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    EU Debuts New Standards for Foods with 'Gluten-Free' Label


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 02/06/2009 - The European Union’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued new rules for foods carrying the ‘gluten-free’ label. Under the new rules, foods labeled ‘gluten-free’ must have less than 20 parts of gluten per million. This new standard represents a ten-fold reduction over the prior rules, which set the gluten limit at 200 parts per million.


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    The FSA also established a separate labeling category for cereals that have been specially processed to reduce gluten to levels below 100 parts per million. These foods may not be labeled ‘gluten-free,’ but must carry some other label such as ‘gluten-reduced,’ or ‘very-low gluten.’ The FSA indicates that the exact labeling for such products should be undertaken at the national level.

    Foods that are naturally gluten-free and acceptable for a gluten-free diet cannot be labeled as ‘gluten-free,’ or ‘special-diet,’ but may say that they are ‘naturally gluten-free.’  The rules require the term ‘gluten-free’ or ‘very-low gluten’ to appear prominently on the package label in a way that indicates the “true nature of the food.” These rules are designed to help people with celiac disease make more informed decisions about the gluten content of the food they eat.

    The new rules provide strict definitions for gluten and related grains and proteins, and gluten-free foods, and mandates standards for testing and measuring gluten levels in food.

    They also mandate that quantitative determination of gluten in foods and ingredients be based on an immunologic method or other method providing at least equal sensitivity and specificity, and that all testing done on equipment sensitive to gluten at 10 mg gluten/kg or below.

    The rules cite the Enzyme-linked Immunoassay (ELISA) R5 Mendez method as the officially sanctioned qualitative analysis method for determining gluten presence in food.

    European food makers can voluntarily adopt the new labeling system any time. Compliance becomes mandatory for all EU food makers on Jan. 1, 2012. Regarding the three-year delay, the FSA cited a need on the part of some manufacturers for time to make formulation and packaging changes.

    * Sources: Food Standards Agency: New rules for 'gluten free' foods


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    Guest Jay Pechman

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    Good article about how celiacs all over the world are handling issues.

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    Guest Alice Kuijf

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    For all those truly sensitive celiacs this new standard will improve our health. Now, it's so tempting to buy 'so called' gluten free products and after all suffer the consequences.

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    Scott Adams
    The following letter was prepared by Nancy of the Gluten Intolerance Group in Seattle, WA:
     
    Directions:
    Find your representatives e-mail addresses at: http://www.house.gov/writerep/. Highlight the letter below with your mouse. Copy (Control-C) it to your notepad. Paste it (Control-V) into an e-mail to them, or into the e-mail form at the site above. Representative or Senator
    Address
    Honorable (Senator)
    Or
    Distinguished (Representative)
    I urge you to cosponsor the legislation that Representative Nita Lowey and Senator Edward Kennedy will introduce to tighten the regulation of food-allergens. Millions of Americans have food allergies, and each year about 150 people in the United States die from anaphylactic shock caused by a food allergy. Metabolic disorders, such as gluten intolerance, also require careful and strict elimination of certain foods from a persons diet to maintain normal health. Over 1.3 million people in the USA suffer from gluten intolerance, which requires strict elimination of wheat, rye and barley from the diet.
    A 2000 survey conducted jointly by the Food and Drug Administration, Minnesota, and Wisconsin found that one-quarter of the bakery products, candy, and ice cream sampled were contaminated with peanut or egg ingredients that were not declared on the product labels. Undeclared allergens may cause immediate reactions, or slow destruction of the intestine and long-term health complications associated with malnutrition.
    Representative Lowey has said that the legislation would require companies to list the major allergens (including those in spices, flavorings, and colorings) by their common English names and to include a telephone number on the label that consumers could call for more information. The legislation would also require manufacturers to better prevent cross-contact between products made in the same facility or on the same production line, allow the Food and Drug Administration to assess penalties against firms that violate the food allergen requirements, and require the Centers for Disease Control to establish a system for tracking food allergy-related deaths. In addition, Congress should also require companies to indicate on labels that the food may contain allergens when the possibility of contamination cannot be totally excluded.
    Rye and barley must be included in the list of allergens declared on labels. This addition will better serve all persons with allergies and intolerances.
    I urge you to cosponsor this important public health legislation, with the above-recommended addition.
    Sincerely,

