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  1. 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."
  2. Celiac.com 10/12/2017 - Despite the economic downturn, the cost of healthy products has not diminished. Sales have continued to grow in this sector thanks to the many information campaigns aimed at raising consumer awareness of the health benefits of consuming gluten free products. Manufacturers have responded to the growing demand by expanding the variety of products they offer. Many consumers, including those that cannot eat gluten, do not want to give up eating products specially designed for them although they cost even more than traditional food. The demand for products that address food intolerance continues to grow. In Poland, the number of people who are on special diets because of their health problems and food allergies is still growing. More and more people suffer from intolerance to different nutrients. This creates market conditions that encourage developing products that are safe for this group of consumers. Demand, among one sub-set of this market - gluten-free products, is growing among many consumers. Even manufacturers of standard food products have entered this market segment because they see a large and growing potential. The gluten-free food market is growing steadily. The causes, in addition to the increasing number of diagnosed patients, is an increasing awareness among doctors and patients. Celiac disease affects not just children. Currently 60% of diagnosed cases are adults, of which 15-20% are over 60 years of age. Coeliac disease is diagnosed in Europe in 1:200 and in 1:250 people in the U.S. Approximately 70% of those diagnosed are women. Celiac disease is a non-allergic food hypersensitivity, which is caused by a genetic intolerance to gluten, a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye, and barley. It is estimated that celiac disease affects around 1 percent of the population and this number is likely to grow in the future. In some European countries, patients with celiac disease form more than 2 percent of population. Yet, the most developed market for gluten-free foods is in the United States. The number of newly introduced gluten-free packaged foods and beverages in the U.S. increased by 80% from 2005 to 2010. This trend is expected to continue through the years 2011-2014. Market analysis suggests that gluten-free food sales will grow at least until 2014. Companies producing food should therefore take advantage of the growing trend of food consumption in this category. Traditional gluten-free products such as bread, biscuits, crackers, cereals and pasta products are still in the development stage. In their group, in recent years, producers have continued to introduce new choices. However, we have also seen many innovations among the products in categories such as snacks, dairy products, sauces, spices, desserts and confectionery. Some of these products may already be free from gluten. However, to attract consumers they are now being labeled as gluten-free products. In the United States between 2008-2010 about 300 products in the category of gluten-free snacks were introduced. The U.S. achieved the highest number and value of sales in 2010. In Poland, only some of the really sick people are the diagnosed cases. Associations of people with celiac disease, such as the Polish Association of people with celiac disease and gluten-free diet is trying to raise public awareness of more aspects of the disease. This is another factor that will lead to increased demand for gluten-free foods. Such activities are already producing effects in the West, where preventive information campaigns have been widely carried out. The current emergence, in the Polish market, of western gluten-free food manufacturers and their products, demonstrates both the development of this branch of the food industry and growing awareness among people in other parts of Europe and the USA. For now, Polish brands dominate in our home market. This is due to lower prices compared to imported products. The quality of Polish products is also competitive. The current political situation allows distribution within the country and also for export. Competitive prices offered by Polish companies may be attractive for residents of other countries. Entering into foreign markets, managers should also take into account local eating habits and preferences. For foreign companies it is harder to attract customers, not only because of the price difference, but also because of the taste and form of food. Eating habits are also a strong factor, which influences customers' purchasing choices. So this factor must be included in designing process and entering new markets. Invariably, the problem of much higher priced gluten-free products arises. Gluten-free products are generally much more expensive than wheat-based products. This is due to less demand for them and the continuing refinement of this kind of food, which, so far, offers an inferior taste. A survey conducted by the Gluten-Intolerance Group of North America, estimates that people buying gluten free products spend about 30% of their monthly expenditures on food. This is still a big barrier to overcome for gluten-free food producers. The difference stems from the fact that the materials are non-standard and not as widely available as conventional ingredients. The development of new production technologies also generates additional costs. Furthermore, innovative products will be subjected to laboratory tests. Still, domestic products are cheaper by significant margins compared to products from abroad. Gluten-free food is specially marked by the manufacturers. The characteristic feature is the sign of the crossed head of grain, which indicates that product contains less than 20 ppm of gluten, which corresponds to 20 mg per 1 kg. Use of clear and legible labels will encourage customers to choose these products. The symbol tells the customer what to expect from the product. He can quickly and easily identify what he needs. Many leading companies monitor development of this branch of the food industry. They emphasize packaging and eye-catching labels. They also consider opening separate production lines to produce only this kind of products. Even companies not currently engaged in production of gluten-free food are starting to invest in development of these technologies. Much depends on the purpose of a producer who has to remember that gluten free food is a specialized product. If its purpose is mass production, entry into the gluten-free market may not produce the desired financial results. On the other hand, the advantage, in this case, is the extended offering of products at more competitive prices, which makes the products more attractive in the eyes of customers. At the