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Found 38 results

  1. Celiac.com 07/26/2019 - The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is a support group that advocates for the food and non-alcoholic drink manufacturing industry, and certain food sectors in the UK. Seeking to provide clarity for consumers and consistency for manufacturers over gluten labeling, the FDF recently issued a set of product labeling guidelines called the Gluten Labeling Guidance: Best Practice for Pre-packed Foods which Include or Exclude Cereals Containing Gluten. The FDF guidelines address various labeling scenarios, with special attention to oat and wheat types. The guidelines include information about the differences between celiac disease and cereal allergy, advice on precautionary allergen labeling, and flow charts for making claims about gluten absence in a given product. They also include an overview of the relevant EU and UK laws and policies. Consumers rely on labels in order to make safe, informed choices about packaged foods. For consumers with food allergies or sensitivities, labels become even more important. Did the food originally contain gluten ingredients? Is it naturally gluten-free? Is it produced in a dedicated facility? For these and other reasons, it is crucial for manufacturers to label their products in compliance with law. That's where FDF comes in. FDF is committed to providing best-practice regulatory guidance, and looks for its new, more comprehensive guidelines to help food manufacturers, large and small, to make safe, informed choices for their package labels, says Alex Turtle, food law, labeling and enforcement manager, FDF. The march toward clear, consistent and helpful package labeling for gluten-free and other foods is an ongoing affair, but the FDF's latest guidelines represent a small victory for all sides in the world of gluten-free foods. The new guidelines are supported by Coeliac UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign, the British Retail Consortium and the Gluten Free Industry Association. Read more at IFST.org
  2. From Gluten Free Watchdog: Urgent Product Warning for Jane Bakes Cookies At least two varieties of the brand Jane Bakes cookies are labeled gluten-free yet list whole wheat flour as the first ingredient—Hazelnut & Chocolate and Coconut & Caramel. If you currently have any variety of labeled gluten-free cookies from this manufacturer in your pantry, please read the ingredients list carefully before eating. A consumer first notified Gluten Free Watchdog about this product on December 26th. The cookies were a gift to the consumer. The person purchasing the cookies relied on the gluten-free label. GFWD was in touch with the manufacturer on December 27th. At this time, the manufacturer stated in email correspondence that they would alert their distributor to remove product from store shelves and that they would contact the FDA. The consumer contacted GFWD again on December 31st to alert us to a second variety of cookie labeled gluten-free yet listing whole wheat flour as the first ingredient. The consumer also stated that both varieties of cookies remained on store shelves. GFWD sent a follow-up email to the manufacturer on December 31st. We have not heard back. The consumer contacted GFWD again on January 6th stating that a new delivery of cookies arrived at a local store. Coconut & Caramel cookies labeled gluten-free yet listing whole wheat flour as the first ingredient remain on store shelves. That labeled gluten-free cookies listing wheat flour in the ingredients remains on store shelves is inexcusable. If you are reading this and you have not yet commented in support of our citizen petition requesting that the FDA establish a specific protocol for increased surveillance, investigation and enforcement of potential Facial Misbranding violations under the Gluten-Free Labeling Rule, please do so now at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FDA-2017-P-5118 Thank you to the almost 1,200 of you who have already commented. Thank you to the national consumer groups, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Beyond Celiac, and National Celiac Association for your support of this petition. We would also love to have the support of the other two national celiac disease consumer groups. It isn’t too late to join us. On behalf of everyone with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders who require properly labeled gluten-free foods, we urge you to do so today. Thank you. Note: If you do not follow Gluten Free Watchdog on Facebook or Twitter please do so. Product warnings such as this one tend to be posted on social media so that they can be quickly shared.
  3. Celiac.com 12/20/2017 - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants drugmakers to provide detailed labeling about gluten in drugs. The agency's recent draft guidance encourages drugmakers to provide clear labeling about whether their product ingredients contain gluten. FDA says the guidance is meant to improve consumer knowledge about the presence of wheat gluten in oral drugs. Unless a drug specifically contains wheat gluten or wheat flour as an ingredient, the agency says it expects most drugs to contain less gluten than a gluten-free cookie. Under the guidance, the "amount of gluten estimated to be potentially present in a unit dose of an oral drug product (less than 0.5mg) is significantly less than the range at which gluten is estimated to be present in a gluten-free diet (5 to 50mg)." The guidance notes that 0.5mg gluten is the high end of its estimated range. FDA also says it is unaware of any currently marketed oral drugs that contain gluten as an intentionally added inactive ingredient, and that drugs that with intentionally added gluten would have to be labeled as such. The guidance encourages manufacturers to include a statement that their drug "contains no ingredient made from a gluten-containing grain (wheat, barley or rye)" when such a statement is "truthful and substantiated" in the description section of the drug's prescribing information. The guidance pertains to all human drugs that pass through the small intestine, including drugs that are taken orally, topical drugs applied on or near the lips and drugs that are applied inside the mouth. The guidance was necessary in part because, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, "because there has been uncertainty about gluten in certain drug products, some patients may be avoiding medications that would otherwise offer a health benefit." Read the full guidance at: FDA.gov
  4. Celiac.com 11/09/2017 - Did you know that the precautionary labeling regarding allergies is widely misunderstood, (meaning you are not the only one that is confused!). Not only is the writing so small you need a microscope to read it, this warning is not necessarily listed in the "Ingredients" column. The United States and Canada have different laws concerning allergy labeling. A survey presented in March at the AAAAI Allergists' Conference in Los Angeles reveals that 40 percent of consumers avoiding one or more allergens bought foods manufactured in a facility that also processes allergens. Beyond buying habits the researchers also found a lack of awareness of labeling. Another problem occurs with differences in the food laws of our two countries, the United States and Canada. 45 percent of people surveyed were unaware that precautionary warnings are not required by law. In Canada labeling regulations do require manufacturers to clearly indicate if major allergens are ingredients of a product. But there are no legal guidelines on how companies should identify products that may have come into contact with food allergens during manufacturing. As a result, the manufacturers have been choosing their own phrasing for precautionary labels. Recently, Health Canada recommended companies limit the advisories to the phrase "may contain", but this is not a legal requirement. A recent study tested 186 products with precautionary peanut labels and found 16, just under nine percent, contained the allergen. A 2009 audit of nearly 100 U.S. supermarkets found that half of all chocolate, candy and cookie products had precautionary labels, many worded in different ways. The consequences to allergic consumers ignoring labels have proved tragic. Bruce Kelly, a 22 year old Minnesota man with a peanut allergy, died of anaphylaxis in January after eating chocolate candy with a label that said it had been made in a plat that also processed peanuts. "There are too many different types of wording" says study author Dr. Susan Waserman, a professor of Medicine in the division of allergy and immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She stated, "Patients assume that differences in wording imply a lower level of risk, which they don't." Gupta and Waserman would like to see precautionary labels reduced to one or two clearly defined phrases. For instance, Gupta says if a "May contain" label meant that the food might have up to 100 milligrams of an allergen, then patients could work with their doctors to find out just how much of their allergen may be safe to consume and purchase foods accordingly. The study noted that research is "underway to develop thresholds" for such labels. Meanwhile, we as two neighboring countries need to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Canadian FDA to work with foods coming into our countries that have no labeling advisories at all. For example my husband and I picked up Sweet Shoppe candies sold in both countries, but made in Argentina. The Starlight Mints mints sold in the United States list at the very bottom in small print, "Made in facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, soya, milk and eggs." The label did not list wheat, at least on the green and white mints. I have eaten the green and white striped mints in the United States and have had no reaction to them (I am very sensitive to gluten), but yesterday my husband crossed the border to the United States and picked up a package of the Starlight Mints with the red and white stripes. The ingredients listed are glucose syrup, sugar, natural flavor, (peppermint) artificial colors, Titanium Dioxide, FD&C red #40, FD&C blue, Sunflower oil, Propylene Glycol. Nowhere on this packaging does it show "gluten-free" or "wheat-free," or the "Cover all Bases" listing of "Made in a facility that processes...". I will keep you in touch with my findings, but beware, especially with many of us living close to the U.S./Canada borders that the same products may carry different labeling. It may mean that I am on the internet or calling companies like this one to determine their guidelines for allergy labeling. I am particularly surprised by the United States allowing this Starlight Mint into the country without any "Cover all Bases" type of listing for allergies. Canada often looks to the United States for their guidelines, or rulings for other countries, The researchers at the AAAA1 Allergist' Conference in Los Angeles in March cautions, "In the meantime avoid products with precautionary labels...(i)t still seems to be the best way to maximize safety" says Waserman. We have to be pro-active, just like the people struggling with peanut allergies have been for years. They fought the airlines with over serving peanuts to passengers, only to have them substituted for pretzels, which are poison to celiacs. We need to get on the Bandwagon and "unite and fight" until we get the same consideration as those with peanut allergies. Ironically, the peanut folks are now trying to get the same parts per million type labeling that we celiacs won years ago on products that are labeled "gluten-free."
