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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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TGK112

Confusion With Trader Joe's Labeling

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I'm big fan of Trader Joes. I'm very newly diagnosed - just 3 weeks. I nearly had a melt down during my first trip to Trader Joes, seeing many of my favorite products that I can no longer enjoy. However, I printed out their gluten free list and was surprised to see that some of the products that they list as gluten free - and have a "g" on the labeling, also have a disclaimer on the same label saying " made on the same machinery as...wheat..."

I brought this to the manager's attention- he seemed surprised as well. Anyone else run into confusing labels? Which part do we believe?

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Ditto the above posts. It's tough. Here's what we do in our family below: (Note that we have one child who can "sense" wheat/gluten when she's about to take a bite of something cross-contaminated--yes, weird, but also incredibly amazing. Also note that our other little kiddo will GORGE on anything cross-contaminated and then have a near-immediate neurological response aka "losing" it meltdown/tantrum). Biggest note of all: this is our personal approach and not a recommendation. I hope it just gives you one more perspective.

Fruits/veggies/salsas/sauces: we check ingredients VERY well and generally are ok with all producers (including Trader Joe's).

Breads/crackers/cookies: we almost always go for "dedicated" line or "dedicated facility" or major large brand name because gluten can stay airborne for up to 24 hours (and we have been glutened by a product from a small facility). Note that we feel comfortable with the WF brand but we do NOT feel comfortable with the TJ brand.

Meats/Cheeses/Milk products: we generally buy the high end organic products in this segment. We double check ingredients on meats especially closely. There are very few small brands in these categories, so we end up with Applegate Farms very often and have been fine to our knowledge. We rarely buy the store brands.

Here is an example using ice cream:

- We buy the major name ice creams (I wish I could support local producers, but I 1) don't trust that they've gotten all the cookie dough out of every nook and cranny of their machinery and 2) they make things in smaller batches). Even though Ben and Jerry's may produce their cookie dough ice cream on the same line as the vanilla ice cream, I trust that they have hard-core cleaning protocols and that their batches are so large that any gluten residue is probably so diluted that it won't affect us).

- We check the ingredients for all the obvious things: like anything that looks like a cookie (graham cracker, etc.)

- All this said, we make a MAJOR exception when we visit the East Coast/Cape Cod and go to Sundae School, a small, family-owned ice cream shop. Our cousins also have Celiac, know the owners, trust the owners and we only buy the prepacked flavors...all of us have been healthy so far there...

Note on teas: I am personally trying to figure out the teas and haven't so far...my quick "grab and go" has been iced tea in the past, but I recently had a super-low-energy week and realized I need to be more thoughtful about what I'm drinking. I have a few phone calls to make...

Which brings me to my final piece of input: the customer service folks at the 800 numbers on the back of packaged goods are generally quite good. I have made countless phone calls to figure out whether or not a product is ok.

Ok, one more input...Also, there are two apps you might consider: "Is That Gluten Free" and "Gluten Check" for smart phones.

Thinking of you! It gets easier!

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Ditto the above posts. It's tough. Here's what we do in our family below: (Note that we have one child who can "sense" wheat/gluten when she's about to take a bite of something cross-contaminated--yes, weird, but also incredibly amazing. Also note that our other little kiddo will GORGE on anything cross-contaminated and then have a near-immediate neurological response aka "losing" it meltdown/tantrum). Biggest note of all: this is our personal approach and not a recommendation. I hope it just gives you one more perspective.

Fruits/veggies/salsas/sauces: we check ingredients VERY well and generally are ok with all producers (including Trader Joe's).

Breads/crackers/cookies: we almost always go for "dedicated" line or "dedicated facility" or major large brand name because gluten can stay airborne for up to 24 hours (and we have been glutened by a product from a small facility). Note that we feel comfortable with the WF brand but we do NOT feel comfortable with the TJ brand.

Meats/Cheeses/Milk products: we generally buy the high end organic products in this segment. We double check ingredients on meats especially closely. There are very few small brands in these categories, so we end up with Applegate Farms very often and have been fine to our knowledge. We rarely buy the store brands.

