Gluten Free Labeling and Hidden Gluten
Why "Gluten-Free" Isn't Really Gluten Free...
Have you ever come across a product was labeled gluten free just to turn the box over and discover that there is a disclosure that says "this product is made in a facility that also processes foods containing wheat..." Confusing right?
I came across a great article from A Celiac's Dream that explains the current laws and regulations in the United States for gluten free labeling. Here are some exports from that article:
Gluten Free Labeling
More troublesome news when it comes to the "gluten free" label is that manufacturers can place a "gluten free" label on their products before their product is tested. The FDA does enforce the legitimacy of foods labeled "gluten free" by following up on consumer reviews or complaints, performing food label reviews, and analysis of food samples. It is then that a manufacturer would have to prove their "gluten free product" is truly gluten free or not.
Example: General mills and Cheerios, but they are just one example.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the objective was to determine how much gluten was being accidentally consumer by those following a strict gluten free diet. The study found "that many individuals following a GFD regularly consume sufficient gluten to tigger symptoms and perpetuate intestinal histologic damage."
Shocking to Read
Not every manufacturer has labeled their products "gluten free" even if their products are gluten free. However, if a food product does not list wheat under their allergen ingredients, it still does not mean that the food product does not contain gluten. There are 8 allergens (Soy, Milk, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Corn, Wheat, Fish, Eggs, and Shellfish) that food manufacturers are required by law to state on their labels. Barley and Rye contain gluten, but are not required to be listed on food labels.
My Take on This
Honestly, I find this information really shocking and irritating. Currently, the only cure for Celiac Disease and other gluten sensitivities is to avoid gluten entirely. Consuming even a little piece of gluten can set us up for disaster for a month or longer. Not to mention the long term affect gluten can have on our bodies if we do not avoid it. How are we suppose to feel better and healthy if food is not properly labeled. The current laws are not protecting us enough and many are still suffering from symptoms after being diagnosed. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
What Is Your Take On This?
On Instagram, I asked you "How do you feel abut how gluten free products are currently labeled?" And here are some of the response I received:
- "I can't understand why they can't list ALL the ingredients in something :("
- "I find it really annoying. I don't think anything should be labeled gluten free unless it is."