  5. Celiac.com 06/17/2017 - Hello, my name is Gerry. I am a certified Medical Technologist currently working as a Clinical Systems Analyst. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006 by blood/biopsy. I have two wonderful children, 1 of whom has screened positive for a celiac gene pair. My strong background in Medical Technology assured a quick diagnosis once symptoms appeared. Since then, I have been living a strict gluten-free life. I have gone through nutritional counseling at Mayo Clinic and have an enhanced background with my understanding of the world of gluten. I use my experience and knowledge to accurately base my decisions on whether a product is safe for me. To prove my diet to be effective, I have had my TTG levels measured every 6 months since 2006—all were negative. Also, I have had 3 biopsies after beginning my gluten-free life and all were negative for villous atrophy. I do understand that my medical follow-ups do not prove that I am not ingesting small amounts of gluten; they simply indicate that I am not reacting. As for me, I view the gluten-free life to be much simpler and cheaper than it once was, and fear that strict gluten labeling guidelines have the potential to negatively shape the gluten-free life that I know and live today. Within the last few years, I have been receiving emails to ask my support regarding the FDA's gluten-free labeling rule. At first, I was a supporter as I wanted to support the celiac community since I was part of it. However, after I sat down and really thought about it, I am questioning the benefits of a strict gluten labeling act. In fact, I am predicting a negative impact if gluten labeling guidelines are too strict. When I started my gluten-free life in 2006, my grocery bill was atrocious. I was paying very high prices for the simplest of things. Tortilla chips $3.89 for a 6 oz bag. $3.99 for 8 oz of mustard. $5.99 for gluten-free mayonnaise. As the years moved on I noticed two changes that positively impacted my life as a celiac. The first is that many manufacturers have a list of their gluten-free products on their website along with explanations of how their company handles gluten. The second is the fact that many generic/in-store-brand companies are now labeling their products as "Gluten Free" or "Naturally Gluten free". Because of these two advancements, my life is so much easier and much more cost effective. This makes it easy to stick with my diet and keep my health safe and spirits up. Currently, if a product is made without gluten, it can be labeled as "gluten-free". Many products are available at a fraction of the cost and they are safe. Now that my family eats gluten-free, I have noticed that in today's world my grocery bill seems much more normal and realistic: gluten-free mustard $1.29; gluten-free mayonnaise $1.59;20 oz bags of tortilla chips labeled gluten-free $2.59; 8 oz bag of gluten-free cheese $1.99. You see, living a gluten-free life with today's rules is easy and I believe it to be safe if we are careful and make educated decisions. At this time we have many inexpensive non-brand/in-store brand name products that are widely available. I know of some stores that have 20+ pages of gluten-free items on an excel spreadsheet for their own brand of products, including medications. There are stores that update these lists quarterly, and most are listed by bar-code number. I can simply print the list and buy all of my products safely and inexpensively. I could easily make a phone call to clarify items that I may disagree with, or inquire about cross-contamination. Are these products that I speak of above tested for gluten? I don't believe so. Are these products free of gluten ingredients? I trust that they are. Is there cross-contamination? Maybe. It is easy for me to call and ask about their product lines. Are these products safe for me? I believe so, as I have the blood tests to prove they have been safe for me. Phone calls to companies on products that are not labeled as "gluten-free" are still the norm even though they are getting less frequent. As an expert, I am able to screen who I am talking to and the company's knowledge about gluten. I have been able to make accurate judgments on these products as well as deciding whether I believe them to be safe. In many of the cases, the company claimed their product to be free of gluten and I felt comfortable consuming the product. Yes, there were companies that didn't have acceptable knowledge/quality control and I didn't feel these products were safe so I didn't consume them. My first question to the celiac community is this. Do we need a strict gluten-free labeling act when we already have companies testing for gluten and providing safe products? If we want our products batch tested for gluten, we can simply purchase the ones that are currently available as there are many. If we want to know the threshold that the company considers as gluten-free, we can call them and they will tell us. Are there currently batch tested gluten-free products on the market? Absolutely. Many companies state on their packaging that they have been tested to under 20 or 40 ppm. If a company is testing, they make it known on the label and in the price of the product. My next question is what will a strict gluten-free labeling act do for us? I believe that it will ensure that a product is safe for celiac patients defining what a product needs to be in order to be labeled as gluten-free. Simple-yes. How do we suppose a company is going to know if their product is gluten-free? Well, if you ask me, it will NEED to be tested. Who will pay for this testing? I believe that the celiac community (the consumers) will be paying for this in higher food prices. If a company has to test a product to label it gluten-free, the price will need to go up in order to pay the cost of the testing and the quality control program for the company. We know this to be true as these products are already accessible. I see a possible negative impact of this labeling act if it were to be made too strict. I believe that manufacturers that do not test for gluten may need to pull their "gluten-free" labeling from the package. This could eliminate most of the inexpensive safe products that I currently purchase today. We know there are many manufacturers out there that label products as gluten-free as they simply do not use gluten ingredients. I believe these products may recede. I am not so sure a company will be able to label these products as gluten-free without first testing them. Even if they are allowed, I am not so sure they will take the risk. Therefore negatively impacting our pricing/availability. Will Gluten free lists on websites go away too? I believe these could fade or be at risk as well. If there is a law/act that dictates the amount of gluten in a product, I would think that a company would not create gluten-free lists of products without proving them to be gluten-free by some form of testing in an attempt to avoid legal action against them. What about our phone calls to companies asking if their products are gluten-free? Will they have a gluten-free list to review? I would tend to think that they may not be provided with a gluten-free list to reference. I have a hunch they may say, "We do not test any of our products for gluten and therefore are unable to tell you whether the product is gluten-free". I know that reply will complicate my life in many ways. The first thing that comes to my mind, in this regard, are the calls to pharmaceutical companies regarding medications. I feel that there are better ways to change the labeling as we know it that would offer a more positive effect on the celiac community. Maybe just changing the package labeling to force companies to list wheat, oats, rye, and barley on the packaging. How about requiring mandatory labeling of products that share lines with "gluten" containing ingredients? When we look at the big picture, I think it is safe to theorize that the impact of strict gluten labeling guidelines goes far beyond just providing safe products. In conclusion, I ask these questions. Will a strict gluten labeling act have the potential to negatively impact the celiac community by increasing prices and decreasing availability? And lastly, have we looked at the possible outcomes from all angles?
