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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Enjoy Life Natural Foods First to Carry Gluten-Free Food Certification (GFCO) on Products

    Celiac.com 12/27/2005 - Enjoy Life Natural Foods will begin displaying the GFCO certification mark on all 17 of their products beginning in December 2005. Enjoy Life has a strong commitment to the celiac community. We hear from consumers everyday, expressing how much difficulty they have identifying foods that are safe for their gluten-free diet, said Scott Mandell, President and CEO of Enjoy Life Natural Brands. We are proud to be able to provide them with the extra convenience and safety assurance this new certification provides. Look for more information about Enjoy Life Natural products and recipes using these
    products at www.gfco.org and www.enjoylifenb.com.

    Gluten-Free Certification Is HOT! The food industry is buzzing about gluten-free and GFCO.

    GFCO has attended five food shows and exhibits with a total of more than 1,000 food companies since August. GIG, Shelley Case, RD and Carol Fenster, Ph.D. gave talks about the gluten-free market at three of these shows. Before we hit the show room floor, the room was buzzing about gluten-free products and gluten-free certification. The Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) and data from SPINS showing that Gluten-free product sales are growing at 14.6 % is making gluten-free a high priority in the food industry. GFCO is drawing interest from mainstream and specialty companies alike.

    What Has Happened Since August:

    • Plant Inspections for six companies will be scheduled for early 2006.
    • 52 other companies have requested applications.
    • Companies interested in adopting GFCO certification come from seven countries
      including Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Italy, South Africa, and the UK.
    • GFCO has discussed the program with over 150 companies.
    • Interested companies include makers of beverages, meat products, baked
      goods, nutritional supplements, flavorings, seasonings, and more.

    Want to Help? You Can

    • Tell the GFCO about companies you think should certify their products.
    • Tell companies that you want to see certification on their products.
    • Support GIG and GFCO with your contributions and fundraising ideas.
    • Join the GFCO Team

    Anna Ashworth
    Gluten-Free Certification Organization
    Program Administrator
    www.gfco.org


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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.

  • Related Articles

    Scott Adams
    The House of Representatives has, once again, acknowledged celiac disease. It has passed the funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes the NIH. The report language detailed below was included in that legislation. This language serves as guidance from Congress to the NIH to focus on certain issues (in this case celiac disease). A special round of thanks is due Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) for her tireless efforts on behalf of the celiac community. Further thanks go out to Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, for his leadership on this important bill.
    We now wait to see what happens with the Senate version of the funding bill, and whether it is passed before the Congress adjourns later this month.
    HR 5006; Passed House on Sept. 9, 2004
    House Report. 108-636
    "Celiac disease.--The Committee commends NIDDK for recognizing the lack of understanding, and under-diagnosis of the genetic, autoimmune disorder, Celiac disease (celiac disease), and for including celiac disease in the NIH Consensus Development Program for 2004. Although readily diagnosed in European countries, it takes on average eleven years for Americans to be properly diagnosed. Delays in diagnosis place individuals at risk for osteoporosis, anemia, miscarriages, and small bowel cancer. Current evidence demonstrates that celiac disease is the most common genetic disorder in the world, with a treatment-- strict, gluten-free diet--that can be managed almost exclusively by the individual, or family. Education about celiac disease is needed for health care professionals and patients. The Committee encourages NIDDK to coordinate informational and educational programs directed at health professionals, patients and the public to raise awareness and understanding about celiac disease, and the need for early diagnosis."
    A copy of the report is available at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp108:FLD010:@1(hr636):
    Allison Herwitt
    Co-Chair, Legislative Project
    American Celiac Task Force

