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Gluten-Free Safety Starts Here

Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Spring 2016 Issue - Originally published April 14, 2016

Celiac.com 05/24/2016 - How many of us have suffered from cross contamination? Most celiacs have felt the side effects of getting gluten in their food. If it is not your own kitchen, utensils, pots or pans it can be a bit nerve racking. It is not only extremely unpleasant, but unhealthy to our intestines as well. It can cause damage that can be very detrimental in the long run.

Photo: CC--Joe LewlsThis is exactly why the gluten-free label is particularly important. This gives celiacs a sense of safety, like a security blanket. However, how is that labeling decided upon? What certifications are really used? What standards are considered to ensure that it is 20 parts per million (ppm) or even less? Just think about the danger that can occur if something has to be recalled. For example, let's take a look at General Mills Cheerios versus Udi's Gluten-Free Foods.

Now, Udi's is certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which is an industry program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG.) Whereas Cheerios, takes the oats, used to make the cereal, and puts it through a proprietary, mechanical system. This is supposed to remove any cross-contamination from wheat, barley or rye, according to General Mills. How safe is this for individuals with celiac disease? This is why standards are very vital.

Now, the GFCO requires that all finished products' ingredients, using their logo, contain 10ppm or even less of gluten. It requires a stringent review process, in order to gain approval. Plus, barley-based ingredients are absolutely not allowed, under any circumstances.

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Then, you look at Cheerios and the differences are as plain as day. Recently, there was a major recall of 1.8 million boxes due to an error where a gluten ingredient was accidentally added. General Mills issued a recall of some Original Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios cereal because some boxes were labeled as gluten-free but actually contained wheat.

This is absolutely not safe for the celiac community. This improper labeling can be dangerous and there are no certifications or review processes like the GFCO. The thought of becoming ill from the cross-contamination is not on any celiac's to do list. Having certified oats versus regular oats is safer that simply having the wheat washed out. The oat fields are way too close to the wheat fields.

In the end, which would you rather purchase? There is Certified Gluten Free Foods versus just gluten-free foods. Think about your villi because they really should be up and not down!

References:

  1. Udi's Gluten Free - FAQs. Retrieved from: http://udisglutenfree.com/faq/
  2. Gluten Intolerance Group - The Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Retrieved from http://www.gfco.org/
  3. CNBC - General Mills recalls 1.8M Cheerios boxes for allergens. Retrieved from http://www.glutenfreeliving.com/gluten-free-foods/diet/gluten-free-cheerios/
  4. Gluten Free Living - Gluten-Free Cheerios. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/05/general-mills-recalls-cheerios-for-allergen-issue.html

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Yes the first has wheat gluten in the ingredients, the second via the wheat flour. Here in the UK manufacturers HAVE to highlight gluten sources. Check the ingredients and if WHEAT, BARLEY, or RYE are mentioned *usually highlighted, italicised or underlined, then you will know there's gluten. Most of iceland's processed foods will probably be gluten filled to be honest. Any breadcrumbed or battered foods for instance. Ps, you and me both have another disease, the british one of apologising You don't need to, you're very welcome here and all of your questions are valid and understandable. It's going to get better

Hi, I am deeply sorry for posting on here again. As I am scheduled for an Endoscopy on the 9th May, I wanted to make sure that my gluten intake is being kept the same. I was wondering if the ingredients to these products contain gluten even though dextrose is in one of them? http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/iceland-32-breaded-chicken-nuggets-448g/p/52275 Chicken Breast Fillet (60%), Water, Wheat Flour, Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Dextrose, Salt, Yeast), Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, White Pepper, Dried Sage. http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/iceland-10-breaded-chicken-burgers-550g/p/52276 Chicken Breast Fillet (60%), Water, Wheat Flour, Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Dextrose, Salt, Yeast), Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, White Pepper, Dried Sage. Thank you for all your help so far,

JMG got it down pretty much, the painful and gluten effects from eating it should clear up in a month, damage symptoms you might notice some differences as early as 2-4months but most do not noticed major improvements til about 6 months to a year. I have been gluten-free for over 3 years all my villi have healed according to the doctor on my last scope. It is very important to not cheat and avoid any kind of CC as it can set you back weeks or months. I would suggest a whole foods only diet for the first month or two, no dairy, simple stews, soups, etc. make for easy to digest and simple meals. Check out the 101 thread for some good information. PS a new combo crockpot, steamer, rice cooker combo and liners for a crock pot will be a life saver for making simple meals and easy clean ups. Quick cook microwave ware will also be handy making sure you have gluten-free cooked meals if you can not get new cookware immediately. I normally suggest cleaning out the entire house, scrubbing down knobs, handles, on the drawers, sink, fridge, cubbards etc. throw out condiment jars, checking ingredients on everything in the house including your hygiene and makeup. Putting in drawer organizers for new utensils, throwing out scratched glass, teflon, plastic, and steel cookware. Throwing out any Tupperware, and cutting boards, some utensils that can not be cleaned well. Some times you can save cast iron and stainless steel cook ware if you can run it in your ovens cleaning cycle over 600F. Gluten is a protein like blood if you can not clean a item where a CSI team will not find it give it up, it is not a germ that can be killed with disinfectant. I use freezer paper for clean prep surfaces, also makes clean up a breeze, I tend to use gloves alot also when fixing foods,

Hi Allie and welcome First off, I know 3 years was a long wait, but at 17 you've figured out celiac way before many people do. That should make a big impact on minimising its effects and helping you with the diet, so, bizarrely enough, congratulations! A lot of good advice has been brought together in this thread: Don't worry that your symptoms are bad now. As you follow the diet your body will begin healing itself and you're still very young so hopefully this will go really smoothly. Think in terms of the next 6 months rather than weeks however, recovery will likely take a little time. Eat as healthily as you can, lots of whole foods and try to avoid the gluten free processed substitutes as your digestive system needs all the help it can get at this moment. You may want to avoid dairy as well for now and think about reintroducing it later. This site has been really helpful to me and others. I hope you find it just as useful. Best of luck! ps, your increased reaction to gluten during the challenge phase was perfectly normal. Many find that reintroducing it much worse than the initial affects and take some time to get over the challenge. That's why you'll see lots of posts here urging folks to 'stay on gluten' till their testing is complete! PPS( ) Inasmuch as your post can convey emotion, your's seemed positive Stay that way! At times the diet can be a bit isolating and some friends and family may struggle to understand. I'm sure it will be difficult at times making good choices and staying vigilant when everyone around you doesn't have to think twice. Stick with it, your health is paramount and it will be worthwhile. In time your good friends will get it and those that don't aren't worth worrying about. There are great foods you can eat and if not, learn to cook them yourself

Hi! My daughter is 19 was diagnosed at age 16. It took about 12-18 month s for her to fully heal from the damage and feel "normal" again. Also because of the damage done she had reactions to dairy, so you may want to try no or minimum dairy until youre fully healed. Just a suggestion. Hope you start feeling well soon!