  6. Celiac.com 02/04/2017 - Did you know that on August 2, 2013 the FDA published a regulation defining the term "gluten-free" for voluntary food labeling? According to that regulation, products labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten. The rule applies to all FDA regulated foods including dietary supplements. Manufacturers have until August 5, 2014 to bring package labels into compliance. After that, foods labeled 'gluten-free' that contain 20 ppm or more of gluten will be deemed misbranded and manufacturers will be subject to regulatory enforcement action. The Celiac Disease Foundation applaud the FDA for ensuring that food products labeled gluten-free will be safe for consumption. Ms. Geller, Chief Executive Officer of the Celiac Disease Foundation states that, "the celiac community, the CDF Medical Advisory Board, and our colleagues from the American Celiac Disease Alliance, Celiac Sprue Association/, Gluten Intolerance Group and National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, joined with CDF in a determined and collaborative effort for a federal gluten-free labeling standard." CDF Founder, Elaine Monarch, one of the first to advocate for a federal gluten-free standard stated "Congratulations to the FDA for acknowledging the dietary requirements of people with celiac disease with this important ruling. I am extremely pleased that the FDA has established a definition of gluten-free that will enable easier identification of appropriate foods for us." Ms. Monarch explains, "There is no pill for us, a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. That makes food both our drug and potentially our poison." Even though manufacturers have until August 5th of next year to comply with the new rule, the FDA is encouraging the food industry to come into compliance as soon as possible. Joseph Murray, MD, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic and CDF Medical Advisory Board Member declared. "This long awaited regulation defining what a label saying 'gluten-free' means goes a long way to help build consistency in food labeling which will make it easier for people who need to be gluten-free to select food items. Manufacturers now know exactly what gluten-free means and will hopefully begin using this voluntary labeling standard immediately to provide safe food with clear information for consumers." If the Celiac Disease Foundation can applaud the FDA Food Labeling Rule defining "gluten-free" we can do the same. Then comes the Question, "What food products are covered by the FDA gluten-free labeling rule? Covered: All FDA regulated foods Dietary Supplements (vitamins, herbs, amino acids) Imported food products that are subject to FDA regulations Not Covered: Meat, poultry and unshelled eggs (and any other products regulated by the USDA). Distilled spirits and wines that contain 7% or more alcohol by volume ** Malted beverages made with malted barley or hops ** **These alcoholic beverages are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The FDA says it will work with the TTB to " harmonize" gluten-free labeling requirements between the two agencies. AFTER August 5, 2014 What food products may be labeled gluten-free? A food product regulated by the FDA may be labeled gluten-free if: It does NOT contain wheat, rye, barley or their crossbred hybrids like Triticale (a gluten-containing grain) OR It contains a gluten-containing grain or an ingredient derived from a gluten containing grain that has been processed to less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten May food products that are naturally gluten-free be labeled "gluten-free"? [YES - Food products that are naturally gluten-free, like bottled spring water or tomatoes may be labeled "gluten-free"] May oats be labeled gluten-free? Oats that contain less than 20 ppm of gluten may be labeled "gluten-free". Oats do not need to be certified gluten-free. AN ASIDE: This surprises me because the oat controversy and oat sensitivity battle has been going on for years. According to many experts in the field of gluten sensitivity the suitability of oats in the gluten-free diet is still somewhat controversial. Some research suggests that oats in themselves are gluten-free, but that they are virtually always contaminated by other grains during distribution or processing. According to Wikipedia, " Recent research, however, indicated that a protein naturally found in oats (avenin) possessed peptide sequences closely resembling wheat gluten and caused mucosal inflammation in significant numbers of celiac disease sufferers. Some examination results show that even oats that are not contaminated with wheat particles are nonetheless dangerous, while not very harmful to the majority. Such oats are generally considered risky for children with celiac disease to eat, but two studies show that they are completely safe for adults with celiac disease to eat. People who are merely "gluten sensitive" may be able to eat oats without adverse effect, even over a period of five years. Given this conflicting information, excluding oats appears to be the only risk-free practice for celiac disease sufferers of all ages. However, medically approved guidelines exist for those with celiac disease who do wish to introduce oats into their diet. Unless manufactured in a dedicated facility and under gluten-free practices, all cereal grains, including oats, may be cross-contaminated with gluten. Grains become contaminated with gluten by sharing the same farm, truck, mill, or bagging process. As mentioned in the Winter 2012 "Did You Know" article "grain standards for the United States and Canada allow a set percentage of foreign grains to be present in packages of particular grains. By definition then, oats may contain up to 25 percent of wild oats and other grains for which standards have been established under the United States Grain Standards Act. Research has shown, and the FDA acknowledges, that regular oats pose a risk to celiac consumers due to contamination." Today wheat is made to grow shorter and with bigger seeds to have a higher yield", explains Dr. Murray. "It is bred to be drought resistant, heat resistant, pest resistant and responsive to nitrogen fertilizer. All those things maximize the gluten content because it's important for its baking properties. To top it off, purified wheat gluten is added to foods such as high-fiber bread (because it helps the fibrous dough stick together and rise) and high protein bread, (because gluten is a protein). One survey reported people experiencing a potential trigger within six months prior to symptom onset, including severe stress (23%), a severe gastrointestinal infection (9%), a pregnancy (8%) and a major surgery (7%). Yet, according to the FDA oats that contain less than 20 ppm of gluten do not need to be certified gluten-free yet they may be labeled "gluten-free". Cross-contamination was the main reason why oats were considered unsafe in the past. Oats, wheat and barley are usually grown next to each other in farmers' fields, processed in the same grain elevators, milled with the same equipment, and transported using the same containers. Inevitably the grains co-mingle and the oats become contaminated with gluten grains. An excellent book entitled "Celiac Disease, Safe/Unsafe Food List and Essential Information" by Jaqui Karr, C.S.N., C.V.D. should be in your celiac library. First released in 2010, Karr does not recommend oats for celiacs. Karr states that "There are a handful of studies going back more than 20 years showing celiac patients reacting to rice and/or corn. Yet most medical communities are accepting rice and corn as safe. Several doctors and scientists still feel that all grains are harmful to celiacs. "Be careful as gluten-free standards are not absolute." Karr wrote the book to as a guide to help identify potential areas of danger. "We do not know yet know what the long term effects of continuous digestion of small amounts of gluten are, and we know that in most cases the person will be suffering internal damage with no external symptoms." We are not the only ones that are confused with the guidelines/rules and suggestions for the celiac. Different countries use different ingredients for the same food. Just one example is MSG. In the U.S. it is made from corn. Outside the U.S. it is usually made from wheat or soy. It is frustrating to read "Confirm with manufacturer" when you are expecting a list to tell you whether it is safe or unsafe. No list can truthfully claim to provide accurate information on every item without a few that require you to verify further. If you look at diningoutglutenfree.com you will find a large list of the fast food chains that carry separate gluten-free menus. If these are well-known restaurant chains they will probably be checked regularly by the Health Board to ensure that the foods are prepared in a separate area and no appliances or serving cutlery has been used in both preparation areas. You don't want someone flitting from regular food to gluten-free foods at the same counter with no glove changes or counter changes. It is a matter of 'buyer beware' isn't it? With two guests from England, we stopped for an afternoon tea at a well-known tea house in Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. It was a busy restaurant at 3:00 P.M., afternoon tea time. I broke another one of my rules: "Don't order during peak hours". I looked into the yummy dessert and pastry section of their glassed-in baked goods. I asked the young woman if they had any gluten-free items. She said, rather quickly, to look at the section on the top row on the left. She just pointed and went on her way. I 'ummed and haa'd', and when she came back I asked again if this strawberry dessert was gluten-free. That was when I noticed that she had an accent from another country. She again flew her hands over the top row on the left, so I bought my dessert, even though they were just labeled "sugar free". How stupid I was! Well, I did enjoy the dessert while I ate it. During the night I was sick and sure enough 24 hours later out came the dermatitis herpetiformis spots—scalp first, as usual. I complained to my husband as I itched, telling him that I had asked. He stated that he had noticed me asking the woman about gluten-free, "but", he said, "those baked goods only said, "sugar free" meaning they were made with a sugar substitute. After hearing that I had one of those thoughts about pausing and thinking. If it was twice the price as the other baked goods then it could be celiac-friendly, not just sugar free. The young woman's primary language was not English which should have registered with me. There should have been a bigger sign there saying, "Gluten Free". I itched my way through another three or four days of house-guests. When, eventually, I did call the restaurant (it is the only way we are going to get anywhere as a celiac community unfortunately, calling back and explaining what happened.) They apologized. They do not have gluten-free foods. They would mention it to the staff member. My fault or theirs? MY FAULT. I should have explained to the young woman. Not everyone knows what gluten-free means, nor do they realize how sick we can become ingesting items containing gluten. She must have thought I meant sugar free. Am I going to beat up the server, who was likely a University student, or beat myself up, a person who can read and should have asked further when seeing just the "Sugar-Free" sign. Better to be thought a dummy than to be sick again. Reminder; No matter what the front of the food package states, always, always read the back of the package. Yes, right to the bottom! Often they list ingredients by the volume used in the preparation of that food, and what