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Gluten Free Label With Less Than 20 Parts Per Million

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There are two parts to this.

1. The threshold defined by FDA rules allows 20 ppm; any level below that, including zero, is fine too. We all want zero ppm, but I realize that that is a goal, not a reality.

2. When an amount appears on a label, it indicates that the product has been actually tested for gluten content, and tested negative at the noted level. If it just says "gluten-free" it may not have been tested at all. Any test will have a threshold, and 20 ppm is a common middle ground between extreme sensitivity and high cost. More sensitive tests exist, but how much did you want to pay for your food? It is scientifically impossible to prove zero content.

So, I welcome such statements, which mean that the manufacturer not only does not include gluten on purpose, but also checks at some level for accidental contamination.

YMMV.

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Thank you!  For especially agreeing ....it's either "there is gluten OR no gluten"  I wish they would make up their mind!

This morning I called Cheerios, because of the labelling on the front "Gluten Free".....On the Regular Cheerios and also the Honey Nut Cheerios

there are 2 ingredients:  Whole grain oats, oat bran---It is not specified that these ingredients are gluten free unless it says in the actual ingredients gluten-free whole grain oats or gluten-free oat bran.  I will not inform my customers (at the supermarket) to purchase these items unless the Company investigates and corrects this outlandish false advertisement of being "gluten free".  This poses a huge dis-service to the large population of people with Celiac disease.  If there is a single speck of gluten, I would not advise anybody to eat this cereal.  Do you want your original symptoms back?  I do not!  Have we all gone through enough suffering and torment.....Take the gluten out!  Whole wheat, bulghur wheat, oat, rye, barley and all of their derivatives should not be eaten by a person with Celiac disease, period!  

 

Do all of us have to band together and get a petition to stop Cheerios?  Then let's do it!

 

RE items that have gluten but are less than 20 parts per million still safe?  My doctor says no.

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Unless the ingredients in an oat-based product say "Certified gluten-free oats", I wouldn't eat it. Most oats are contaminated from being grown in the same field, harvested on the same equipment, and stored it the same bins as wheat. Even then, some (but by no means all) celiacs react to certified gluten-free oats.

 

Most gluten-free items that are tested are only tested for less than 20 PPM because the tests for 10 or 5 PPM are a lot more expensive. But if the label says "less than 20 PPM", that doesn't mean it has 19 PPM. Could be anywhere between zero and 19. I've never had a reaction to anything that has the "less than 20 PPM" label. But that's just me.

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You might be interested in reading this about Cheerios:

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/gluten-free-cheerios-take-two/

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Based on studies by celiac experts, the "less than 20 PPM" is deemed safe and should not cause intestinal damage.

You might find this interesting reading from the FDA:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/Allergens/ucm362880.htm

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to be safest, only if that product has been certified gluten free by one of the official certification organizations--CSA, GIG, or NFCA---their certifying label should be on the product--the FDA uses 20ppm as their threshold level and that should be fine for most celiacs--at that level you could eat a pound of such food and still be at only a total of 10mgs of gluten a day which is generally regarded as a safe level---meaning no damage should occur---the certifying orgs actually use stricter levels---5ppm for CSA, and 10ppm for GIG and NFCA---so checking for their labels is best--otherwise you are relying on the food manufacturer itself; the FDA is not actually doing the testing---they just established the level and expect the manufacturer to comply---supposedly there will be periodic checks or they will investigate complaints. As far as CHEERIOS gluten-free, I believe Trish Thompson of The gluten-free Watchdog has been working with them, but I don't think she was ready to fully approve---I believe that was the most recent update---you can check  

