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Jefferson Adams posted an article in Additional Celiac Disease ConcernsCeliac.com 12/14/2018 - As the popularity of gluten- and allergen-free foods have exploded, so has the list of manufacturers rushing new products to market. Several studies have shown that numerous restaurant and commercial foods labeled as ‘gluten-free’ contain unacceptable gluten levels. Meanwhile, other news has revealed that many supermarket products labeled gluten-free in fact contain unacceptable levels of wheat. Now, news in from the UK says that manufacturers were forced to recall sixty-eight products linked to potentially lethal allergies or food intolerances due to being improper labeling. There have been several cases of accidental exposure to allergens causing death. Partly as a result, a renewed diligence among grocers and manufacturers has led to a number of product recalls. Recalled products include yogurt, salad dressing, supermarket croissants, biscuits and cottage pies. The figures suggest that companies may have supply, formulation, and/or manufacturing issues that leave them out of touch with the ingredients in their products. Recent major product recalls in the UK include: Sainsbury's in-store bakery All Butter Croissant recalled over undeclared almonds. Quorn’s recall packs of Gluten Free Burgers due to undeclared gluten. M&S’s recall of Gluten Free Scotch Eggs due to undeclared gluten. Mary Berry's Salad Dressing’s recall due to undeclared egg. Tesco’s recall of Hearty Food Company Cottage Pie and Hearty Food Company Sausage and Mash due to undeclared milk. Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City, University of London, said: "The recent deaths ought to be a wake-up call. Labeling is not working and confidence is falling. This is not a good state of affairs." The Food & Drink Federation (FDF), which speaks for manufacturers, said that, under UK regulations, “If a pre-packed food or drink product contains any of the 14 food allergens it must be declared and emphasized within the ingredients list.” The FDF advises that "In the unlikely event that once a product has shipped, a business discovers that this labeling has not been done correctly, it is their responsibility to inform the Food Standards Agency and immediately recall the product." The British Retail Consortium, which speaks for the major chains, said: "Supermarkets are fully aware of how crucial allergen labeling is. That's why in the small number of cases where an ingredient is not correctly labeled, retailers withdraw the product and notify the FSA." With numerous studies, products recalls, and news stories calling attention to the problem of gluten contamination in gluten-free food, look for retailers and manufacturers to take a more aggressive role in policing their labels, if only to escape the action of regulators and litigators.
Jefferson Adams posted an article in Gluten-Free Food Ingredient Labeling RegulationsCeliac.com 11/11/2016 - Do allergen advisory statements for wheat help US consumers with celiac disease make safe food choices? A team of researchers recently set out to review food that were not labeled gluten-free, but which appeared to be free of gluten ingredients based the ingredients list. The product labels indicated that the products contained no wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewers yeast. The research team included T. Thompson, TB Lyons, and A Jones. They are variously affiliated with Gluten Free Watchdog, Manchester, MA, USA; the Department of Clinical Nutrition, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA, and with Mary Rutan Hospital Nutrition, Bellefontaine, OH, USA. Looking for allergen advisory statements noting wheat, gluten or both, the team retrospectively reviewed labeling information for 101 products tested for gluten content. They tested products through the gluten test reporting service Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC in Manchester, MA, USA. The review included all commercially available products tested by Gluten Free Watchdog not labeled gluten-free or low gluten at the time of this analysis. Gluten testing was conducted via Bia Diagnostics in Burlington, VT, USA. Each product sample was tested in duplicate using the Ridascreen Gliadin sandwich R5 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) Mendez method (Ridascreen Gliadin R7001) and extracted with the cocktail solution (Art. No. R7006—official Mendez method) following the kit manufacturer’s directions (R-biopharm, Darmstadt, Germany). Seven of the 14 foods with quantifiable gluten in this assessment are single-ingredient foods, such as oat fiber, spices, and green tea leaves. Many single-ingredient foods are considered by consumers to be naturally gluten-free. However, US grain standards allow certain percentages of foreign material in grains, seeds and legumes. On the basis of this analysis, the current use of allergen advisory statements for wheat or gluten are not useful predictors of whether or not a single or multi-ingredient food product contains 20 or more p.p.m. of gluten. The authors are urging the regulation and standardization of such precautionary statements so that they are helpful to gluten-free consumers. Source: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Sep 14. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.155.