is often at the very top is the largest proportion. But I have found the section they have not added in a lot of pre-packaged food—"May include" which can be an important listing for us, yet often it is in a little box by itself and not under ingredients at all. After all, it may not be included. But it could have been prepared with machines that process gluten. Looking back to the May 2011 "Living Without Magazine", in an article entitled "Research Roundup" 'Working With Wheat'. Did You Know that a lot of people are getting on the band wagon for eating gluten-free without being checked for celiac disease, because they have "heard" you can lose weight on the celiac diet. Four reasons not to go gluten-free (if you don't have to). It seems to be a popular thing to do these days. "Hey, go on a gluten-free diet and you will lose weight!" They talk about sugar belly, and having a bloated stomach, but they fail to realize that products on the market are much higher in sugar, fat and total calories than their gluten containing alternatives, says Shelley Case, a registered dietitian from Regina, and author of The Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide "Manufacturers use ingredients containing gluten to help the products stick together and taste better." Gluten-free products are frequently produced by small manufacturers who aren't required to add iron, B vitamins and other nutrients you generally find in gluten-containing products. "A lot of them use white rice flour, tapioca, and corn and potato starches, which are low in fiber and don't offer much in the way of nutrition," says Shelley Case. Gluten-free products are expensive. Dee Sandquist, a dietician who specializes in celiac disease states "In general, gluten-free packaged foods have added fat to make them look and taste better." Silly to go on a gluten-free diet to add more fats and receive a bad cholesterol overload! A 2008 study in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research found that gluten-free foods cost, on average, 242% more than conventional foods. If you add to that another five years of cost of living increases the percentage would be more today. The diet can interfere with your life. Eighty-one percent of the respondents to the Canadian Celiac Health Survey avoid going to restaurants and about 38 percent avoid traveling because of their eating restrictions. If you are wanting some foods to blame for your sugar belly or bloated belly, even if that bloated belly may be one sign of celiac disease, it can also be a sign of too many do-nuts, candies, or too much wine or beer. Some, should I say most? people who do not have celiac disease, are not aware of the nutritional deficits a celiac can have in their diet. The disease can have long-term and sometimes fatal health consequences because your immune system basically begins to treat gluten as a harmful invader. Your body's first line of defense is to launch a kind of overkill response that wears away the hair-like protuberances called villi (A shag carpet that lines your small intestine). These waving bits of shag carpet aid in the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, but in people with celiac disease it is more like a tile floor that lets nutrients slip by, often leading to rapid weight loss and eventual malnutrition. Now if someone has told you that the celiac diet is a way to lose weight you can tell them that it is the celiac with the 'tile floor' small intestine that could be causing them to lose weight, but it can also lead to malnutrition, hair loss, nail breakage and dental problems. To go from a bad idea to a life threatening disorder be aware that because celiac disease is an autoimmune disease (like lupus and Crohn's disease), as it evolves it can impact other body systems causing chronic poor health, infertility in both men and women, miscarriages, osteoporosis and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, because of the numerous ways it can manifest, celiac disease is devilishly hard to diagnose. A 2012 report from the Mayo Clinic estimated that about 1.8 million Americans had celiac disease, a dangerous immune response to gluten. Of those, 1.4 million are unaware they have it, says Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. That means that in the USA, only 0.4 million people know they have celiac disease, and the other 1.4 million are going from doctor to specialist trying to find an accurate diagnosis for the baffling, often mysterious symptoms. Another U.S. statistic I was surprised to hear was that 1.6 million Americans are currently on a gluten-free diet despite never having been diagnosed with celiac disease. "It is safe to say many people are eating gluten-free for no reason" says Murray. Is it just another hipster food diet like the oat bran diet. Health Canada estimates some 300,000 people suffer from celiac disease in Canada and many of them don't know it. Have you noticed the mass influx of gluten-free foods in large food markets lately? Of course we are consumers, and we are a market that has not been fully served in the past. And they do not like to miss out on sales. A lot of the smaller stores do not realize how fastidious you have to be owning a restaurant or bakery selling foods that are gluten-free. If you are not preparing gluten-free foods in a separate area, under strict conditions that limit cross contamination, then you could be in a litigation line-up. Some people are severely allergic to gluten, and an outbreak of dermatitis herpetiformis is not a gift you want to give your customers. AN ASIDE: I just tore out a complete recipe section from the Canadian Living Magazine. Although they have a disclaimer with regards to you checking the ingredients carefully to ensure the products are gluten-free. Of the seven recipes listed, all of them stating gluten-free, rolled oats and vinegar are in the recipes. There is information on what type of vinegar. Do all celiac people realize that malt vinegar should be avoided? And do all people with celiac disease realize the controversy with regard to oats? I cannot tolerate oats, and why would you risk it when medical experts do not even know the long term effects of oat ingestion for the celiac? Don't forget that even the reason for the recent increase in celiac disease is unclear. As mentioned, Dr. Murray points out that gluten is being used more frequently and in purer forms than it was in the past. To top it off purified wheat gluten is added to foods such as high-fibre bread (because it helps the fibrous dough to stick together and rise! And high protein bread, (because gluten is a protein), "I think it could be overexposure at certain times and in this very purified state," states Murray. Shelley Case believes the theory that celiac disease and other conditions are being caused by junk diets and an overuse of antibiotics, which are changing the bacterial composition of the gut and killing off good bacteria. In either case, it seems likely that something activates the disease. About 47% of the respondents to the Canadian Celiac Health Survey reported experiencing a potential trigger within six months prior to symptom onset, including severe stress (23%—go figure), a severe gastrointestinal infection (nine percent), a pregnancy (eight percent) and a major surgery (seven percent). This is congruent with my condition of celiac disease and DH. I was living on the irritable bowel disease diet in the November prior to my daughter's wedding the following January. She was very slow with the invitations, ideas, and plans. Working full time I was a nut case, and by December had so many connect the dots dermatitis herpetiformis sores I was contemplating shaving my hair off and wearing a bathing cap to the wedding! Both Shelley Case and Murray urge patients to get diagnosed and treated for celiac disease before going gluten-free. In addition, without a diagnosis of celiac disease, patients are less likely to be monitored for celiac-associated conditions, such as cancer and osteoporosis, and are more likely to cheat. Murray warns, "Even if you have just a bit of gluten, you can cause damage." Did you know, that you should be tested for celiac disease if you experience one or more of the following symptoms: bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, anemia, depression, mood swings, bone or joint pain, easy bruising, constipation, lactose intolerance nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers and/or migraines. You should also be tested if you have relatives who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. If you have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) with celiac disease, you have about a 10 percent chance of having this condition. You should also be tested if you have type 1 diabetes. (Rates of celiac disease are higher in this group.) If you have been diagnosed with that common catch-all, irritable bowel syndrome, you should know that celiac disease can mimic irritable bowel syndrome and thus delay an accurate diagnosis. One physician at the hospital where I worked states that "irritable bowel" among gastroenterologists is the same thing as saying, "We don't know". If only I had known that when I had foregone the steak but ate the bun! Sources: Celiac Disease Foundation prweb.com
  7. Celiac.com 03/22/2016 - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the period for public comments on a proposed rule for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients, and bear a "gluten-free" claim. FDA is extending the comment period for the proposed rule on gluten-free labeling for fermented or hydrolyzed foods by 60 days. The agency originally introduced the Proposed Rule for Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods on November 18, 2015. The original public comment period was set to end on February 16, 2016. The new closure date for public comments will be 60 days after a notice appears in the Federal Register. The new rule's Federal Register Docket Number is FDA-2014-N-1021, and the relevant Federal Register Docket Name is: "Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods." The proposed rule does not require or establish standards for "gluten-free" labeling. Instead, it establishes compliance methods for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients that bear a voluntary "gluten-free" labeling claim. Source: Lexology.com
  8. Celiac.com 12/15/2015 - The FDA is proposing a new rule for naming and labeling fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods with these ingredients, claiming to be gluten-free. Called "Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods," the rule covers gluten-free labeling of foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, cheese, green olives, vinegar, and FDA-regulated beers. This is a follow-up to the FDA's final 2013 gluten-free foods rule, which highlighted uncertainty in gluten test results when dealing with intact gluten. This new rule is meant to serve as an alternative method for the FDA to vet compliance through records from manufacturers. The agency will accept comments starting Wednesday. Under the new rule, the FDA proposes the following manufacturer requirements: The food meets the requirements of the gluten-free food labeling final rule prior to fermentation or hydrolysis; The manufacturer has adequately evaluated its process for any potential gluten cross-contact, and where a potential for gluten cross-contact has been identified, the manufacturer has implemented measures to prevent the introduction of gluten into the food during the manufacturing process. The agency says the proposed rule will address distilled foods compliance through scientific methods that confirm protein's absence (including gluten).
