celiac disease, you need to take more caution in making safety recommendations. I know 2 people in my own family who get sick when they eat Cheerios and they just have not submitted claims, despite my pleading. Numbers that you "see" don't always reflect what tests measure, which is what she is doing. It would be optimal that you retract your statement of "safety" on this matter until you speak with her directly.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Joanna Davis

    Posted

    Say what you want, I know Cheerios are bad for celiacs. Working for General Mills these days? This cereal is made with cross contaminated oats, period! They have been tested and they contain more than 20 ppm. As a celiac I react to anything greater than 5 ppm, as do many other celiacs.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Jack Miller

    Posted

    Buzz Feed is just another political left wing lying organization that likes to create trouble. Don't trust them. If at this moment Cheerios were to contain gluten then I would be going into anaphylactic shock as this happens to me from ingesting gluten. I have been eating Cheerios for quite a while and experience no shock reactions. Buzz Feed is full of bull cookies with raisins and gluten!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Tar wood

    Posted

    There are less complaints because celiac people aren't buying it anymore. Your numbers don't include demographics on the number of celiacs that did buy and got sick vs those who did not pre and post the recall.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I am one with celiac disease who cannot tolerate even gluten free oats. They cause the same reaction in me as gluten. I avoid oats the same way I avoid gluten. Since giving up eating oats a few years ago, I rarely experience symptoms that I associate with eating gluten. I avoid gluten free Cheerios because of the oats, not because I don't think they are gluten free. I avoid eating ANY product with oats. I still have to check ingredient labels on all products that are marked gluten free to make sure they do not contain oats. If there are complaints about General Mills products causing adverse symptoms, perhaps the individual is reacting to the oats themselves, not to any gluten contamination of the oats. I have been enjoying General Mills gluten free Chex cereals for years and they have never made me sick.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    My husband has had problems with Cheerios also. He is celiac. We have not bothered to report it as we are too busy. It seems every so many boxes is bad or perhaps the top 3/4 of the box is ok but not the bottom. I was wondering if anyone has done a study on how gluten reacts such as falling to the bottom of a box during transit. Perhaps your answer is the fact most people eating Cheerios aren't celiac. Most people I know just stay away if there is a problem. Very few would report it.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Outlier Babe

    Posted

    Cheerios sent me racing to the bathroom. I thought at first it was gluten, but no: It was my corn allergy. Cornstarch is the second ingredient. I supposedly had a corn allergy my entire life, per allergy scratch tests, but it was asymptomatic until 2012 when my gut went haywire and I could no longer digest gluten (or sorghum, teff, quinoa, etc. Is it possible that some celiacs who think they are reacting to gluten in Cheerios instead have developed an undiagnosed corn allergy?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    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.


  • Ads by Google:

  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

  • Popular Contributors

  • Ads by Google:

  • Who's Online   3 Members, 0 Anonymous, 223 Guests (See full list)

  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 03/28/2016 - An Oregon man who claims to have celiac disease filed another proposed class action suit against General Mills in federal court recently.
    The company recalled nearly 2 million boxes of the cereal last year after what they claimed was a mistake at a local packaging plant. That recall incident has spurred several lawsuits already, which were covered in two previous articles, General Mills Sued Over Recalled Gluten-free Cheerios, and General Mills Sued Again, This Time for Misleading Labels on Gluten-free Cheerios.
    In the latest suit, named plaintiff, Christopher Hamilton, of Marion County, Oregon, individually and for all others similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit Feb. 29 in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Eugene Division against General Mills Inc. and General Mills Sales Inc., alleging violations of the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act and consumer protection statutes in several states.
    Hamilton's suit alleges that General Mills wrongly labels some of its Cheerios as "gluten free.” He claims he purchased a $15.98 twin pack of “gluten-free” original and honey nut-flavored varieties of Cheerios in late September from a Salem Costco that was later subject to recall.
    The complaint states that a test sample of the purportedly gluten-free Cheerios contained 43 parts per million of gluten, which exceeds the 20 parts per million federal limit for a food product to be labeled as gluten free.
    Source:
    Legalnewsline.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/17/2016 - Cereal-maker General Mills is looking to patent method and system for manufacturing gluten-free oats.
    The application for patent protection covers numerous mechanical separation processes on a variety of grains, including oat grains and gluten-containing grains, using, among other things, width grading steps, multiple length grading steps, aspirating steps and a potential de-bearding step.
    Federal labeling regulations require products labeled 'gluten-free' to have gluten levels below 20 ppm. The process allow the production of oat grains with gluten levels below 20 parts per million, and optimally at 10 ppm.
    The resulting oats are gluten-free oats and suitable for use in a variety of gluten-free oat food products, including cereal and granola products, according to the patent US 2016/0207048 A1, filed on July 21st 2016.