Here is an example using ice cream:

- We buy the major name ice creams (I wish I could support local producers, but I 1) don't trust that they've gotten all the cookie dough out of every nook and cranny of their machinery and 2) they make things in smaller batches). Even though Ben and Jerry's may produce their cookie dough ice cream on the same line as the vanilla ice cream, I trust that they have hard-core cleaning protocols and that their batches are so large that any gluten residue is probably so diluted that it won't affect us).

- We check the ingredients for all the obvious things: like anything that looks like a cookie (graham cracker, etc.)

- All this said, we make a MAJOR exception when we visit the East Coast/Cape Cod and go to Sundae School, a small, family-owned ice cream shop. Our cousins also have Celiac, know the owners, trust the owners and we only buy the prepacked flavors...all of us have been healthy so far there...

Note on teas: I am personally trying to figure out the teas and haven't so far...my quick "grab and go" has been iced tea in the past, but I recently had a super-low-energy week and realized I need to be more thoughtful about what I'm drinking. I have a few phone calls to make...

Which brings me to my final piece of input: the customer service folks at the 800 numbers on the back of packaged goods are generally quite good. I have made countless phone calls to figure out whether or not a product is ok.

Ok, one more input...Also, there are two apps you might consider: "Is That Gluten Free" and "Gluten Check" for smart phones.

Thinking of you! It gets easier!

Thank you so much for such a helpful response. I - surprisingly - have no typical symptoms of celiac. I wound up getting diagnosed due to worsening osteoporosis. So, because I never felt ill from eating gluten - I feel that I am a very poor "barometer" in knowing when gluten may be in a product. I keep saying " the good news is that I never had symptoms, but the bad news is, I never had symptoms" I will never know when I may be accidentally ingesting gluten. So, thanks for the helpful guideline

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I too find TJ labeling confusing.  I have found many products that are gluten free based on the ingredients and doesn't mention being produced in a facility that processes wheat but doesn't have the gluten free logo on it.  I asked and the employee was less then helpful - explaining to me that it wasn't gluten free even if there weren't gluten ingredients listed but couldn't explain why.  She then went on to say that not all of their distributors use the logo.  I emailed TJ's and they told me that if it looks gluten-free based on ingredients but doesn't have the gluten-free logo then it means the product was made in a facility that processes wheat or shares equipment.  The lack of consistency is confusing.

 

I too don't have the typical symptoms so I don't necessarily know when I've made a mistake either.  I was diagnosed around the same time as you were.  I hoped 6 months later it would have gotten easier but it hasn't.  I sometimes suspect I've made a mistake but don't know what I did wrong which them leads me to believe I simply have a headache or some other symptom.  Super frustrating.  Thanks for the info!

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It is possible that you will become more sensitive to gluten the longer you are gluten-free...

 

I too got diagnosed without the classic symptoms - I found someone that put 2 and 2 together when I went in to figure out why my seasonal allergies are so bad.  In retrospect, I used to belch like crazy, but never suspected it might be celiac - though it has disappeared since I went gluten-free.

 

 I went gluten free last February.  For many months I wondered if I would react if I accidentally ingested gluten - was I really being as good as I thought I was, or was I just not reacting.  Well, last summer (maybe August time-frame) I did accidentally ingest some gluten when I went out to eat, and felt sick for 3 or 4 days (probably a full week before my digestion got back to normal).  For me, the tell-tale symptom that I have been glutened is the belching returns (in addition to other digestive issues)

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I recently had my 6 month check-up - and had very good results. My antibodies were near normal, and my intestine has nearly healed. I have yet to feel any real digestive symptom - but must admit that I never realized how constipated and bloated I was until now, when I'm not.

 

As for my Trader Joe's confusion - I still shop there - but not nearly as much as I use to. I wrote their headquarters and was pretty disappointed with the response that I got. I'm not sure why, but I expected better from them!

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