  9. We have all been warned about tricksy stunts included in fine print. We all know someone who has been duped by a some technical legal speak. But what about the in your face statements that are just plain misleading? When it comes to gluten free statements, errors whether accidental or intentional can be harmful. The sad thing is that as more companies want a piece of the gluten-free pie, not all companies take due diligence in understanding gluten-free. Just yesterday I experienced this not once but twice!! My friend brought over a box of meatballs that said in big letters on the front GLUTEN FREE…luckily I read the back label. The ingredient list for the meatballs was gluten-free, but the separate mango sauce ingredients clearly identified wheat as an ingredient. What if she had not brought the box? What if I had not double checked and just believed the marketing? How could this product be labeled gluten-free if everything in the box was not actually gluten free? This is poor and dangerous marketing. Later I was shopping online for a gift basket and "Oh joy!" the company had a link to their gluten-free products. Unfortunately, the statements made on their webpage were clearly done by someone who had a limited understanding of celiac needs. I was very angered, not because it misled me, but these kind of errors mislead the well-meaning friends and family who sometimes don't quite "get the gluten thing". Following is my letter to the company: I am disturbed by what you have written about your gluten-free offerings. Your description gives me ZERO confidence that your products are actually gluten free. I and two of my daughters are Celiacs. Your ignorance and misinformation in your write-up distinctly says you do not understand gluten free. First of all, you say that your funnel cakes are 100% celiac-free…WHAT? They are either "Celiac-Safe" or "Gluten-Free". Then you go on to say that the lucky gift recipient doesn't HAVE to be gluten-intolerant…WHAT? Like we can decide to just not be gluten sensitive. Its an autoimmune disease! Would you advise other autoimmune sufferers similar advice…juvenile arthritis-you don't have to avoid sugar… MS-you can control your muscles if you choose... rheumatoid arthritis-you can master the swelling and disfiguration of your joints...alopecia-you don't have to be bald… If you think these statements sound ridiculous then think what you are saying to celiacs and especially our friends or family who may want to purchase a well meaning gift but are misadvised by your marketing rhetoric. Your statements leave me with three varying degrees of thought: #1 your company is insensitive, (or worse yet) #2 your company is ignorant (or worst case of all) #3 your company is deliberately negligent. It would be great to get a response from your company and even better if your company fixes the egregious error on its webpage. I hope that those who continue to speak up can make a difference for the entire gluten-free community. We have already seen strides in laws and labeling, but I advise everyone to always read the fine print…our bodies do!
  10. Celiac.com 06/18/2015 - An Irish distillery has run afoul of regulatory authorities over labels that tout its gin and vodka as "gluten-free." The artisanal, Cork-based, St Patrick's Distillery claims it is a common misconception that all gin and vodkas were gluten-free. The company claims that, since its products are made with gluten-free ingredients, its labels are accurately distinguishing its vodka and gin from other products made with wheat. However, after numerous complaints, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland plans to follow up on the distillery's claims. The FSAI points out that all distilled beverages are gluten-free, calls the claims misleading, and says the company could be in breach of strict Irish food-labeling laws. A spokesperson for the FSAI said: "Under the Food Information for Consumers Regulation, the food information must not mislead the consumer by suggesting that the food possess special characteristics when, in fact, all similar foods (in this case, vodka and gin) possess such characteristics." Niamh O'Connor, who runs Cork Nutrition, said she that she was incredulous about the company's claims. "It is an absolute indisputable fact that distilled spirits are gluten-free, even if gluten-containing grains are used as a raw ingredient," said O'Conner. "Therefore…all gin and vodka products are gluten-free so one cannot label their own product as "gluten-free." Ireland's Coeliac Society, which supports people with the food intolerance, described the claims from St Patrick's Distillery as "unhelpful". "Wine, spirits, and cider are gluten free," said the society's Gráinne Denning. In addition to labeling their gin and vodka as "gluten-free," the company also refers to their new range of spirits as being lactose free. Of course, all distilled spirits are naturally dairy free and lactose free. What do you think? Are such labels helpful, or misleading? Share your thoughts below.
  11. I just noticed that some Talenti gelato flavors that were previously labeled "gluten-free" on the tubs no longer have that statement. Is it possible that these flavors are no longer gluten-free? On their website, it says they are gluten-free, but no indication on the label. I'm talking about the Mediterrenean Mint and Butter Pecan in particular. What is the deal with this?
  12. Celiac.com 04/18/2014 - Confusion over the labeling of gluten-free beers just got a bit clearer, thanks to new guidelines by the The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The new guidelines clarify the use of the term “gluten-free” in labeling for alcohol products. The Bureau announced that it would continue to consider gluten-free claims to be “misleading” if they were used to describe products made from gluten containing grains. Products in which gluten has been removed or reduced to below 20 ppm may be labeled as “processed,” “treated,” or “crafted to remove gluten,” if the claim is made “with a qualifying statement that warns the consumer that the gluten content of the product cannot be determined and that the product may contain gluten,” according to the guidelines. These guidelines are consistent with regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August, which also ruled that alcoholic beverages made from ingredients that do not contain any gluten – such as wines fermented from fruit and spirits distilled from non-grain materials – may continue to be labeled as gluten-free. Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), the Portland, Ore.-based maker of Omission Beer, brewed with traditionally malted ingredients and then treated to reduce the gluten content in the finished product, issued a statement that the “TTB announcement regarding gluten-free labeling does not require changes in the way Omission Beer is labeled, or any other aspect of the production and sale of our beers.” Source: Brewhound.com.
  13. Hi gang. I'm so angry I could scream...I accidentally glutened my daughter with a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea. I have been at this for a very long time, reading labels diligently, teaching my child as she has grown up to be her own best advocate, and we have literally had not one single glutening issue in more years than I can remember. Until now. I recently purchased several boxes of tea by different companies, because it is cold out and we all wanted something warm to drink. I do check labels diligently, a hard lesson learned for all Celiacs as we know, but I swear, it never even occurred to me that an herbal tea made by a reputable company would add gluten to the mix, so I did not read the ingredients when I purchased this item. Big mistake. The tea is called Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride, so that should have been my first clue to check the ingredients, but it also boasts itself to be an herbal tea, which threw me off. I am embarrassed to say I did check the side label for nutrition content, but I was checking only for carb count, as we only eat sugar free now. I did not read the ingredient list until last night, and boy am I miffed! I made myself a cup of the tea last night and it just tasted way too good to not have something questionable in it, like artificial flavoring or corn syrup solids (after not eating sugar or any variation of it for it so long my palette is highly sensitive to sweet tastes). When I looked at the ingredients it said it contains ROASTED BARLEY. Roasted barley! And it did not list any allergens whatsoever! Ugh... So I inspected the entire packaging as carefully as I could and nowhere on the front of the packaging did it say it was not a gluten free food, however it did say--way on the bottom of one side where it is very easily overlooked--that it "Contains Gluten". Well, Dear Celestial Seasonings, you just glutened my kid. She only drank one cup of the Sugar Cookie tea 4 days ago, and tells me she didn't notice any symptoms, but I can tell you that for the last several days she looked different to me--peaked, pale, circles under the eyes, etc. I told my husband that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if she had a stuffy nose for the next few days--a sure sign of glutening for her. The only good news is that she did not get the resulting abdominal pain and symptoms of a high dose of gluten. But on the other hand, she seems to think that because it didn't affect her that way she can get away with occasional gluten. Wrong! I feel like we just lost years and years of hyper-vigilant avoidance and education. So there it is, a hard lesson re-learned--always, ALWAYS check labels. Sigh.