Celiac.com 08/21/2014 - It’s official! Since August 5th, 2014, all packaged foods sold in the U.S must comply with new federal rules for labeling foods as "gluten-free." That means that all packaged food claiming to be "gluten-free" must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. The FDA finalized the rule in August 2013, and gave food manufacturers one year to comply. The rule went into full effect on August 5, 2014. The new standard applies equally to all products labelled “gluten free,” “no gluten,” “without gluten,” and “free of gluten.” Until this rule went into effect, many food and product manufacturers were applying the term ‘gluten-free’ in myriad ways, some questionable. Moreover, consumers needing gluten-free food for medical reasons had no good way to know if the label was accurate, or if the food posed a potential risk to their health. Currently, the new gluten-free standard applies all foods and dietary supplements regulated by the FDA. The rule, however, does not apply to most alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, prescription and non-prescription drugs, pet food, or to foods regulated by the USDA, such as meat or poultry.
Jefferson Adams posted an article in Conferences, Publicity, Pregnancy, Church, Bread Machines, Distillation & BeerCeliac.com 03/13/2014 - Two recent articles in Bloomberg Businessweek offer some excellent lessons for companies seeking to introducing gluten-free products at the retail level. Both articles are by associate Bloomberg Businessweek editor Venessa Wong. The first article is titled Can You Trust Gluten-free Restaurant Items? The article describes the gluten-free missteps of a few companies that got their gluten-free efforts wrong, at least at first. Companies mentioned in the article include California Pizza Kitchen, which rolled out pizzas made with a gluten-free crust late in 2010. Many customers became angry when they realized gluten was present in other parts of the pizza, and that the pizzas, as eaten, were not gluten-free. After about six months of the uproar, California Pizza Kitchen quickly pulled the pizzas off the menu, and then spent more than a year working to revamp its kitchen operations and train employees. Domino's pizza recently took a similar approach by rolling out a highly touted, much marketed gluten-free pizza crust, when their final product was not gluten-free. In fact, When many people within the gluten-free community expressed outrage over what they claimed was misleading at least, and possibly a classic bait-and-switch, Domino's tried to quell the the uproar by claiming that they never intended their pizzas to be for people with celiac disease or serious gluten-sensitivity. Those disclaimers did not go over well. It is important to remember that the latest ruling by the FDA requires restaurants to use the term "gluten-free" in the same way as commercial food producers. That is, they can only use the term gluten-free if the product contains no gluten ingredients and tests below 20 parts per million. The second article is titled Why the Long Wait for Dunkin's Gluten-free Donuts? Ostensibly an article about why Dunkin' Donuts has taken its time in bringing gluten-free donuts to its customers, works as a loose guide for companies looking to get it right. In the end, Dunin' Donuts decided not to go to market with a gluten-free product at this time. Companies that successfully introduce gluten-free products at the retail level strictly control and monitor every step of the gluten-free process, from supply to production to preparation and final delivery to the customer. These companies also invest in training their workers at all level of the process to achieve uniform results. Companies that approach gluten-free food as a medical issue, and which set their sights on offering celiac-friendly gluten-free food, seem to do best in the long run. Companies that have difficulty in introducing gluten-free products at the retail level either fail to strictly control and monitor every step of the gluten-free process, or they do not design such a comprehensive process in the first place. Many failed efforts involve companies offering products that incorporate gluten-free ingredients, such as Domino's gluten-free pizza crust, but which are not part of a truly gluten-free final product. Companies that approach gluten-free food as a trendy issue, and tout food with gluten-free ingredients, but which can harm people with celiac disease seem to run into troubles. So what do you think? Can you name some other bad rollouts of "gluten-free" products?
Rapid Gluten Detection Test for Food Products Promises Better Product Labeling, Easier Gluten-Free Shopping
Jefferson Adams posted an article in Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance ResearchCeliac.com 11/19/2008 - In a development that could benefit people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, a team of researchers based in Spain and the U.K. has developed a faster, easier way to test food products for the protein that triggers the adverse reactions associated with celiac disease. Such a rapid gluten detection test for food products could help millions of people avoid the indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, and other symptoms that arise when they accidentally consume foods that contain gluten. The research team was made up of Alex Fragoso, Ciara O'Sullivan and other colleagues, and their results will appear in the December 15 issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry. Their development centers on the creation of a new sensor that detects antibodies to the protein gliadin, a component of the gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley. Laboratory tests showed that the new sensor is both highly accurate and far faster than the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which is the current standard test for gliadin. The new test can detect gliadin in amounts as small as the parts per billion range, while an ELISA test requires a full 8 hours to do the same thing. Avoiding gluten enables people with celiac disease to avoid symptoms commonly associated with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. However, since gluten can hide in so many seemingly safe foods, such as soy sauce, canned soups, and licorice candy, it can be difficult to know for certain whether foods are in fact free of gluten free. A number of prepared foods clearly list gluten ingredients on their labels, but spotting its presence can be challenging at best, and is often outright hit or miss. A rapid, highly accurate test that can reliably spot gluten in food products promises to make it easier for manufacturers to label their products, and for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance to avoid gluten and thereby enjoy better health.