Gluten-Free.........is it Really?
There are thousands of people now following 'gluten-free' diets so this is an important blog. I just read an article on this issue and found two items at the store I was going to buy that were labeled improperly. The problem is that companies are putting this label on products that contain wheat and other ingredients that are not allowed.
Most of us are in a hurry when shopping. You are looking at price, as well as, nutritional value and contents while on a mad late night shopping trip. You would hope that when it states 'gluten-free' that you could count on that, but not so. More and more products are slipping through the system misbranded.
Gluten-Free is popular along with organic so putting those words on the label gets the company more profit. When caught these companies will receive hefty fines for their deceiving products but they have to be caught first. The FDA does not have enough man power and resources to catch all these misbranded products reaching the shelves of supermarkets. This is happening with products produced both in the USA and from foreign companies.
What can you as a consumer do to protect yourself?
Read labels carefully on every product you buy! Foods to look for that contain gluten.
The following is a partial list the foods to buy and ones to avoid. To find out all the foods that are 'gluten-free' or contain gluten, go to this in-depth article that lists all of the foods for every food group. Gluten is hidden in so much of the processed foods that are bought by the typical family. This makes shopping a family affair to do it right.
Foods that contain gluten: Barley malt or barley malt extract; vinegar; soy sauce that is wheat based; rye; barley; Triticale; spelt; and couscous. You would be surprised to see how many products are misbranded. Some products may be processed in the same area as wheat so there can be gluten contamination.
It is lawful for food to contain under 20 PPM of gluten in food. That is what is allowed by the label standards.
“[t]he goal of manufacturing any food labeled gluten-free should be for the food not to contain any gluten or to contain the lowest amount possible that is less than 20 ppm gluten.”
To Check Closely: Canned fruits and vegetables may contain sauces containing gluten; sauces may contain gluten; pre-chopped vegetables and fruits may contain gluten depending on where they were processed. Dried fruit and vegetables may or may not contain gluten.
Foods Naturally 'Guten-Free'
Gluten-Free: All fresh fruits and vegetables, oats, arrowroot, teff, amaranth, millet, tapioca, sorghum, buckwheat, wild rice, brown rice, and quinoa. Frozen vegetables are usually free of gluten. Vegetables or fruits canned with natural juice or water should be fine in most cases.
#2. Make a safe list of the products you are buying most often listing the brand name, name of the product, ounces or pounds, where you bought it and the price you paid. This will save you time and money when buying these items. It is hard to remember where you bought something and for what price. Carry this list or put it in your phone to take with you while shopping.
#3. Involve your children to help you. Teach them about labels and have them help you check the products as you go. This will enhance their reading skills and their food selection skills. Give them training on why you are buying these foods and the impact on your digestion and health if you don't . Make it as simple or more detailed depending on the age of the child. Explaining can be as simple as this makes moms stomach hurt or will make your stomach hurt if we buy this food.
#4. When you find products misbranded on the shelf, jot them down in your phone and report them to the agencies below:
firstname.lastname@example.org and to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for the state in which the food was purchased or
Call the USDA at 888-674-6854 to report misbranded products.
Kate Freer, the herbladyisin