  14. FDA recently made the 20 ppm gluten free rule official. Companies have a year or so to comply. Will this mean that barley, rye and oats have to be declared under the new FDA ruling (like in Canada) or will it still be just wheat?
  15. Celiac.com 10/24/2013 - I recently attended the FDA'S Gluten-Free Food Labeling Act seminar and I wanted to share with you what I learned. The FDA’s gluten-free labeling rule is not mandatory, meaning manufacturers are not required to call out “gluten” in food products. While the regulation is voluntary, what’s important to know is that any product that is labeled gluten-free must meet certain FDA requirements. To simplify, a packaged food product regulated by the FDA that is labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten, but it must also comply with additional criteria beyond this specific threshold. 20 ppm is not based on serving size either, which is key to remember. The use of a “gluten-free” label does not replace the need to comply with the mandatory allergen labeling that requires wheat and the other top allergens to be listed. As much as most of us would like, there is currently no way to guarantee “zero gluten.” Current validated testing methods cannot test to that level. Food products that are labeled “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” must also comply with the FDA’s gluten-free ruling. The claims “made no with no gluten-containing ingredients” and “not made with gluten-containing ingredients” do not have to comply with the ruling. The regulation will allow inherently gluten-free foods, such as a bag of raw carrots or bottle water, to be labeled gluten-free. Here’s an example: While there can still be the case where one package of fresh broccoli may be labeled gluten-free while another may not be, both are still safe for people with celiac disease because broccoli in its natural state is gluten-free. Oats are not considered a gluten-containing grain, but they may come into contact with wheat by cross contamination. You should only eat flours that are labeled gluten-free. The FDA does not have the authority to regulate gluten-free claims. Restaurants serving gluten-free food must do everything in their power to keep food gluten-free if they are making this claim. Foods labeled by the USDA are not covered by the FDA labeling act. Also, beverages regulated by TTB are not covered by the FDA'S labeling either. The most startling thing that I learned is that it is not unusual for a manufacturer to use barley and still label the product gluten-free. The bottom line is that even if the product is labeled gluten-free, read every ingredient and read it twice just to make sure you're safe!
  16. The American Celiac Disease Alliance is sponsoring a letter writing campaign to support HR 2003 for labeling gluten in medicines in the USA. Clicking the link below will take you to an online form you can use to submit an email message supporting the bill. Please consider doing this is you are a citizen of the USA. Thanks! Keep Patients Safe Disclose Drug Ingredients- The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act, H.R. 2003 http://www.capwiz.com/celiac/issues/alert/?alertid=61274486&type=CO Keep Patients Safe Disclose Drug Ingredients- The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act, H.R. 2003 I am writing to ask you to co-sponsor The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure, HR 2003. The inactive ingredients in some medicines are sourced from wheat, which can cause harm to the 3 million people with celiac disease and the untold millions with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Current law does not require the source of inactive ingredients of medication to be identified. Without labeling, patients, pharmacists and prescribers don't know if suspect ingredients contain gluten unless they investigate. Manufacturers may identify the inactive ingredient as "starch," but not say if it is derived from corn, tapioca, or wheat. Websites rarely list the information needed, and phone calls during business hours can result in a days-long wait for an answer. Pharmacists and prescribing healthcare providers of individuals on a medically required gluten-free diet must have immediate access to the source of inactive ingredients. Ready access to this information will ensure patients receive timely care and prevent unnecessary harm. The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act, H.R. 2003, will solve this problem. Identifying the source of inactive ingredients in drug products will give the consumer, pharmacist and prescriber the information needed to make an informed choice. Industry can support it as it does not impose a financial burden on the manufacturer. All of the national celiac organizations endorse this bill: American Celiac Disease Alliance, Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Sprue Association, Gluten Intolerance Group and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Please co-sponsor this important legislation and urge your colleagues to pass it without delay.
  17. Celiac.com 02/15/2013 - If you think the FDA has dropped the ball on gluten-free food labeling, you are not alone. In 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCP) gave the FDA four years to create and implement final rules for gluten-free food labeling. The FALCP requires manufacturers to identify these allergens by their common names (i.e. wheat, milk, or soy) on labels so that consumers can easily identify them. In 2007, the FDA followed FALCP's mandate by issuing a proposed rule "Food Labeling: Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods." The proposed rule states that a food is gluten-free if the food does not contain any of the following: an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains; an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten; an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten; or 20 ppm or more gluten. -- "Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods," 72 Fed. Reg. 2795 (proposed January 23, 2007) (to be codified at 21 CFR Part 101). The FDA's proposed rule was based on the fact that currently-adopted analytical methods can reliably detect gluten at or above 20 parts per million in most foods. Also, under that rule, food manufacturers looking to market products as 'gluten-free' would voluntarily test those products prior to labeling. However, the FDA allowed the comment period for the proposed rule to pass with no action, and issued no final rule for gluten-free labeling. In 2011, the FDA announced a second comment period for their proposed rule, but that comment period also closed with the FDA taking no action. A full year and a half later, on Dec. 14, 2012, the FDA issued a new proposed rule titled "Request for Comments and Information on Initiating a Risk Assessment for Establishing Food Allergen Thresholds; Establishment of a Docket." They opened comment period on this proposed rule until Feb. 12, 2013, and scheduled an advisory committee meeting of the FDA for March 7, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It has been eight years, since FALCP mandated the FDA to devise standards for gluten-free labeling, and five years since the legal deadline for final gluten-free rule, and the FDA has yet to accurately define the term "major food allergen," establish safe gluten thresholds for food products, and meet its statutory mandate to create and implement final rules for gluten-free food labeling. Until the FDA formally adopts a final rule for gluten-free labeling, there is no legal definition for what makes food "gluten-free" in the United States, and people with celiac disease will no clear assurance that when a product claims to be gluten-free, it is safe to consume. Please go to the Federal Register and comment on the FDA's latest ofrmulation of their rule (Docket No. FDA-2012-N-0711) regarding gluten-food.