    Mechanical separation techniques, such as these covered by the patent application, have the potential to be highly efficient and economical. The patent does not mention more expensive optical systems.
    Oats are naturally gluten-free, but, according to the patent, "oats cultivated in North America, Europe and other parts of the world commonly are contaminated by gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale."
    Contamination can result from rotating grains on the same crop land, and from harvesting, transporting, storing and merchandising.
    General Mills experienced problems with wheat contamination of gluten-free products last year, when they were forced to recall an estimated 1.8 million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios at its Lodi, Calif., plant. The product was contaminated with gluten. However, the company has maintained that the gluten contamination was due to an employee processing error, not any defect in their grain sorting equipment covered under the patent protection.
    Stay tuned to find out if General Mills receives their patent, and if their process has a significant impact on the quality, availability and cost of gluten-free oats.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/24/2017 - The fallout continues from General Mills' recall of nearly 2 million boxes of Gluten Free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios in 2015, which occurred after workers at a California plant accidentally loaded gluten-free oat flour into trucks that had been holding wheat flour, which contains gluten, and which then contaminated batches of "gluten-free" cereal produced with the grain from those trucks.
    In comments to the U.S. Ninth Circuit court, plaintiffs representing a proposed class of consumers claimed that a lower court had erred in dismissing their lawsuit on the grounds that the company's recall program made the claims baseless. They asked that the court allow their lawsuit against General Mills to continue. The suit is based on claims that the supposedly gluten-free Cheerios that had been made with the wrong flour, and that the cereal had sickened consumers.
    Lead plaintiff Christopher Hamilton told the panel that a refund program alone does not moot a claim for damages, as courts have held that, while refund programs do moot restitution claims, they do not moot claims for damages and injunctive relief, such as Hamilton's. "Indeed, in a case based on the exact facts present here, a court in California held that the Cheerios recall program did not moot a consumer's damages claim because the defendants did not satisfy the plaintiff's claims for statutory damages and injunctive relief," said Hamilton.
    Hamilton, who has celiac disease, brought his suit in March 2016 after buying the supposedly "gluten-free," wheat-contaminated Cheerios. One sample revealed 43 parts per million of gluten, more than twice the legal ceiling for the "gluten-free" label, Hamilton said in his complaint.
    Still, to the layperson, Hamilton's request for damages and injunctive relief invites questions. First, since the company issued a full product recall, what type of injunctive relief would they be seeking? Second, regarding damages, exactly what type of monetary damages would be claimed? Did these plaintiffs incur medical expenses, missed work or other costs? That is not made clear in these filings.
    When U.S. District Judge Michael McShane dismissed the original suit in July, he did so based on the fact that General Mills did issue a full product recall. In his statements on the matter, the judge wrote: "Rather than mitigate his damages by accepting General Mills' recall/refund offer, Hamilton is suing General Mills for false labeling, marketing and promotion of the product. Hamilton paints a discreet [sic] manufacturing mishap as a grand scheme of deceptive advertising, marketing and labeling." Judge McShane added, "I find this to be creative at best."
    But Hamilton says that he should be permitted to amend his complaint to include claims that the recall was delayed, and that the company was aware of complaints from sick consumers as early as July 2015. Hamilton also wishes to include allegations that General Mills deliberately ignored warnings from a dietitian that General Mills gluten-free testing was inferior.
    The case is Christopher Hamilton v. General Mills Inc. et al., case number 16-36004, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
    Read more at Law360.com.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/13/2017 - Are consumers wrongly assuming gluten-free foods to be nutritionally equivalent to their gluten-containing counterparts? Are they being mislead?
    That's the subject of a recent talk presented at the 50th Annual Congress of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). Among the evidence cited was that gluten-free items have a significantly higher energy content and a different nutritional composition to their gluten-containing counterparts.
    The presentation also notes that many gluten-containing products, especially breads, pastas, pizzas and wheat-based flours, contain up to three times more protein than their gluten-free counterparts.
    In all, the study assessed 654 gluten-free products, and compared them against 655 gluten-containing products. Among the group's key findings were that gluten-free breads had significantly higher content of lipids and saturated fatty acids; gluten-free pasta had significantly lower content of sugar and protein; and gluten-free biscuits had significantly lower content of protein and significantly higher content of lipids.
    These differences can have adverse effects on children's growth, and increase the risk of childhood obesity.
    The gist of the presentation is that gluten-free products cannot be considered as substitutes for their gluten-containing counterparts, and that numerous gluten-free items should reformulated using healthier ingredients to help promote healthy nutrition in children.
    Not only are gluten-free products generally poorer in their nutritional composition, but consumers may not be unaware of the crucial differences, due to poor nutritional labelling. Dr Sandra Martínez -Barona, fellow lead researcher, states that "labelling needs to clearly indicate this so that patients, parents and carers can make informed decisions. Consumers should also be provided with guidance to enhance their understanding of the nutritional compositions of products, in both gluten-free and gluten-containing products, to allow them to make more informed purchases and ensure a healthier diet is followed."
    ESPGHAN expert and lead researcher, Dr Joaquim Calvo Lerma, adds that "…it is imperative that foods marketed as substitutes are reformulated to ensure that they truly do have similar nutritional values. This is especially important for children, as a well-balanced diet is essential to healthy growth and development."
    Stay tuned to see how the gluten-free food industry responds to efforts by ESPGHAN to improve both gluten-free product formulation, and gluten-free labeling to help people make better nutritional choices.
    Source:
    European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 09/05/2017 - Did you know that it's not uncommon for many McDonald's stores in Europe to offer gluten-free buns?
    If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Europe any time soon, here's a quick list of European countries where you can get Gluten-Free McDonald's Buns. Remember, not every McDonald's location offers gluten-free options, so always check first.
    Numerous McDonald's restaurants in these countries offer gluten-free bun options:
    Austria Denmark Finland Hungary Italy Norway Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland The Netherlands The bigger question is when will they offer gluten-free buns in the USA?