same time, retailers will appreciate manufacturers that offer a wider choice of products. Financial planning should take into account the above factors and consider investing in new technologies. Access to the widest choice of gluten-free products is the best at Internet stores or health food stores. Supermarkets are not able to provide as wide a choice as the online stores. Potential clients are not just city dwellers who have easy access to health food stores. A package ordered from an online store reaches into every area of the country, and they are open at all hours and on all days. These store types are worth keeping in mind as they pose increasing competition. However, from a price perspective, they cannot compete with supermarkets. The demand for gluten-free foods is growing from year to year, among other reasons, because it also fits with the current trend of preventive health care. The gluten-free food market is characterized by outstanding performance over many years. Even during the recession in 2009, it grew by 11% in global sales (calculated on the basis of USD 2009 exchange rate), compared to the more sedate level of 3% for products in the category of health and wellness. In 2004-2009, gluten-free products reached a 15% annual growth rate (data Euromonitor). In 2009, global sales reached $ 2.3 billion for gluten-free products which represents 27% of food sales from food intolerance groups. Half of those sales were generated by bread, traditionally the most important category. According to Euromonitor analysis, a wide media campaign about celiac disease symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, skin rashes and lack of concentration, also increased its sales in this category, turning gluten into the "enemy" of good health. As of today, many of the gluten-free product buyers are people who have not been diagnosed with the disease, and who consider themselves to be people sensitive to gluten. They believe that eating gluten-free products improves their health. According to Euromonitor analyses, retail markets around the world, are not only responding to this trend, but also actively helping to increase growth in sales by offering a number of gluten-free products. Researches predict that the market for gluten-free foods will continue to grow over the next five years, although at a slower pace. Forecasts predict that the U.S. market of gluten-free foods and beverages in 2015 will reach sales of $ 5.5 billion.
  3. Celiac.com 06/07/2017 - After nearly a decade of high double-digit growth, the US market for gluten-free foods is set to level off to single digit rates in coming years, according to a study from Research and Markets. The firm's report, titled Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S., 5th Edition, looks at sales of gluten-free food across nine product categories, specifically traditional grain-based salty snacks and crackers, bread, pasta, cereal, making mix, cookies, flour and frozen dough. The report covers gluten-free food products sold through all types of retail outlets, including supermarkets, discount stores and super-centers, warehouse clubs, and mass merchandisers, along with convenience stores, drugstores, health and natural food stores, dollar stores, farms and farmers' markets. The report projects sales of more than $2 billion in 2020, up nearly $400 million from 2015. Researchers included products based on the possibility that they could be formulated with gluten, and whether they were clearly labeled and marketed as gluten-free. The company culls data for sales and market size from a proprietary Packaged Facts national online consumer survey conducted in July/August 2014; IRI sales tracking through U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores, drugstores, and mass merchandisers (including Target, Kmart, and Wal-Mart) with annual sales of $2 million or more; and from the Simmons National Consumer Survey from Experian Marketing Services. The report provides analysis of leading brands and marketers, key facts about gluten and how it can be avoided, gluten-free trends and opportunities, competition, food service markets, regulations and product development, and marketing trends. The full report is available at: Pizzamarketplace.com
  4. Celiac.com 04/04/2017 - From 2009 to 2014, the number of people with celiac disease in the United States held steady, while the number of undiagnosed individuals fell by about half. Mayo Clinic researchers, reviewing information from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, say the increase in diagnosis likely stems from better detection, better celiac disease awareness, and/or possibly from the rising popularity of gluten-free diets. The research team reviewed blood test results of more than 22,000 people over age of six years of age. Interestingly, while rates of celiac disease ready held steady, the number of people following a gluten-free diet without a celiac diagnosis more than tripled, to an estimated 3.1 million people. Source: AllergicLiving.com
  5. At long last! The petition is still open for signatures if you haven't signed it yet. The new rules are not approved yet, but have moved from the FDA to the next stage. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/finalize-standards-gluten-free-labeling/SsmdZh3C?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl An announcement of the rule being sent forward for review: http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/healthcare/284929-gluten-free-labeling-rules-head-to-white-house 'Gluten-free' labeling rules head to White House By Megan R. Wilson - 02/26/13 11:46 AM ET New rules dictating what foods can be labeled “gluten free” have arrived at the White House for final review, according to federal records. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working on the labeling requirements for gluten-free foods since 2005. The regulation has been named “economically significant,” meaning it has a cost of $100 million or more on the economy. On Monday, the rule headed to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which it will need to pass through before being enacted. “Establishing a definition of the term 'gluten-free' and uniform conditions for its use in the labeling of foods is necessary to ensure that individuals with celiac disease are not misled and are provided with truthful and accurate information with respect to foods so labeled,” FDA said in a 2011 re-opening of the proposal. In the rule, the FDA defines a product as “gluten free” if it does not contain the following: wheat, rye, barley, or any hybrid of these grains; ingredients such as wheat flour that have not been processed to remove gluten; or any item made up of more than 20 parts per million of gluten.
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