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Do You Eat Foods Produced On Shared Lines?

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I have been under the impression that I should avoid ALL gluten - not just what is listed on the label - but also foods that may contain gluten by being produced on lines that also produce gluten-containing foods. Yet, while researching Easter candy, I see most of the candies listed in the gluten-free lists are made on shared lines. Do people with celiac eat these? I always thought we had to steer clear of these due to the risk of cross contamination, yet they are on gluten-free lists. So, what's the deal?

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I have been under the impression that I should avoid ALL gluten - not just what is listed on the label - but also foods that may contain gluten by being produced on lines that also produce gluten-containing foods. Yet, while researching Easter candy, I see most of the candies listed in the gluten-free lists are made on shared lines. Do people with celiac eat these? I always thought we had to steer clear of these due to the risk of cross contamination, yet they are on gluten-free lists. So, what's the deal?

This might help - I'm allergic to nuts. When I eat food that doesn't have nuts, but have been produced on lines that have been used for foods containing nuts (or facilities that produce foods with nuts), I get severe allergic reactions. This is why I avoid things that are gluten-free but produced on shared equipment. It's just like nuts - they can't get it completely cleaned. You'll still get trace amounts. Some people don't react to a little bit, but it's there.

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My short answer is that I try not to because I am very sensitive to CC. However, I plan to risk it this year and try a marshmallow peep (assuming they are also dairy free I have not checked that yet). :ph34r:

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There are some things that I will do: whipped creme chocolate Easter eggs from (damn I cant remember the brand) at Walgreen's...shared equipment, but I eat them maybe 1 a week with no problems. I called Bergen Nut Co and they said no dont do it...so I dont. I figure the company should know how much contamination is possible and if they tell me No--I dont chance it! Terri o

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... researching Easter candy, I see most of the candies listed in the gluten-free lists are made on shared lines...I always thought we had to steer clear of these due to the risk of cross contamination, yet they are on gluten-free lists. So, what's the deal?

There's a few reasons these are called gluten-free, I believe.

1. In the USA, the law that would regulate what is required for something to be gluten free isn't in effect yet. So some companies can fudge a bit on the whole 'gluten free' label. If they don't add gluten on purpose, some companies are calling their food gluten-free. When the law was going to be finalized by a certain date, I would call companies and they said they were not putting gluten-free on their labels until they knew what the regulation would be. Now that the law is three years overdue, I notice that more and more companies are going ahead and putting 'gluten free' on their products, even for foods that are on shared lines, aren't tested, and are really just 'no gluten ingredients added.' <_<

2. But, some companies do test all batches of their product, so even on shared lines, they can at least guarantee that the gluten cc is below a certain level. I'd trust those more, at least.

3. A lot of Celiacs have no or little reaction to low levels of gluten cc, so they can eat these products with little to no problem, most of the time. I think that's why the products end up on a lot of lists. The companies are giving out the info, and many people are eating them and not noticing any problems.

I tend to get sick from shared-line products quite a bit, however, so I stay away from them. I also think that one of the risks of eating foods from shared lines is that while you might have a batch or two that are okay, the risk for a more contaminated batch is higher with a shared line than a gluten-free line.

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My bottom line is to avoid anything on shared lines except... chocolate. :rolleyes:

Seriously, my protein shake turned out to be "make in a facility that also processes wheat." So I instantly ditched it and found another.

But when it comes to chocolate B) I will try it...on the holidays...just a lil treat now and then. ;)

If I react to something....then I never eat it again....or not for a really long time.

You gotta make your own standards sometimes...especially with there being no consensus on what is gluten free.

It's not like going out and eating pizza...but seriously....that is as gluten free as they can make it...so I go ahead and try it...just so I can break the monotony of chicken and vegetables every now and then.

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From what I'm seeing, there are claims that the lines are cleaned, so I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not. I just started this diet and was looking forward to having some Easter treats, but I don't want to chance it if it could make me sick.

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This is a grey area that I'm not sure what to do. I'm not super-sensitive, so it's hard to know when & if I get contaminated. But, from what I understand, even if a teeny bit is ingested, there is an internal physical reaction of some kind. So that would mean avoiding any potential of cross-contamination which would include shared lines, produced in a facility that processes wheat, etc.

I'm glad you started this thread because I need some direction, too! :)

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I do not--it's an individual thing, though.

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I have gotten sick from eating something that was produced on a shared line. I am willing, though, to eat something from a shared facility. It really is an individual thing.

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Just can't bring myself to do it. I feel like it's all or nothing with me and must, knowing my personality type (!), go the full 100%. I don't get sick from gluten (i.e. was accidentally glutened, felt good on my gluten challenge) so must be extra, extra careful in case I do get glutened without knowing it.

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My kitchen is a "shared line". My two teen boys and my wife eat gluten in the house so there's always a risk.

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You make a good point GuyC. I also have a dual kitchen with lots of cross-contamination potential. Even today, I had to make jelly sandwiches for the kids on whole wheat bread.

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From what I'm seeing, there are claims that the lines are cleaned, so I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not.

Sort of, but honestly, from what I've seen, the claims of how much difference it makes haven't really been studied all that well. I could be wrong - would love if someone has any studies they've ever found that they have links to!