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/03/2017 - Talk about finding needles in a haystack. Imagine, if you will, sifting through rail cars full of oats and plucking out nearly every stray grain of wheat, barley or rye so that the final product tests at under 20 ppm, instead of the original 200 ppm to 1,000 ppm.
    Quite a challenge, yes? It's a challenge General Mills take on every day as it produces Gluten Free Cheerios from raw oats into the final product. According to their website, General Mills ships 500,000 cases of Cheerios each week.
    To do this, General Mills uses a proprietary optical sorting process, for which it has filed a patent with the US Patent Office. That process sifts through those rail cars of oats, with stray gluten ranging from 200 ppm to 1,000 ppm, and "takes it down to less than 20" ppm, said Paul Wehling, principal scientist for General Mills.
    Mr. Wehling told audience members at the annual meeting of AACC International at Cereals 17 in San Diego on Oct. 9, that the General Mills sorting process achieves a "2- to 3-log reduction of the gluten."
    To verify their oat sorting results, General Mills uses enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing and visual inspection to spot and eliminate gluten-containing grains such as wheat.
    The company uses hand inspection in place of lateral flow testing, as they find that "hand inspection is much more efficient because we can look at quite a few more seeds," Mr. Wehling said.
    That process would seem to be validated by Laura K. Allred, regulatory and standards manager for the Gluten Intolerance Group, Auburn, Wash., which recommends companies use a combination of visual testing and ELISA testing.
    However, the General Mills process is not without critics. One of the more prominent voices in opposition to General Mills has been the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA).
    The CCA has made numerous statements questioning the process General Mills uses to create their Gluten-Free Cheerios, and other oat products.
    CCA statements, or statements attributed to the CCA include comments in an article published in October 26, 2017, in which Globalnews.ca writes "[CCA] expressed doubt in the company's mechanical sorting system and claim of 100 per cent removal of cross-contaminants."
    Candiangrocer.com reported in August 2016 that the CCA was, to paraphrase, "awaiting evidence showing the new line [of Gluten Free Cheerios] is 100% free of gluten." It is unclear what the CCA means by such terms as "100% gluten-free," "100 percent removal," and "100 percent safe for people with celiac disease."
    Is the CCA hinting that the standard for gluten-free products should be 0 ppm?
    Besides voicing fear and concerns, and citing alleged complaints by members, the CCA never actually provided any evidence that Cheerios failed to meet the US and Canadian standard of 20 ppm allowable gluten, and were, thus, not gluten-free.
    The CBC reported on August 31 2016, that the "Canadian Celiac Association is warning against gluten-free Cheerios products over concerns the cereal is not 100 per cent safe for people with celiac disease."
    Again, the CCA made this recommendation based not on independent product testing, or on any confirmed accounts of gluten-exposure in people with celiac disease who had consumed Cheerios, but on "fear" and "concerns" driven by anecdotal evidence. Moreover, they seemingly disregarded overwhelming anecdotal evidence provided by people with celiac disease who say they eat Cheerios safely. The CCA has yet to provide a satisfactory response for their warnings, or to provide any clarification of their position regarding the safety of products that test under 20 ppm gluten for people with celiac disease.
    The FDA recently announced that 99.5% of products tested came in under the 20 ppm standard set by the FDA for labeling a product "gluten-free." In fact, only one of 750 samples taken from 250 products tested above 20 ppm. That product was recalled and the manufacturer corrected the problem. There has been no indication the Cheerios tested outside the FDA's gluten-free standard.
    That means that even an ambitious sorting process like the one developed by General Mills seems to be working as designed. It means that consumers can trust the FDA, and American gluten-free labels, and that consumers of gluten-free foods can buy with confidence.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/06/2017 - Gluten-free Starbucks patrons in South Florida just got a nice piece of news. Starbucks is now offering a new, gluten-free cupcake to select South Florida locations. Oh, and the cupcake also happens to be vegan.
    To deliver their newest gluten-free offering, Starbucks has partnered with Miami-based bakery, Bunnie Cakes, who will provide their locally made, gluten-free, and vegan passionfruit cupcakes to select Starbucks stores in the area.
    Bunnie Cakes has been a labor of love since owner, Mariana Cortez, first began making gluten-free and treats for two of her children, who have celiac disease.
    The small, nearly bite-sized cupcakes have been called 'cute,' but they have gained a popular following among gluten-free eaters, and are regarded by many as "one of the best cupcakes in Miami," Starbucks wrote in a press release.
    Bunnie Cakes' products have also attracted a bit of national attention, such as being named as a winner on Food Network's Cupcake Wars.
    If you live in South Florida, or if you find yourself visiting, and happen find yourself enjoying Bunnie Cakes gluten-free cupcakes, either at Starbucks, or at the bakery itself, we encourage you to share your experience in our comments section.
    Read more at onegreenplanet.org.

