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What is the Gluten Content of Foods Sold as Gluten-free?

Celiac.com 12/02/2013 - There really hasn't been too much research into gluten levels of products labeled and sold as 'gluten-free in the U.S. A team of researchers recently set out to try to get an idea of gluten levels in food being labeled and sold as 'gluten-free.'

Photo: CC--anneh632The good news is that that vast majority of gluten-free foods sampled in their small study were, in fact, gluten-free, and many registered detectable gluten levels far below the 20 ppm allowed by law.

The research team tested three different samples of 112 separate products, for a total of 336 packages tested. They tested each sample twice, for a total of 672 extractions.

Of the 112 products tested, 36 products (32%) were certified gluten-free by either the Gluten Free Certification Organization (32 products) or the Celiac Sprue Association (4 products). Only four products (i.e., bread, hot cereal, tortilla, cookie) from three manufacturers tested at or above 20 ppm gluten. Three of these products were not certified gluten-free; one product was certified gluten-free.

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While 9.4% of extractions contained quantifiable gluten, the vast majority of manufacturers are in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s gluten-free labeling rule.

Overall, 97.5 percent of extractions tested below 20 ppm gluten. Of the extractions in compliance, 93% tested below 5 ppm gluten, which is the lower limit of quantification for the assay used.

Based on the findings of this evaluation, many manufacturers are currently producing food that tests below the 20ppm threshold level of gluten that is currently allowed by the FDA.

Gluten-free consumers can take comfort in the knowledge that the vast majority of manufacturers who are designating food as gluten-free are complying with the FDA’s labeling rule.

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5 Responses:

 
Donnie
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
09 Dec 2013 6:59:05 AM PDT
Unfortunately, celiacs have no way of knowing in advance, which GF food products do not comply. We have to find out the hard way, that they are not gluten free enough, after we get symptoms of glutening. This has happened to me several times, after eating foods clearly marked gluten free. I've contacted companies and have been told that they use the same production lines for gluten free and gluten containing products, but they clean the lines between runs. Well, not good enough, in many cases.

 
Margo
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said this on
09 Dec 2013 7:36:24 AM PDT
Now I'm wondering if the tortilla that may have tested at or above 20 ppm was Food For Life brown rice tortillas or Mission corn tortillas, both of which I eat quite frequently. I wish there were certified GF corn tortillas out there and crunchy taco shells too.

 
Hayley
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said this on
09 Dec 2013 1:53:43 PM PDT
It would have been nice to know the four that tested above 20 ppm. Especially the one that is certified gluten free. But thank you for doing this test, it does feel better to know that when I do treat myself the numbers are low enough to hopefully not do any damage.

 
Babsesl

said this on
09 Dec 2013 2:44:13 PM PDT
Always nice to hear some good news.

 
Yomammy
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
26 Jan 2014 4:23:48 PM PDT
Should have told us what and who tested over the limits.




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