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/10/2011 - For growing numbers of Americans, and millions overall, it is important to eat food that is gluten-free. For these people, maintaining good health, and avoiding serious and unpleasant side effects means avoiding gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
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    Because the FDA has no current standard for the term, "gluten-free" means essentially whatever any given manufacturer wants it to mean. Thus, a "gluten-free" label does not mean that a food is free of any and all gluten, or even that it's free of all but trace amounts.
    There should be a gluten-free standard by now, but there is not. In 2004, Congress passed a law requiring the Food and Drug Administration to define the phrase 'gluten-free' by 2008. That deadline passed with the FDA providing no such definition, and we still have no official ruling today, in 2011.
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    Often, gluten can hide deep inside an ingredient list, as such ingredients as "caramel coloring," "emulsifiers," "natural juices" and dozens of other common additives may or may not contain gluten, depending on where and how those ingredients were made.
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    Scott Adams
    Celiac.com 08/05/2013 - People with celiac disease can now have confidence in the meaning of a "gluten-free" label on foods.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/06/2015 - Australia is home to some of the most stringent gluten-free product standards in the world. Under current standards, all “gluten free" products sold in Australia must contain about three parts or fewer per million.
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  • Recent Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/18/2018 - Celiac disease has been mainly associated with Caucasian populations in Northern Europe, and their descendants in other countries, but new scientific evidence is beginning to challenge that view. Still, the exact global prevalence of celiac disease remains unknown.  To get better data on that issue, a team of researchers recently conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis to get a reasonably accurate estimate the global prevalence of celiac disease. 
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    Overall global prevalence of celiac disease was 1.4% in 275,818 individuals, based on positive blood tests for anti-tissue transglutaminase and/or anti-endomysial antibodies. The pooled global prevalence of biopsy-confirmed celiac disease was 0.7% in 138,792 individuals. That means that numerous people with celiac disease potentially remain undiagnosed.
    Rates of celiac disease were 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania; the prevalence was 0.6% in female vs 0.4% males. Celiac disease was significantly more common in children than adults.
    This systematic review and meta-analysis showed celiac disease to be reported worldwide. Blood test data shows celiac disease rate of 1.4%, while biopsy data shows 0.7%. The prevalence of celiac disease varies with sex, age, and location. 
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    Source:
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;16(6):823-836.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.06.037.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/16/2018 - Summer is the time for chips and salsa. This fresh salsa recipe relies on cabbage, yes, cabbage, as a secret ingredient. The cabbage brings a delicious flavor and helps the salsa hold together nicely for scooping with your favorite chips. The result is a fresh, tasty salsa that goes great with guacamole.
    Ingredients:
    3 cups ripe fresh tomatoes, diced 1 cup shredded green cabbage ½ cup diced yellow onion ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeno, seeded 1 Serrano pepper, seeded 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 garlic cloves, minced salt to taste black pepper, to taste Directions:
    Purée all ingredients together in a blender.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
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    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    Celiac.com 06/15/2018 - There seems to be widespread agreement in the published medical research reports that stuttering is driven by abnormalities in the brain. Sometimes these are the result of brain injuries resulting from a stroke. Other types of brain injuries can also result in stuttering. Patients with Parkinson’s disease who were treated with stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, an area of the brain that regulates some motor functions, experienced a return or worsening of stuttering that improved when the stimulation was turned off (1). Similarly, stroke has also been reported in association with acquired stuttering (2). While there are some reports of psychological mechanisms underlying stuttering, a majority of reports seem to favor altered brain morphology and/or function as the root of stuttering (3). Reports of structural differences between the brain hemispheres that are absent in those who do not stutter are also common (4). About 5% of children stutter, beginning sometime around age 3, during the phase of speech acquisition. However, about 75% of these cases resolve without intervention, before reaching their teens (5). Some cases of aphasia, a loss of speech production or understanding, have been reported in association with damage or changes to one or more of the language centers of the brain (6). Stuttering may sometimes arise from changes or damage to these same language centers (7). Thus, many stutterers have abnormalities in the same regions of the brain similar to those seen in aphasia.
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    Whatever the reason that stuttering has not been reported in the medical literature in association with gluten ingestion, a number of personal disclosures and comments suggesting a connection between gluten and stuttering can be found on the Internet. Abid Hussain, in an article about food allergy and stuttering said: “The most common food allergy prevalent in stutterers is that of gluten which has been found to aggravate the stutter” (10). Similarly, Craig Forsythe posted an article that includes five cases of self-reporting individuals who believe that their stuttering is or was connected to gluten, one of whom also experiences stuttering from foods containing yeast (11). The same site contains one report of a stutterer who has had no relief despite following a gluten free diet for 20 years (11). Another stutterer, Jay88, reports the complete disappearance of her/his stammer on a gluten free diet (12). Doubtless there are many more such anecdotes to be found on the Internet* but we have to question them, exercising more skepticism than we might when reading similar claims in a peer reviewed scientific or medical journal.
    There are many reports in such journals connecting brain and neurological ailments with gluten, so it is not much of a stretch, on that basis alone, to suspect that stuttering may be a symptom of the gluten syndrome. Rodney Ford has even characterized celiac disease as an ailment that may begin through gluten-induced neurological damage (13) and Marios Hadjivassiliou and his group of neurologists and neurological investigators have devoted considerable time and effort to research that reveals gluten as an important factor in a majority of neurological diseases of unknown origin (14) which, as I have pointed out previously, includes most neurological ailments.
    My own experience with stuttering is limited. I stuttered as a child when I became nervous, upset, or self-conscious. Although I have been gluten free for many years, I haven’t noticed any impact on my inclination to stutter when upset. I don’t know if they are related, but I have also had challenges with speaking when distressed and I have noticed a substantial improvement in this area since removing gluten from my diet. Nonetheless, I have long wondered if there is a connection between gluten consumption and stuttering. Having done the research for this article, I would now encourage stutterers to try a gluten free diet for six months to see if it will reduce or eliminate their stutter. Meanwhile, I hope that some investigator out there will research this matter, publish her findings, and start the ball rolling toward getting some definitive answers to this question.
    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/14/2018 - Refractory celiac disease type II (RCDII) is a rare complication of celiac disease that has high death rates. To diagnose RCDII, doctors identify a clonal population of phenotypically aberrant intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). 
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    They also noted a higher frequency of surface CD3(−) IELs in cases with clonal TCR-GR, but the PCP pattern showed no associations with any clinical or pathological feature. 
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    Source:
    Journal of Clinical Pathologyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205023