  18. Hey guys, I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue based on tissue transglutaminase anti-body screening almost six years ago. I've been gluten free ever since. It wasn't until about 2-3 years ago that gluten free beer became a bit of a trend and my brother in law have got in to home brewing our very own gluten free beer. For our small 5 gallon batches every piece of equipment that I've used has been dedicated gluten free from the day I bought it. The question I have for everyone is: How comfortable are people drinking gluten free beer on non-dedicated gluten free lines? I believe that neither redbridge nor bards produces their gluten-free beers on dedicated lines, they instead clean the shared equipment. I wanted to get the view of other celiacs about gluten free beer (and for now I'm completely ignoring beer that tries to lower its barley content like estrella and omission). Thanks guys
  19. Celiac.com 10/08/2012 - Since 2004 when Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, sufferers of celiac disease have awaited some sort of finalized action from the FDA to set a rule for gluten-free labeling. The FDA proposed a gluten-free food labeling rule in 2007 and since then, there have been multiple open comment periods for it, but as of yet, there has been no finalized action to control gluten-free labeling in food products. In an effort to expedite this process, “Jennifer I” of Sebastopol, CA started a petition on the White House's official website. Part of the concern driving this petition stems from the fact that for many, the gluten-free diet is one of necessity, not of choice. 'Gluten-free' has become something of a new marketing buzzword, as the diet's popularity has grown dramatically in recent years. This makes labeling more important than ever: companies seeking to cash in on a growing market may be tempted to cut corners and label products as gluten-free, when in fact they are not. Supposedly, the FDA will be finalizing their rule sometime this year. Whether or not they stick to that time frame, this petition is a quick and easy way of putting more pressure on the federal government to finalize a gluten-free labeling rule. Source: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/finalize-standards-gluten-free-labeling/SsmdZh3C?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl
  20. Celiac.com 06/22/2012 - More and more, manufacturers are putting gluten-free labels on nonfood items such as vitamins and creams, lotions and other products absorbed by the skin. Recently, there's been a an increase of nearly 50% in body care products labeled "gluten-free" and certified as gluten-free, according to Cynthia Kupper, executive director of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America. Kupper was a featured speaker at “The Gluten Free Movement Within Specialty Foods" webinar hosted by The National Association of Specialty Food Trade. Many people who are gluten-sensitive suffer adverse reactions when using products that contain wheat and gluten. “If I were to wash my hands in wheat germ oil, they’d turn red and get itchy and blotchy,” says C.A. Diltz, who heads up gluten-free programs at Dorothy Lane Market here and is gluten sensitive herself. Diltz likes gluten-free health and beauty brand Keys and its all-natural moisturizer, shampoo and antibiotic hand soap to avoid skin irritation and problems related to accidental ingestion. This is a welcome development for many people with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance, as symptoms of a gluten reaction often manifest in the skin, and many people who avoid gluten are sensitive to gluten in products that are applied to the skin. Prescription medication can also be problematic, since fillers may contain wheat and/or gluten. To that end, the FDA has launched an assessment of drugs and drug manufacturers to determine which drugs contain gluten, and whether many of these can be reformulated to be gluten-free. Next month, a compounding pharmacist from Clark’s pharmacy, Huber Heights, Ohio, will address the issue at DLM’s Gluten-Free Food Lover’s Club support group meeting. At that same meeting, pharmacist Robyn Crow will help answer the question: “Are Allergen-Free Compounded Prescriptions Best For You?” Source: http://supermarketnews.com/nonfood/more-nonfoods-labeled-gluten-free
  21. Celiac.com 06/05/2012 - Even though public awareness of celiac disease is growing thanks to the recent surge in popularity of gluten-free dieting, gluten-free is still an uncontrolled term. The FDA proposed a < 20ppm gluten rule for gluten-free labeling in 2007 and reopened the proposed rule for comment last August, but many feel that too little is being done too slowly to control labeling of gluten content in foods. In a move that is raising some eyebrows, Tim Lawson, a sufferer of celiac disease and CEO and founder of New Grains Gluten Free Bakery is suing Utah Senator Orrin Hatch for obstructing FDA progress on the issue. Lawson, who feels the plight of the roughly nine million celiac disease sufferers in America, asserts that more funding should be allocated to expedite the FDA's regulation process of gluten-free labeling. Whether or not his concern is valid, it is doubtful that such a lawsuit will hold up in court. Lawson is essentially suing senator Hatch for refusing to exert his influence to raise funds for the FDA. Hatch is certainly not the only senator guilty of such inaction, so it is unclear why Lawson would single him out. According to Hatch's spokesman, Matthew Harakal, “... there is no legitimate cause of action against a legislator for failing to appropriate taxpayer dollars to address any one constituent's specific, individual desires.” Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah also comments, “Anybody could allege that, as a result of a member of Congress not voting one particular way they've then suffered some kind of adverse effect...” It is hard to hold Hatch liable for any hardship suffered by celiacs when, as Cassell suggests, literally every action taken by any American senator works against the favor of some group or another. At the very least though, Lawson is making it known that he, and many celiac disease sufferers are unhappy with how gluten-free labeling is currently handled in America. Even if it is doubtful that he will win his lawsuit, he has likely gotten Hatch's attention, and sometimes that is all it takes to get things done. Source: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/54142724-90/disease-dying-fda-free.html.csp
  22. Celiac.com 04/26/2012 - A recent statement by the FDA announces that the agency is gathering data to respond to calls for an "alternative approach" to determining a specific gluten threshold level other than the proposed level of under 20 parts per million gluten as one of the criteria to define the term “gluten-free.” The statement directly acknowledges that people with celiac disease must avoid gluten for life in order to prevent harmful health effects. The statement also notes that, in 2011, the Agency, through its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) conducted the following actions involving accurate gluten labeling of food products: It finished a safety assessment of gluten exposure in individuals with celiac disease, and that it had gotten that assessment peer-reviewed. This was done to gather more data regarding possible alternative approaches to establishing a specific gluten threshold level as one of the criteria to define “gluten-free.” These would be alternative approaches that differ from the "analytical methods-based approach" used by the FDA in its proposed rule for "gluten-free" products. That proposal established product ingredients under 20 parts per million gluten as one of the criteria for defining the term “gluten-free.” The FDA statement also noted that CFSAN had published a Federal Register notice in August 2011, reopening the comment period on the Agency’s proposed rule on “gluten-free” food labeling. The notice announces the publication of the FDA's safety assessment on gluten exposure in people with celiac disease, and asks for public comment on the safety assessment, and on any other issues that might affect the definition of the term “gluten-free” in the Agency's final rule. Lastly, the statement announces that the FDA will review and consider those public comments before issuing its final rule defining “gluten-free” for labeling food products, including dietary supplements. The FDA intends to complete the entire process and issue the rule by the end of fiscal year 2012. Source: FDA
  23. Celiac.com 01/30/2012 - Over the last decade, many companies are adding labels to their products like: "gluten-free," "low gluten," "no gluten," "no gluten ingredients used," "naturally gluten-free" and "celiac friendly." To many celiacs and individuals with gluten intolerance, the idea of companies labeling products without gluten is refreshing. To experts on celiac disease and gluten intolerance, the gluten labeling currently happening in the United States is frightening. United States versus Other Countries' Gluten Free Labeling Laws Many countries diligently regulate gluten-free labeling. A few months ago, an exchange student from Italy stopped by our Gluten Free Specialty Market and told me that she was horrified by the gluten-free labeling laws in the United States. For the first time in her life, she was being contaminated by products that weren’t safe for her to eat. After purchasing bakery products that were manufactured in a non-dedicated gluten-free environment, she became deathly ill for more than a week and told me she was only just starting to feel like she could travel more than a few steps from the nearest restroom. “I’m afraid to eat anywhere,” she told me, “Every time I eat out in this country, I get sick. I can’t wait to be home where I don’t have to worry like this.” This is not the first or even the 100th time I’ve heard a story like this. For 4 years, I have heard story after story of individuals eating what appeared to be a ‘gluten-free’ product and getting violently ill. So what does gluten-free mean? What Does Gluten Free Mean? According to the FDA, as of September 2011, gluten-free labeled products should (a) not include ingredients from gluten or gluten derivatives and ( maintain a status of less than 20ppm of gluten for all gluten-free labeled products. For more information about the FDA’s Gluten Free Food Labeling Request, go to: http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm111487.htm#q9 Though many companies try to follow the FDA's current gluten-free recommendation, mistakes are often made. In food manufacturing, companies are driven by supply and demand. Right now, the supply of gluten-free product options is low and the demand for gluten-free products is high. For this reason, companies are jumping on the band wagon trying to produce options to fill the demand. Some companies are started by an individual that is gluten intolerant, gluten allergic or has celiac disease. Other companies are producing gluten-free products solely for profit. While companies do their best to provide gluten-free products to the public, they often don’t understand what gluten-free actually means. Common Mistakes Made by Product Manufacturers While product manufacturers are trying to produce safe products, mistakes are often made. Most mistakes occur due to lack of education regarding what "gluten-free" really means and what it takes to prevent cross-contamination. The