  • Recent Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/23/2018 - If you’re looking for a great gluten-free Mexican-style favorite that is sure to be a big hit at dinner or at your next potluck, try these green chili enchiladas with roasted cauliflower. The recipe calls for chicken, but they are just as delicious when made vegetarian using just the roasted cauliflower. Either way, these enchiladas will disappear fast. Roasted cauliflower gives these green chili chicken enchiladas a deep, smokey flavor that diners are sure to love.
    Ingredients:
    2 cans gluten-free green chili enchilada sauce (I use Hatch brand) 1 small head cauliflower, roasted and chopped 6 ounces chicken meat, browned ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled ½ cup queso fresco, diced 1 medium onion, diced ⅓ cup green onions, minced ¼ cup radishes, sliced 1 tablespoon cooking oil 1 cup chopped cabbage, for serving ½ cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes, for serving ¼ cup cilantro, chopped 1 dozen fresh corn tortillas  ⅔ cup oil, for softening tortillas 1 large avocado, cut into small chunks Note: For a tasty vegetarian version, just omit the chicken, double the roasted cauliflower, and prepare according to directions.
    Directions:
    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron or ovenproof pan until hot.
    Add chicken and brown lightly on both sides. 
    Remove chicken to paper towels to cool.
     
    Cut cauliflower into small pieces and place in the oiled pan.
    Roast in oven at 350F until browned on both sides.
    Remove from the oven when tender. 
    Allow roasted cauliflower to cool.
    Chop cauliflower, or break into small pieces and set aside.
    Chop cooled chicken and set aside.
    Heat 1 inch of cooking oil in a small frying pan.
    When oil is hot, use a spatula to submerge a tortilla in the oil and leave only long enough to soften, about 10 seconds or so. 
    Remove soft tortilla to a paper towel and repeat with remaining tortillas.
    Pour enough enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of a large casserole pan.
    Dunk a tortilla into the sauce and cover both sides. Add more sauce as needed.
    Fill each tortilla with bits of chicken, cauliflower, onion, and queso fresco, and roll into shape.
    When pan is full of rolled enchiladas, top with remaining sauce.
    Cook at 350F until sauce bubbles.
    Remove and top with fresh cotija cheese and scallions.
    Serve with rice, beans, and cabbage, and garnish with avocado, cilantro, and sliced grape tomatoes.

