Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is anything safe?

You might see "gluten free" everywhere you look lately, but not so fast!

Did you know that the "gluten free" label isn't regualted in most countries?

What does that mean for you if you are on a medical gluten free diet?  Well, it can be a big headache.

The lack of regulation in food and pharmaceuticals is a huge problem, making being gluten free seem easier than it is and causing tons of disappointments at grocers, restaurants, and pharmacies.

What's reliable?

The GFCO certification is the highest standard I've found.

GFCO provides consumers and manufacturers confidence in knowing, that products labeled with the GFCO certification mark meet the strictest standards for gluten-free. These voluntary standards go beyond the requirements of government laws and regulations in order to ensure public confidence.
Sadly, symptoms are not reliable.  Many people with gluten problems can have internal damage but no noticeable symptoms.  So, get tested for malabsorption and immune activity to make sure your cheating ways (shared kitchens, eating out, oats, etc.) aren't biting you in the gut.

GFCO is great news, especially given the oversights

Many so-called gluten free products, such as chicken bouillon, corn cereal, and caramel ice cream topping, have been found to have been contaminated with gluten. For example, in an investigation reported by the Chicago Tribune on November 21, 2008, Wellshire Farms chicken nuggets labeled "gluten-free" were purchased and samples were sent to a food allergy lab at the University of Nebraska. Results of the testing indicated gluten was present in levels exceeding 2,000 ppm. After the article was published, the products continued to be sold. However, after receiving customer inquiries, Whole Foods Market removed the product from their shelves over a month later. Wellshire Farms has since replaced the batter used in their chicken nuggets.  More...

I've personally talked with companies who refuse to test their products even though they know they might be making people sick.  Some test for gluten levels 9000% higher than the FDA recommendation but still use the "gluten free" label.

Real Solutions

I'm not one to make this gluten free thing seem easy, and I go from zero to peevish when any disease is called a "lifestyle."  Check out news you can use at  The forums are full of people like us who can't kiss, take a pill or choose blindly from menus when on vacation.  It does get a little spammy at times.

There are some very caring companies that help, too.  You'll notice that I use Spicely a lot in my kitchen.  They are GFCO and I find them pretty easily in stores near me.   NutsOnline also has tons of GFCO bulk products.  No more worrying if someone switched the scoops or what was in the bin before!

I like to use NutsOnline when I'm making the luscious recipes from Cafe Gratitude.  A special shout out here to Erica and the Cupertino Cafe Gratitude as well as lovely Sophia in Healdsberg -- who keep me in good spirits with their delightful desserts and caring hearts.  Somedays, eating a gluten, soy and dairy free raw, organic, vegan tiramisu with thankfulness is all you can do.  ;)

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