    Scott Adams
    Celiac.com 01/25/2007 - Under an FDA proposal published yesterday, food companies will have to meet new standards before labeling their products as gluten-free. It also provided a new definition for gluten-free which will give individuals with celiac disease greater confidence that specially labeled foods are in fact, safe for them to eat, according to the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA).
    The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) passed by Congress in 2004, requires food manufacturers to clearly state if a product contains any of the eight major food allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy. It also required the FDA to develop and implement rules for using the term ‘gluten-free’ on food packaging.
    Adhering to the gluten-free diet is the only course of treatment for celiac disease, a genetic digestive disorder. The condition, triggered by eating the protein gluten which is found in the grains wheat, rye, and barley, and hybrids of these grains affects an estimated 2 to 3 million Americans.
    There is no single, world-wide accepted definition of gluten-free labeling. The levels of acceptable gluten vary from country to country, as do the symbols and terminology, permissible in the labeling. Research establishing a safe threshold of gluten consumption for those with celiac disease was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study, conducted by members of the ACDA at the University of Maryland and referenced by the FDA, concludes that celiacs can safely tolerate up to 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten a day.
    “The FDA listened to patients, food manufacturers, and members of the scientific community and came up with a well thought out proposal,” said Andrea Levario, Executive Director of the ACDA.
    There is so little research about the gluten-free diet and safe consumption levels that the agency is seeking comments on a number of related issues including: The appropriateness of 20 ppm gluten as the proposed threshold level as determined using an ELISA based testing method; The effect that adoption of a lower threshold level would have on individuals with celiac disease and on industry; Whether a lower threshold level might effect (limit availability of) commercially available foods labeled gluten-free in the United States; Whether a reduced availability would have a negative impact individuals with celiac disease; and Whether oats should be included in the definition of prohibited grains. In the absence of federal rules, food companies have been using a variety of standards in manufacturing gluten-free products. This creates confusion and skepticism among individuals whose health depends on clear, accurate labeling. With only 90,000 out of an estimated 2 million celiacs diagnosed, manufacturers know that uniformity and consistency will benefit them as well consumers, said Levario.
    The FDA has prepared a series of questions and answers to help consumers understand the provisions of the proposal. For a copy go to: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/glutqa.html ; and for a copy of the gluten-free labeling guidelines go to: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/fr070123.html .
    About the ACDA
    The American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) was established in March 2003 to provide leadership on public policy issues affecting those with celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disorder affecting children and adults. The non-profit serves as a national umbrella organization representing all segments of the celiac community -- research centers, physicians, patients, food manufacturers, print media, and the service industry.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/23/2008 - Folks who follow a gluten-free diet can take comfort that the Codex Alimantarius, the international body responsible for setting food safety standards, has moved a step closer to adopting the gluten-free standards they drafted in November 2007, and their new standards are, for the most part, in-line with the proposed FDA regulations. However, those hoping for speedy adoption of similar standards by the FDA will just have to wait until the FDA takes one last round of public comment and evaluates safety standards used in developing the standards. Certainly, anticipation has been running high, as several blogs and otheronline sources have wrongly claimed that the new FDA standards will go intoeffect in August 2008.
    From June 30 to July 5, 2008, the Codex Alimentarius Commissionrecently held their 31st session, where they accepted without changethe 2007 Draft Revised Codex Standard for Foods for Special Dietary Usefor Persons Intolerant to Gluten. According to the latest CodexAlimentarius standard, any product labeled “gluten-free,” includingthose made from de-glutened wheat starch will contain no more than 20parts gluten per million. This last part is especially important, astheir earlier standards for the use of “gluten-free” on labels allowedup to 200 parts gluten per million if the product contained ingredients that normally contained gluten. The 2007 standard still includes a special category for foods that are not naturallygluten-free, but have been rendered gluten-free through processing, such as wheat starch that has had its gluten removed. Thiscategory is called “foods specially processed to reduce gluten to alevel above 20 up to 100 milligrams per kilogram.” The Codex Alimentarius Committee has yet to post the new standard on the their website.
    The adoption of a less than 20 ppm standard on foods labeled "gluten-free" by both the Codex Alimentarius and the FDA would mean that consumers across Europe and North America could count on a single, uniform standard for food that is labeled "gluten-free." This new standard has been driven primarily by the efforts of celiac disease support groups, people diagnosed with celiac disease, and gluten-free diet followers, whose influence also led to the creation and passage of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act in 2004.
    The FDA will not issue their final ruling until they make the draft available for public review and consider one more round of commentary, along with previous public comments, as well as publishing a notice on the safety assessment made in developing the final rule. The FDA will likely publish the notice on the safety assessment soon, but there is no indication as to just when they will issue the final rule.
    A large part of the celiac community has been eagerly anticipating the announcement of the final rule. Until that great day, all of you gluten-free folks will just have to be content knowing that solid, reliable standards for the use of the term "gluten-free" on food labels are just around the corner.
    The next session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission will be held from 29 June to 4 July 2009 in Rome.
    Here are the new Codex Alimentarious Standards for Gluten-Free foods, which will appear on their Web site soon:

    2.1.1 Gluten-free foods
    Gluten-free foods are dietary foods
    a) consisting of or made only from one or more ingredients which do not contain wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer,and/or
    consisting of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to remove gluten, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer.
    2.1.2 Foods specially processed to reduce gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg
    These foods consist of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat,spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to reduce the gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer.
    Decisions on the marketing of products described in this section may be determined at the national level.

    Jefferson Adams
    New Food Allergy Guidelines from NIAID
    Celiac.com 01/06/2011 - The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) released its first ever list of guidelines for food allergies. Developed over two years by a panel of nineteen experts, the guidelines suggested avoiding the ingestion of specific allergens as the best strategy for managing allergies, but made no recommendations for medication.
    The panel defined a food allergy as an “adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food." The panel also compiled forty-three recommendations as part of what panel-chair Dr. Joshua A. Boyce called an “important starting point toward a more cogent, evidence-based approach to the diagnosis and management of food allergy.” The NIAID list in intended for use by family practice physicians and other medical experts.
    After an extensive review of the most common food allergies in the United States, studies suggest an increase in the prevalence of allergies to egg, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts over the past 10-20 years. The guidelines further children who suffer these allergies are likely to develop a tolerance to egg, milk, wheat and soy, though peanut and tree nut allergies are expected to continue through adulthood.
    According to the guidelines, properly diagnosing these food allergies is crucial because studies returned evidence that as much as 90% of presumed allergies are indeed not food allergies. The NIAID reviewed the most common tests for accurately identifying allergies, pointing to their various strengths and weaknesses, and highlighted the oral food test as the best option. Those at the highest risk for developing a food allergy were noted to be those which a biological parent or sibling who suffers from similar confirmed allergies.
    While the NIAID has identified those who would be at a higher risk for advancing an allergy, they did not find evidence that would support the delaying exposure to common allergens has a significant effect on the progression of allergy development. Similarly, they do not advocate that nursing mothers restrict their diet to avoid typical allergen triggers during pregnancy and lactation.
    In fact, the guidelines recommend breast-feeding through the first 4-6 months as well as proceeding with vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella which contains small amounts of egg protein. Advances in vaccine development have allowed for decreased levels of egg protein, making them safe to administer.
    The guidelines note that eliminating certain food allergens which can worsen conditions like asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eosinophilic esophagitis, can ease symptoms. They also list epinephrine as the best choice of treatment for anaphylaxis, followed by antihistamines and corticosteroids.
    Together with the vast information the guidelines provide in the fields of science and medicine, the list also points to areas where more research is needed. The NIAID issue of recommendations marks a striking advance in research and will continue to shape future of food allergies.


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    I spoke with my GI's office on Friday and was told the wait time would be 10 months - I kind of indicated that I wasn't sure I could wait that long and she offered to put me on their cancellation list, said this is the best she can do for getting me in any sooner. The GI didn't tell me to start the gluten challenge, I was not aware of how long the wait time was and started eating gluten on my own decision.  And now that I'm on the cancellation list I have to keep eating it so that if I get
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