     

    Roxanne Bracknell
    Celiac.com 06/22/2018 - The rise of food allergies means that many people are avoiding gluten in recent times. In fact, the number of Americans who have stopped eating gluten has tripled in eight years between 2009 and 2017.
    Whatever your rationale for avoiding gluten, whether its celiac disease, a sensitivity to the protein, or any other reason, it can be really hard to find suitable places to eat out. When you’re on holiday in a new and unknown environment, this can be near impossible. As awareness of celiac disease grows around the world, however, more and more cities are opening their doors to gluten-free lifestyles, none more so than the 10 locations on the list below.
    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S is a hotbed of gluten-free options, with four cities making the top 10, as well as the Hawaiian island of Maui. Chicago, in particular, is a real haven of gluten-free fare, with 240 coeliac-safe eateries throughout this huge city. The super hip city of Portland also ranks highly on this list, with the capital of counterculture rich in gluten-free cuisine, with San Francisco and Denver also included. Outside of the states, several prominent European capitals also rank very highly on the list, including Prague, the picturesque and historic capital of the Czech Republic, which boasts the best-reviewed restaurants on this list.
    The Irish capital of Dublin, meanwhile, has the most gluten-free establishments, with a huge 330 to choose from, while Amsterdam and Barcelona also feature prominently thanks to their variety of top-notch gluten-free fodder.
    Finally, a special mention must go to Auckland, the sole representative of Australasia in this list, with the largest city in New Zealand rounding out the top 10 thanks to its 180 coeliacsafe eateries.
    The full top ten gluten-free cities are shown in the graphic below:
     

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/21/2018 - Would you buy a house advertised as ‘gluten-free’? Yes, there really is such a house for sale. 
    It seems a Phoenix realtor Mike D’Elena is hoping that his trendy claim will catch the eye of a buyer hungry to avoid gluten, or, at least one with a sense of humor. D’Elena said he crafted the ads as a way to “be funny and to draw attention.” The idea, D’Elena said, is to “make it memorable.” 
    Though D’Elena’s marketing seeks to capitalizes on the gluten-free trend, he knows Celiac disease is a serious health issue for some people. “[W]e’re not here to offend anybody….this is just something we're just trying to do to draw attention and do what's best for our clients," he said. 
    Still, the signs seem to be working. D'elena had fielded six offers within a few days of listing the west Phoenix home.
    "Buying can sometimes be the most stressful thing you do in your entire life so why not have some fun with it," he said. 
    What do you think? Clever? Funny?
    Read more at Arizonafamily.com.

    Advertising Banner-Ads
    Bakery On Main started in the small bakery of a natural foods market on Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Founder Michael Smulders listened when his customers with Celiac Disease would mention the lack of good tasting, gluten-free options available to them. Upon learning this, he believed that nobody should have to suffer due to any kind of food allergy or dietary need. From then on, his mission became creating delicious and fearlessly unique gluten-free products that were clean and great tasting, while still being safe for his Celiac customers!
    Premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes, and happy customers were our inspiration from the beginning— and are still the cornerstones of Bakery On Main today. We are a fiercely ethical company that believes in integrity and feels that happiness and wholesome, great tasting food should be harmonious. We strive for that in everything we bake in our dedicated gluten-free facility that is GFCO Certified and SQF Level 3 Certified. We use only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients and all of our products are certified Kosher Parve, dairy and casein free, and we have recently introduced certified Organic items as well! 
    Our passion is to bake the very best products while bringing happiness to our customers, each other, and all those we meet!
    We are available during normal business hours at: 1-888-533-8118 EST.
    To learn more about us at: visit our site.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/20/2018 - Currently, the only way to manage celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. That could be set to change as clinical trials begin in Australia for a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. 
    The trials are set to begin at Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre. The vaccine is designed to allow people with celiac disease to consume gluten with no adverse effects. A successful vaccine could be the beginning of the end for the gluten-free diet as the only currently viable treatment for celiac disease. That could be a massive breakthrough for people with celiac disease.
    USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said trial participants would receive an injection of the vaccine twice a week for seven weeks. The trials will be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr. James Daveson, who called the vaccine “a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
    Dr. Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance to people with celiac disease.The trial is open to adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who have clinically diagnosed celiac disease, and have followed a strict gluten-free diet for at least 12 months. Anyone interested in participating can go to www.joinourtrials.com.
    Read more at the website for Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre.

    Source:
    FoodProcessing.com.au