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if label indicates less than 20ppm as regulated by FDA that indicates that company has made that measurement and is complying with FDA regulations and hopefuly that company can be trusted--this is still a "new" venture and I guess we will find out who can or cannot be trusted--that is why I advised checking for one of the certifying organizations' labels as they are all national celiac organizations and have been doing this already for many years well before the FDA made their own regulation plus they do use stricter levels---if you do trust a product labeled gluten-free at less than 20ppm, you should be able to eat a pound of such food safely-20ppm=20mgs gluten per kg of food----and 10mgs of gluten daily is considered a safe level so as long as you are not eating more than a pound of such food you should not exceed that 10mg level--of course that is for the majority---there is always individual variability and some will tolerate more, others less

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A little over a year ago I attended a one day workshop led by Shelley Case, author of "The Gluten~Free Diet, A Comprehensive Resource Guide". She has worked extensively with both the U.S. FDA and Canadian version (CDR - I believe I have that correct) in regards to gluten free labeling. She is extremely well educated and knowledgeable when it comes to the Celiac disease. According to her, when a product is labeled gluten free, less than 20ppm, then the company has indeed tested for that. She further stated that the majority of company's do, in fact, test for less and most labeled products have far less than the 20ppm even tho not so stated on the label. A food product company does not want gluten free/celiacs to consume their product and then get sick. It makes sense. Eat a mislabeled product consumer get sick, they stop buying said product. The food companies want you to buy their product. A consumer also needs to keep in mind that when consuming a gluten free food product you are also consuming a list of other ingredients (maltodextrin, maltose, soy, xantham gum etc) any number of which can cause "glutend" type symptoms.

Also, if you safely consume a food product that has 5ppm but eat four or five more food products all containing the same 5ppm then you can exceed what is considered "safe" over the course of a day.

For what it's worth. For myself, everything Shelly Case had to say made perfect sense.

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A little over a year ago I attended a one day workshop led by Shelley Case, author of "The Gluten~Free Diet, A Comprehensive Resource Guide". She has worked extensively with both the U.S. FDA and Canadian version (CDR - I believe I have that correct) in regards to gluten free labeling. She is extremely well educated and knowledgeable when it comes to the Celiac disease. According to her, when a product is labeled gluten free, less than 20ppm, then the company has indeed tested for that. She further stated that the majority of company's do, in fact, test for less and most labeled products have far less than the 20ppm even tho not so stated on the label. A food product company does not want gluten free/celiacs to consume their product and then get sick. It makes sense. Eat a mislabeled product consumer get sick, they stop buying said product. The food companies want you to buy their product. A consumer also needs to keep in mind that when consuming a gluten free food product you are also consuming a list of other ingredients (maltodextrin, maltose, soy, xantham gum etc) any number of which can cause "glutend" type symptoms.Also, if you safely consume a food product that has 5ppm but eat four or five more food products all containing the same 5ppm then you can exceed what is considered "safe" over the course of a day.For what it's worth. For myself, everything Shelly Case had to say made perfect sense.

I don't think that last part is quite right. You don't add 5ppm + 5 ppm and it equal 10 ppm. It's 5 ppm in a million then another 5 ppm and its 999,995 non gluten ppm. So now you have 5 ppm in 2 million - each million contains 5. Maybe you could say you now have 10 parts per 2 million? But that is still, when reduced down, 5 part per 1 million.

I think Dr collatrella has done a good job of explaining it. This parts per million is hard to understand.

Edit - this doesn't even address if there are actually 5 ppm of gluten at all. The test can only say less than 10 ppm or 5 or 20. It doesn't say exactly " 2 ppm". So, returning to some basic math - <5. Could be 0 or 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 .

Edited by kareng

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A lot of unnecessarily complicated arithmetic can be trotted out when it comes to parts per million (ppm). Even if the content of everything you ate was 19 ppm, you would not ingest a level believed harmful on a normal diet. Two items at 5 ppm are the sum of the two items, still at 5 pm overall.

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Sooo, per the GFWD posting it seems that there could be many boxes of contaminated cereal out there (how many boxes do they produce in 24 hrs?) but when averaged out the batch tests to under 20 ppm and is labeled as safe. I'm not liking my odds on this and I sure do miss Cheerios! I think I will continue to wait.

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