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/13/2018 - There have been numerous reports that olmesartan, aka Benicar, seems to trigger sprue‐like enteropathy in many patients, but so far, studies have produced mixed results, and there really hasn’t been a rigorous study of the issue. A team of researchers recently set out to assess whether olmesartan is associated with a higher rate of enteropathy compared with other angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
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    To get solid data on the issue, the team conducted a cohort study among ARB initiators in 5 US claims databases covering numerous health insurers. They used Cox regression models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for enteropathy‐related outcomes, including celiac disease, malabsorption, concomitant diagnoses of diarrhea and weight loss, and non‐infectious enteropathy. In all, they found nearly two million eligible patients. 
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    After PS matching comparing olmesartan to other ARBs, hazard ratios were 1.21 (95% CI, 1.05‐1.40), 1.00 (95% CI, 0.88‐1.13), 1.22 (95% CI, 1.10‐1.36) and 1.04 (95% CI, 1.01‐1.07) for each outcome. Patients aged 65 years and older showed greater hazard ratios for celiac disease, as did patients receiving treatment for more than 1 year, and patients receiving higher cumulative olmesartan doses.
    This is the first comprehensive multi‐database study to document a higher rate of enteropathy in olmesartan initiators as compared to initiators of other ARBs, though absolute rates were low for both groups.
    Source:
    Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics