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    What is the Codex Alimentarius Commission - Is Codex Wheat Starch Safe for the Gluten-Free Diet/Celiac Disease?


    Scott Adams

    Q: Why would people with celiac disease want to eat Codex wheat starch?
    A: Most people who have tried products made with Codex wheat starch feel that they are far superior to gluten-free products that do not contain the ingredient.


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    Celiac.com 06/25/2000 - The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It currently provides the only international gluten-free food standard for manufacturers. Its members include the Unites States and Canada in North America, and most European, Latin American, African and Asian countries. It is worth noting that European countries which currently conduct the most cutting-edge research on celiac disease in the world, namely Finland, Norway, Italy, Sweden and the UK, are also members of the Codex, and they currently accept the Codex standard for gluten-free foods that specifies a limit of 500 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in foods. This incredibly low level of gluten is considered safe by the Codex for people with celiac disease, as our products that contain specially made wheat starch with levels of gluten under this amount. Most manufacturers of gluten-free food use wheat starch that falls below 200 ppm, rather than the higher accepted limit of 500 ppm, and the current Codex gluten-free standard is in the process of being revised to the 200 ppm level.

    The acceptance of the Codex wheat starch by most European countries is based on years of research and the follow up care of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people with celiac disease, whose doctors found that they recovered fine while eating it. There is currently much clinical research being done in Europe on the safety of Codex wheat starch, the results of which have further reinforced the concept that Codex wheat starch is safe for people with celiac disease. Most people with celiac disease (excluding extremely sensitive individuals and people with wheat allergy) should be able to eat Codex wheat starch without any damage or problems associated with the disease.

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    Guest Niqi

    Posted

    Why would ANYONE with Coeliacs of Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance, or even a wheat allergy/intolerance eat this stuff? My body builds up to severe allergic reactions, it doesn't kick in over night always; it can take a day or two. So why would I eat this and risk getting very sick? How can it POSSIBLY be safe???

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    Why would ANYONE with Coeliacs of Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance, or even a wheat allergy/intolerance eat this stuff? My body builds up to severe allergic reactions, it doesn't kick in over night always; it can take a day or two. So why would I eat this and risk getting very sick? How can it POSSIBLY be safe???

    I think that it is very poor that society is underestimating coeliac disease in certain countries. For goodness sakes, at least test the product for detectable gluten and DON'T YOU DARE label a product as Gluten Free unless it doesn't contain detectable gluten.

     

    Those of you who CHOOSE (voluntarily) to follow a gluten free diet are the ones who ruin it for those who actually have a medically diagnosed gluten intolerance. If you had any idea the pain and suffering we must tolerate due to your flippant ‘fad diets' you would not make such posts. It is silly fad dieters that impose this view on society that “just a little bit of wheat or gluten wont hurt' or “just scrap off the gluten sauce off your meat†or my fave “just pick out the croutons from your saladâ€. Far out did you know that one one hundredth of a piece of bread in an individual with coeliac disease can cause damage that will take up to a year to fix?? The damage is extremely painful too, its not just vomiting and diarrhea for a couple of days, its painful swelling (that sometimes causes you to go to the emergency department because it hurts that much and you look like a beached whale), vomiting, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, extreme weight loss and these symptoms do not just last for a couple of days it can last for months and months even if you stay to a strict gluten free diet following the “accidental gluten intakeâ€.

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    Guest Carolyn Eilers

    Posted

    Thank you for setting others straight on this awful disease and how only a little gluten can hurt us terribly!

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    Guest Charlotte Lamb

    Posted

    Thank you so much for telling the world that even a little is too much.

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    Guest Bob Ware

    Posted

    Both of the other posters have it right. Even trace amounts of gluten can make a true celiac miserable for extended periods of time. I have suffered from all of the symptoms listed, and they have been both sudden onset, and build-up-over-time types of reactions. If you are a celiac reading this, don't get your hopes up about wheat starch. It is made for the masses, not for us. Stay clean, and stay symptom free!

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    Guest Kirsten

    Posted

    Did you not read the article, people?!

     

    "The acceptance of the Codex wheat starch by most European countries is based on years of research and the follow up care of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people with celiac disease, whose doctors found that they recovered fine while eating it. There is currently much clinical research being done in Europe on the safety of Codex wheat starch..."

     

    I just got back from a 2-week trip to Norway and ate bread with codex wheat starch every day and never even got a stomach ache or break out. I am a coeliac, and I have been to the ER in the past for my severe gluten reactions, and I can attest that this stuff is gluten-free! Europeans are more in tune with coeliac disease than Americans are. Most of my relatives (and friends) in Norway have this problem. It is not a "fad" there like it is in America. This is a genetic disease that is proven to have links to Northern Europe and the British Isles, and because of this, the majority of the populations in these countries probably has a problem. They have been researching this much longer (read the article about the most recent Finnish study), so how can you judge their results without even reading them yourselves?

     

    Codex wheat starch should at least become available in America as an option for coeliac patients. For those that really think they can't handle it (at least try it), read the labels. We should all be really good at that by now!

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    Guest Wallace Noll

    Posted

    Anything that codex alimentarus has to say should be viewed as disinformation. That is a very evil organization. Article above says they were started by World health Organization. I think they were started with money from pharmaceutical companies. This is what researchers who have looked carefully said about codex.

     

    Codex alimentarus' main job is to get national governments to impose legal restrictions on the use of vitamins and nutritional supplements. For example, they got France to outlaw vitamin C pills of the 500 mg size. And a french lady went to jail because she sold such a pill in a health food store. In Germany they've reduced the quantities of many active ingredients in the supplements because of codex alimentarus. They want fewer vitamins, less supplements, more pharmaceutical drugs. This is what their organization is about, their purpose.

     

    I am celiac though technically undiagnosed. And I advocate fleeing from gluten. Products that are labeled 'gluten free' are allowed to have some gluten and still retain that label. It is a crock of crap.

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    Guest Wallace Noll

    Posted

    Did you not read the article, people?!

     

    "The acceptance of the Codex wheat starch by most European countries is based on years of research and the follow up care of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people with celiac disease, whose doctors found that they recovered fine while eating it. There is currently much clinical research being done in Europe on the safety of Codex wheat starch..."

     

    I just got back from a 2-week trip to Norway and ate bread with codex wheat starch every day and never even got a stomach ache or break out. I am a coeliac, and I have been to the ER in the past for my severe gluten reactions, and I can attest that this stuff is gluten-free! Europeans are more in tune with coeliac disease than Americans are. Most of my relatives (and friends) in Norway have this problem. It is not a "fad" there like it is in America. This is a genetic disease that is proven to have links to Northern Europe and the British Isles, and because of this, the majority of the populations in these countries probably has a problem. They have been researching this much longer (read the article about the most recent Finnish study), so how can you judge their results without even reading them yourselves?

     

    Codex wheat starch should at least become available in America as an option for coeliac patients. For those that really think they can't handle it (at least try it), read the labels. We should all be really good at that by now!

    Did you read what the editor of Lancet said in a public interview about 3 weeks ago? He said that half of all medical studies are based on lies. He said all doctors do today is behave as marketing agents for pharmaceutical companies. Lancet is the most respected medical journal in the world, it is from United Kingdom. This man edited that journal for decades. When he retired he blasted the medical industry for fraudulent studies. And also in the last few weeks a similar editor from the New England Journal of Medicine retired and said chillingly similar things.

     

    The medical studies are not necessarily honest folks. Many of them conflict with each other and so many have an agenda.

     

    Codex Alimentarus has an agenda. They were started with money from pharmaceutical companies, their purpose is to get people to use less vitamins, less supplements and more drugs. They want laws passed to make the quantities in vitamin and supplement pills much smaller, they want the vitamins labeled with warnings on them against using it and especially against using significant quantities.

     

    In France a lady went to prison simply because she worked at a health food store that sold standard ordinary vitamin C pills. This was her crime. that is because of codex alimentarus why the french have that law. In Germany they have restrictions also because of codex.

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    Guest Wallace Noll

    Posted

    Did you not read the article, people?!

     

    "The acceptance of the Codex wheat starch by most European countries is based on years of research and the follow up care of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people with celiac disease, whose doctors found that they recovered fine while eating it. There is currently much clinical research being done in Europe on the safety of Codex wheat starch..."

     

    I just got back from a 2-week trip to Norway and ate bread with codex wheat starch every day and never even got a stomach ache or break out. I am a coeliac, and I have been to the ER in the past for my severe gluten reactions, and I can attest that this stuff is gluten-free! Europeans are more in tune with coeliac disease than Americans are. Most of my relatives (and friends) in Norway have this problem. It is not a "fad" there like it is in America. This is a genetic disease that is proven to have links to Northern Europe and the British Isles, and because of this, the majority of the populations in these countries probably has a problem. They have been researching this much longer (read the article about the most recent Finnish study), so how can you judge their results without even reading them yourselves?

     

    Codex wheat starch should at least become available in America as an option for coeliac patients. For those that really think they can't handle it (at least try it), read the labels. We should all be really good at that by now!

    It should be available in America. But I don't think anyone would stop it from being sold here. It is not like the government protects us from anything, they allow many bad foods that are very harmful to our population.

     

    If you say it worked good for you, then I believe you. But I am very skeptical about myself. Maybe someday I might improve to the point where I think different.

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  • About Me

    In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I founded The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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    Scott Adams
    This article comes to us from Frederik Willem Janssen, Zutphen, The Netherlands, e-mail: teizjanz@PI.NET. If you have specific questions about it, please contact him directly.
    The Codex Alimentarius provides the gluten-free standard for European food manufacturers. This article will deal with foods that are officially labeled as gluten free.
    In the European Union there is a directive on foods for special dietary uses (89/398/EEG), and this directive is the basis for all national legislation in the countries of the European Union. Though the directive deals with gluten-free foods there is no assigned limiting level of gluten for gluten-free food yet, so it is up to the national regulatory bodies of the member states to set their own level. There is however, an international body handling these matters: Codex Alimentarius.
    Codex Alimentarius is a Geneva-based International organization jointly run by the World Health Organization and FAO , and its aim is to establish worldwide standards for foods in the broadest sense. Food legislation in many countries is based on Codex Standards, although it is not mandatory to implement them in all cases. There is a Codex committee producing standards on food labeling, on hygiene, on composition etc., etc. There is a committee on Foods for Special Dietary Uses (FSDU) and ... there is a Standard on gluten-free Food!
    The oldest Standard dates from 1981, and it says that foods may be labeled as gluten-free only if the nitrogen content of the protein derived from wheat is less than 50 mg N/100 gm on dry matter, which may be equivalent to about 20-30 mg gliadin in wheat starch. The calculation is quite complicated by the fact that most of the protein in wheat starch is starch granule protein and not gluten.
    There is a new Codex Standard in preparation, and a proposal to set the limiting level of gluten to 200-mg gluten/kg (20-mg/100 g) gluten-free food on dry matter. If we assume that half of the gluten is gliadin, this equals 10-mg gliadin/100 g o.d.m., so the level has gone down by a factor two in comparison to the old standard. If accepted, the new standard will be valid for end products and not for raw materials. In my previous posting I already mentioned that there are comments on the proposal from Sweden (
    One of the reasons why the level in the Standard has not yet been effected (the proposal has been dealt with already two years ago) is that there is no validated analytical method (ring-tested) available to check compliance to this level. Though it might look rather simple to analyze gluten, it is generally done with an Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay - ELISA, it is in fact very tricky, and especially as the term gluten is very imprecise. Gluten is a mixture of gliadin and glutenin - each composed of several sub-fractions - and its composition with respect to sub-fractions is cultivar dependent. There is also an effect on the recovery caused by the heat processing of the food, and although excellent work has been done by Dr Skerrit of CSIRO in Australia to circumvent this problem (he designed a method based on omega gliadin, which is the most heat stable gliadin fraction), there is still a feeling that this method still needs to be improved. Remember that agencies charged with enforcement of food laws must be able to bring suits against producers of non-complying gluten-free foods. So analytical methods need to be robust and accurate.
    Codex Alimentarius bases its standard on scientific facts, and thats why there is no zero tolerance. There is simply no scientific evidence that this is required (at least there is no concordant view among scientists about the maximum tolerable gluten intake), and it is reasoned that any unduly reduction in the permissive level will reduce the number of gluten-free food available unnecessary.
    Though Codex Alimentarius has been criticized in the past for being a food-producer driven body it is still the only world-wide forum for food standards, and its role within the framework of the GATT and WTO makes its work of sterling importance in settling trade disputes. In 1993 the National Food Alliance (UK NGO) produced a report titled Cracking the Codex. This report stated that even though the voting in Codex is nationwide, and quite often by consensus, there is a large impact of the producer lobby, especially in the preliminary stages of decision making.
    Even though there is no implemented standard in national legislation many countries will stick to the Codex Standard. The conclusion is that in many countries food labeled as gluten free will almost definitely contain gluten. As the regulatory agencies of most countries will not press charges against producers of gluten-free foods if the level is below the Codex Standard limit (though, as said, some countries may have lower regulatory levels). Codex Standards still do not have the status of national laws.

    Kathleen La Point
    Celiac.com 09/08/2008 - Processed foods often contain ingredients derived from starch, such as dextrose (glucose) and maltodextrins. In the United States, these starch products are typically made from corn and are safe for people with celiac disease. However, more than 50% of the processed foods from Europe contain ingredients that are made from wheat starch and therefore contain trace amounts of gluten. This can pose a problem when eating imported foods or when traveling because the amount of gluten required to trigger symptoms in people with celiac disease is still under investigation and not yet completely understood.  For this reason, researchers in Finland have tested the safety of eating processed foods containing these wheat starch products.
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    Because eating gluten reduces nutrient absorption in people with celiac disease, blood levels of iron, folic acid, and calcium were tested in all three groups before and after the 24 week study.  Concentrations of these nutrients did not decrease in any of the groups during the study, indicating that nutrient absorption was not affected by this amount of wheat starch consumption. Additionally, gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, abdominal pain, and gastro-esophageal reflux, did not increase significantly in any group and none of the patients who suffered from dermatitis herpetiformis developed a rash during the study.
    Results of this study suggest that the trace amounts of gluten in processed foods containing wheat starch products were not harmful for most people with celiac disease. Although additional studies will help clarify the issue, it may be unnecessary for people to avoid these products, making it easier to adhere to a “gluten-free” diet.
    Kaukinen K, Salmi T, Huhtala H, et al. Clinical trial: gluten microchallenge with wheat-based starch hydrolysates in celiac disease patients:  a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study study to evaluate safety. Alimentary Pharmacolgy 
    Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Aug 17.
    Departments of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.


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