Product is Gluten Free Enough for Me Many gluten free products are created by individuals that have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a gluten allergy. Many of these products are made to be safe enough for the individual that made the product. This is a problem because, experts like Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Stanford Celiac Center, estimate that only 1% of the population diagnosed with celiac disease is aware that they are being contaminated. In other words, contamination may be affecting the health of an individual with celiac, even when they are not experiencing blatant symptoms. Example 1: A brownie company produced their product in a facility that also produced regular gluten products. The company is asked if they test their products for gluten, and they answer, "no, we don’t need to. If the product wasn’t gluten-free someone would have let us know by now. We’ve been in business for 4 years." Example 2: A pie company reports that their product is "celiac safe," and the company reports that they use a flour that tests above the safe range of 20ppm and the pies are made in a facility that produces gluten. Research presented by the Celiac Sprue Association has shown that facilities that use gluten flours generally create products that contain gluten. Heterogeneous Mixtures Versus Homogeneous Mixtures This problem sometimes happens when gluten-free companies are trying to keep the price down on their products. Flours produced in facilities that produce gluten are often times cheaper than flours produced in dedicated facilities and tested on import and export. Companies often believe that when you mix one flour that’s above 20ppm with another flour that’s non-detectable at 5 or 10ppm, then the outcome of the flour blend will be below 20ppm. This is not true because flour mixtures are not homogenous, they are heterogenous. In other words, if you have a chocolate chip size morsel of gluten in one bag of flour, even if you mix it with a another flour that doesn’t have any gluten in it, the morsel of gluten still exists. Therefore, the flour is not gluten-free. Example 1: Customers were reporting contamination after consuming a specific product from a gluten-free bakery. The facility was visited and it was found that both flours and corn meal were being made in facilities that produce gluten. Additionally, those facilities had reported that their flours routinely test above the safety zone of 20ppm. When the bakery was questioned about the flours, it was reported that they knew that some of their flours were above 20ppm but they didn’t use very much of them in the flour blend so it shouldn’t matter. If a Product Contains Gluten, it Contains Gluten If you put gluten in a product, it contains gluten. If your tests show results below 20ppm, they (1) might be read or performed inaccurately, (2) multiple samples could result in discrepancies (in other words, some samples may show higher than 20ppm and others lower). Example: A barbecue sauce has gluten as an ingredient and states "gluten free*" on their product label. At the bottom of the label the product states: "*tested below 20ppm for gluten." Though the end product might test as non-detectable, the product still contains gluten and should not be labeled gluten free. Manufacturer Produces Gluten, but the Product has "No Gluten Ingredients Used" on the Label Many manufacturers produce both gluten-containing and non-gluten containing products in their facilities. When a product is produced on machinery that produces gluten or in a facility that has flour dust in the air, the product should be tested for its gluten status before it is labeled gluten-free. Example 1: A clam chowder company labels it’s product as gluten-free and reports that the soup is gluten-free. Then later reports that wheat flour is used in other soups they make and that there is no allergen sterilization that occurs between the soup with wheat flour and the clam chowder without wheat flour. The company does not test for gluten status, but decides to label their soups as gluten free anyway. It is very possible that the soup will not test below 20ppm. Example 2: A flour company produces flours that appear to be gluten-free, but the flours are made in a facility that produces gluten-containing flours and are produced on equipment with gluten and exposed to gluten flour dust from the air. To cut back on the amount of gluten in their product, the company throws away the initial batches of flour and only keeps later batches. The later batches on average test around 30-35ppm. The flour is not labeled as gluten-free, nor does it state on the label made in a facility that produces gluten. Labeling Mishaps Lawyers often recommend that products not be recalled even when a gluten-free labeled product is determined to contain gluten. Example 1: Wellshire Farms products were sold with a gluten-free label despite having tests showing a ppm reading far above 20ppm. Example 2: A chocolate fitness bar was certified to be below 20ppm. The ingredients changed and wheat starch was added instead of corn starch. The starch was listed on the ingredients as “starch” and the product was labeled as “gluten-free” and noted to be tested below 20ppm. The Product is "Naturally Gluten-Free" Oftentimes, companies report that their product is gluten-free, because they use naturally gluten-free ingredients. The problem with this statement is that even a naturally gluten-free ingredient can become contaminated with gluten through production, storage or shipment. Example 1: A chia beverage company reports on their label that their product is naturally gluten-free. When informed that chia is often cross-contaminated with gluten, the company stated that "our chia tests at 30ppm, but since chia is naturally gluten-free they can still place gluten-free on their label." Example 2: To protect their consumers, Kettle Cuisine soups tests "naturally gluten-free" ingredients before using them in their manufactured products. More than once their cumin and coriander tested above 20ppm, and Morjoram tested above 5ppm. As a side note the company reports that they have had no problems with their current supplier of organic spices. So far, the organic spices have been consistently testing below 5ppm. Like many companies attempting the safest standards possible for their customers, Kettle cuisine requires that both the ingredients going into their product and the final product test below 5ppm. This allows even the most sensitive of gluten reactors to feel safe consuming their products. Many gluten-free product manufacturers regularly test their ingredients for gluten status. Naturally gluten-free products that should always be double checked for their parts per million (ppm) status include: vinegar, chia seed, hemp seed, oats, buckwheat, spices, produce stored with flour, flours or grains made in a facility producing gluten, B vitamins, E vitamins, modified food starch (should be listed as wheat if from wheat, but this doesn’t always happen). Offering Safe Gluten-Free Options to the Community At the Gluten Free Specialty Market in Sacramento, California we work hard to educate the community and manufacturing companies regarding the need for safe products. Local companies often ask us for information on how to provide safe gluten-free options. Nachez, a dairy free and vegan Nacho cheese sauce, contacted us last year while setting up the manufacturing of their cheese sauce. After speaking with us, it was decided that the product would be produced by a company that regularly batch tests the product to be below 20ppm. It is very empowering to feel like we, as a market, are activists for the health and wellness of our customers. In the past four years we have learned vast amounts of information on the manufacturing of gluten-free products throughout the United States. In 2012, we hope to press local legislators to help us do this by creating a gluten-free labeling standard for California. We hope that if the FDA doesn’t pass a gluten-free labeling law in the next year, California will pass a state law to help protect us. In the meantime, we continue to drill gluten-free manufacturers on their products and do our best to provide the safest gluten-free options to our customers.
  24. Celiac.com 10/28/2011 - The world's largest gluten-free cake, weighing nearly a ton, debuted in Washington, DC. Gluten-free labeling advocate John Forberger presented the 9-layer gluten-free behemoth as part of his efforts to push the FDA to deliver long-promised gluten-free labeling standards. The cake debuted as part of an effort to promote the Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit in Washington DC. The event included a representative of the FDA and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who sponsored the original Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the world’s largest gluten-free cake, all nine layers of it. In addition to raising general awareness of gluten-free issues, the giant cake was a reaction to failure on the part of the FDA to issue labeling standard for gluten-free foods and products. Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act the FDA was charged with creating standards for gluten-free labeling. FDA officials were ordered to make their recommendations to Congress in 2008. As of 2011, the FDA had made no recommendations on gluten-free labeling standards. Labeling is important, Forberger says, because buying gluten-free food is, for many people "a medical necessity, and until there’s a cure for celiac disease, eating foods free of gluten is the only treatment." Forberger has what is diagnosed as “an extreme gluten intolerance,” where ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, triggers chronic pancreatitis so severe that gluten reactions have hospitalized Forberger more than a dozen times. Even though there are many good, reliable manufacturers, "providing delicious gluten-free options, the industry is a self-regulating one . . . anyone can slap the words ‘gluten-free’ on a product and charge a premium, " he says. Prompted in part by this perceived failure by the FDA, Forberger teamed with author and celiac expert Jules Shepard to form 1in133, a nonprofit that aims to push the FDA to comply with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. The group’s name comes from the statistic from the Celiac Disease Foundation that 1 in every 133 people has the disease. Together, they crafted the idea that became the world's largest gluten-free cake. To promote their effort, Forberger and Shepard teamed with the American Celiac Disease Alliance to send 5,000 letters to the FDA calling for prompt establishment of standardized gluten-free labeling. They also initiated an online petition with the same message that has gathered more than 10,000 supporters. Gluten Free Food Labeling Summitt in Washington DC. The event included a representative of the FDA and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who sponsored the original Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the world’s largest gluten-free cake, all nine layers of it. The summit and petition campaign appear to have worked. In August, the FDA announced that it would again invite public comments on gluten-free labeling with the goal of creating a uniform and enforceable definition by summer or fall of 2012. Source: http://news.rutgers.edu/focus/issue.2011-09-01.8807267282/article.2011-09-22.8756737280
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