The closest to research I've found was a summation of a study that was being presented at a conference. It had looked at three different equipment cleaning protocols that are commonly used in the food industry, and how well these three protocols cleaned away milk, eggs, or peanut proteins from the machines. They also looked at machines with smooth parts vs. those that have 'abraded' areas, or rougher parts (it didn't specify, but I'm assuming perhaps small gear areas, perhaps?).

The results were that:

1. Some protocols were better than others, but there were still differences solely due to allergen as well as due to cleaning protocol.

2. Some cleaning protocols were pretty close to no detectable allergens, but what that means depends on what test they were using. Like, cleaning gluten from a machine so that it is 100% gluten free might mean it had less than 20ppm, or it could mean it had less than 5ppm, depending on which test the company used. So...that one's easy to have some differing results on.

3. Some cleaning protocols did better with equipment that was very smooth vs. equipment that had parts that were 'abraded,' some did better with rougher equipment. Which is just...weird, eh?

So, what that says to me is that some cleaning protocols might do better at eliminating gluten from machines...but I don't believe it's been studied to see which does best with gluten specifically. It's hard to determine how well the cleaning works for our allergen unless a company is testing the food for gluten. And the equipment's abraded/unabraded state could be an issue, too. Although if you wish to make some calls to see what a company in question does, if they don't test for gluten, the juice products association type 4 wash protocol did the best out of all three.

Also, these protocols involved layer upon layer of cleaning. With soaking in certain solutions, plus flushing or washing or degreasing solutions, too. It wasn't just a quick wash, and even with all that, there was still detectable allergens remaining, although all of them eliminated at least 80% of the detectable allergens.

As for our houses being 'shared equipment,' that's only partly true. Yes, it's shared, but our experience differs from a factory's in a significant way. We aren't typically making food at home with equipment that we can't fully access, like small tubes, belts, gears, and such. That's the stuff we got rid of, like shared toasters. But inaccessibility is more common for equipment in factories.

So we actually have a much better chance of keeping some shared equipment safe and gluten free than a company does, honestly.

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My daughter eats products off of shared lines. She has not had any problems that I couldn't trace back to something I did wrong :ph34r: Yearly follow-up blood tests have always been good.

It depends on the sensitivity level of the individual.

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My kitchen is a "shared line". My two teen boys and my wife eat gluten in the house so there's always a risk.

My husband only eats gluten outside of the kitchen and if he has a piece of pizza, for example, he knows to go downstairs. Oh, except for bread but he has his own knife, cutting board and prep area and thankfully is very good at scrubbing and cleaning so our risk is pretty darned low. :) In fact, he almost never has bread or other gluten at home for my sake.

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for now, no. But perhaps I will try shared facilities in the future. Never shared equipment though, considering the problem I've had with trace amounts of soy.

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My kitchen is a "shared line". My two teen boys and my wife eat gluten in the house so there's always a risk.

My kitchen is a shared line as well, but I know my cleaning practices

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Some people react, some don't. For me, when it's stated on the product (which I don't believe the company is required to do) I avoid shared lines. But shared facilities don't seem to be an issue for me, so I eat that without worrying.

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Kate79, you are correct that labeling shared equipment and/or facilities is completely voluntary in both the US and Canada.

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It all depends on how sensitive you are. For me, I can eat candy processes on shared lines, but not cereal. If I have a craving for something I test it out with small sample so I don't get overly sick like with a full meal.

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I am not super sensitive but if I have a choice I avoid items made on shared lines. I don't eat a lot of processed foods so it isn't as much of an issue but I just feel safer not. I know most of our homes are "shared" but I do the cleaning so I know how clean it is! Just a little quirk I guess. :)

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My kitchen is a "shared line". My two teen boys and my wife eat gluten in the house so there's always a risk.

This has always been my line of thinking. If I want something that is guaranteed 100% safe, I eat an apple.

I do think, though, that in the first stages of healing, avoiding any CC is the best way to go. Now that I've been gluten-free for 5+ years, I have a little more "give" when it comes to CC.

I have also read in several different places that the FDA requirements for cleaning the assembly lines are so strict that it would be rather rare (not unheard of, just unlikely) for gluten to survive the cleaning process.

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This has always been my line of thinking. If I want something that is guaranteed 100% safe, I eat an apple.

As long as we clean it with soap and water, eh? :D The moment I saw a little boy eating a cookie as he sat in a grocery cart, reach out and play with some produce, and have his mom put it back with the other fruits? That kind of ruined the whole '100% safe' thought process on produce for me, sigh. <_<

I have also read in several different places that the FDA requirements for cleaning the assembly lines are so strict that it would be rather rare (not unheard of, just unlikely) for gluten to survive the cleaning process.

Not that rare, actually. The cleaning protocols are pretty consistent at removing at least 80% of the contaminants off the equipment (in one study I was reading) but they are not as consistent for completely removing proteins from the equipment. Efficacy differs by both the cleaning protocol and by protein (in that same study, eggs were easier to clean off than dairy, for example). Gluten has never, to my knowledge, actually been studied to see which cleaning protocol might work best on eliminating it.

However, I believe that the remaining protein left behind can be a small enough amount that a number of celiacs do fine with it. But those who react to lower amounts of gluten run a higher risk of having issues. It's one of the reasons why so many people with severe peanut allergies avoid shared equipment lines - many of them react to such low levels of protein that it's a major risk.

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