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Nick_incollege

Can Something Not Be Gluten Free Even If The Label Looks Okay?

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Hey,

 

Question for you guys. I've been gluten free for a year (celiac) and only eat products that 1.) don't contain wheat products in the ingredient list and 2.) don't say anything about being processed in a facility that also processes wheat.

 

So my question is..

 

Can something be processed on lines that also process wheat without having to disclose it on their label? Do you only eat foods that are explicitly labeled as gluten-free, or you've done research/found out they are okay?

 

Because I think I've gotten a reaction from foods whose ingredients/label look okay (i.e., nacho doritos) but I think are cross contaminated even though they don't disclose it. Is that even possible? What do you guys usually do? Is the ingredients list/label enough?

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

Nick

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Nick, I think everyone is different. We have different levels of tolerance. I have the celiac rash which deposits antibodies under the skin & I won't be free of this rash until all the antibodies have left my skin. 2 years strict gluten-free & counting but I'm getting better. The rash is sensitive to the smallest amount of gluten & gluten will just put more antibodies under my skin thus lengthening my time in hell by months or years. For this reason, I am perhaps more cautious than most. Here is a link for Frito Lay & the info. on what's tested & what's not tested but does not contain gluten ingredients. http://www.fritolay.com/your-health/us-products-not-containing-gluten-ingredients.html

Because of my situation, I will only eat the items from the list which they actually test.

Otherwise, I generally only choose items which have the gluten free certification logo on them. See:

http://www.gfco.org/

Of course, there are "trusted companies" such as Kraft who will clearly label any gluten ingredients & also notes if the product was manufactured in a facility that produces products with any of the top 8 allergens & so I trust Kraft products when everything looks kosher on the label.

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Yes products can be manufactured on the same equipment or in the same facility without having to disclose it. That's voluntary.

 

I've had problems with Nacho Doritos before too. Sometimes they were fine but other times not, so now I just avoid them.

 

Sometimes, I do buy products that don't state what the manufacturing situation is, especially if they've been safe for me in the past.

 

But I try to avoid them and if there is a certified gluten-free alternative, I will always buy that instead.

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I try to be aware of the policy companies have. Frito Lay for instance has policies clearly disclosed on its website and I make my choices based on that information. Because I have an extreme amount of time on my hands I do actually call most companies that aren't on my "trusted" list, which isn't something I necessarily advocate that others do. That said, I do sometimes simply make a purchase without doing so. Some products I buy are manufactured in shared facilities but I am comfortable with them after contact with the companies, I never let that statement rule a product out automatically without finding out more.

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The way I look at it:

Shared equipment is like using my toaster for gluten free and gluten full bread. I don't do it.

Shared facilities is like having my gluten free bread in the same pantry with gluten full bread. I don't worry about it.

 

That system has worked very well for me, but I realize I am not as sensitive as some people.

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Thanks everyone!

 

Guess I wasn't gluten-free enough, I'm pretty sure I did get some reactions from cross-contaminated processed food! Which never occured for me before, I assumed FDA rules required a company to disclose whether a food could be cross contaminated (because I saw so many brands that did in fact disclose that information) which as you say isn't true! That would definitely explain my reactions. I've now tried to look up almost all my food, and so far it's worked pretty well.

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I actually had another question on this.

 

I know that if a product is labeled gluten-free, it has not been processed on lines that have also processed wheat, etc.

 

But.. sometimes a website states "this item has been made using gluten-free ingredients". Does that mean it's safe? I.e., are there products out there that don't specify gluten-free on the product (bar-s hot dogs, for example), have a website statement such as the above saying in a wordy way that it's gluten, but have been processed on lines that could be cross-contaminated? I know bar-s hot-dogs are made in a facility that also makes their breaded hot dogs, so I'm not sure if a website statement is as reliable as certified gluten-free label!

 

What do you guys know about this?

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I know that if a product is labeled gluten-free, it has not been processed on lines that have also processed wheat, etc.

Here is the actual FDA rule as published. It says nothing of the sort. Indeed, it says such a provision was deliberately not included. 

But.. sometimes a website states "this item has been made using gluten-free ingredients". Does that mean it's safe?

In general, yes. It means that the company does not intentionally include ingredients containing or derived from gluten grains, but the ingredients and/or the final product are NOT tested for possible accidental contamination, so they won't make a "gluten-free" claim which would create a legal liability.

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Hi NIck,

 

If the product doesn't list wheat, rye, barley or oats and is not made on shared equipment then I will consider it.  As long as it doesn't have any of my other bad list foods on it.  If it was something I wasn't sure about and I really wanted to try it, I'd check on this site by doing a search for the item.  I'd also probably check the manufacturers website for gluten information on the product.  Usually if something is questionable I look for a less questionable item instead, or just skip the whole idea.  There are often less risky alternative foods available that are just as tasty.  Alternatives may take a little more cooking but that's ok.  Cooking is good stuff to learn.

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