Reporting Adverse Reactions And Labeling Concerns
If you think that you or a family member has had a reaction or injury that might be associated with having eaten a gluten-free labeled food product, discuss this with your healthcare provider. If a product has unclear labeling or you believe is mislabeled as gluten-free, the FDA would like to know. Keep any food packages because they may contain important information. You may want to contact the manufacturer about the problem. Also, report the problem to the FDA in either of these ways:
Consumers and manufacturers can submit reports detailing product reactions or labeling concerns to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for the state where the food was purchased. You can also call FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.
For more information, see Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods.
Alternative Names For Gluten
The following terms represent the most commonly used Latin terms for wheat, barley, and rye. If you see any of these, the product contains gluten:
- Triticum vulgare
- Pasta: Made from wheat unless otherwise indicated
- Seitan: Made from wheat gluten and commonly used in vegetarian meals
- Wheat or barley grass: Will be cross-contaminated
- Wheat germ oil or extract: Will be cross-contaminated
Can I Use The Same Sponges And Dish Rags To Clean Gluten
The short answer: No, you should have separate sponges and dishrags to clean gluten-free cookware. Paper towels may not be green but you can clean up and toss the gluten-containing crumbs.
An explanation: Gluten cannot be sanitized away, so any gluten that remains on sponges or dishrags can be transferred to otherwise clean plates. Make sure to also use fresh dish water if you hand wash your dishes, as particles of gluten in the water can also be transferred to otherwise clean dishes when rinsing. Save dishes that held gluten-containing foods for last when hand-washing dishes.
While gluten cannot be killed off, dishes must still be washed thoroughly to eliminate any remaining particles on them. Dish soap combined with warm water accomplishes this much more effectively than simply running dishes under water. Beyond Celiac Scientific/Medical Advisory Council member Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, highlights these steps for cleaning dishes in shared kitchens:
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How Does Fda Define Gluten
In addition to limiting the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm, FDA allows manufacturers to label a food gluten-free if the food does not contain any of the following:
- an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains,
- an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten, or
- an ingredient derived from these grains that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million gluten
Foods that are inherently gluten-free, for example bottled spring water, fruits and vegetables, and eggs can also be labeled gluten-free provided any gluten that came in contact with the food is less than 20 ppm.
A food label that bears the claim gluten-free, as well as the claims free of gluten, without gluten, and no gluten, but fails to meet the FDA requirements for use of these terms is considered misbranded and subject to regulatory action by FDA.
There are no valid tests to detect gluten in foods that are hydrolyzed and fermented, like cheese and yogurt. So if they display a gluten-free claim, manufacturers must keep certain records to show that the foods meet “gluten-free” standards.
If you have any doubts about a products ingredients and whether or not the product is gluten-free, the FDA recommends that you should contact the manufacturer or check its website for more information.
People With Celiac Disease
A gluten-free diet is necessary for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten that causes the body to attack the small intestine, causing belly pain, nausea, bloating or diarrhea. People with celiac disease cant tolerate gluten in any form, and need to follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives. If you have celiac and accidentally eat gluten, youll probably experience the same symptoms you did before you went gluten-free.
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Gluten And Health Disorders
Gluten sensitivity will appear in very different ways. Most of the cases involve several symptoms like indigestion, headaches, lack of concentration and even overweight. Gluten intolerance is not a pathology that physicians take into account when it comes to making regular diagnoses.
Many people experience gluten sensitivity on a daily basis without being aware.
Checking Labels For Gluten
Unfortunately, labels dont always just say Gluten and thats the end of it. Gluten comes in all shapes, sizes, and names. Labels dont always say whether something is gluten-free or not. So here is a list of things that contain gluten that you dont want on the label.
Modified Food Starch
The words Gluten Free
The Words Wheat Free
List of Allergens
Processed In Facility
ALWAYS AVOID UNLESS LABELED GLUTEN FREE
You should avoid these unless, yes, labeled gluten free OR, for some, you have checked them and they appear to have no gluten. If you are in doubt about whether or not it contains wheat, dont eat it. Dont risk feeling sick for a week.
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What Does The Fda Say About Gluten Free Foods
In August 2013, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new rule for gluten free food labeling. According to this rule, manufacturers that want to label their food gluten free must comply with the FDAs new definition of the term. In order to comply with this definition, the product in question must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. There is no rule that foods must be labeled gluten free and there is no restriction on which foods can carry the label even naturally gluten free foods like fresh produce or water.
Here are a few quick things you should know about the FDAs gluten free food labeling rule:
- This rule applies to all FDA-regulated foods as well as dietary supplements and imported foods subject to FDA regulation.
- The rule doesnt apply to meat, poultry, and unshelled eggs as well as distilled spirits and wines made with 7% alcohol by volume or more.
- Food products may be labeled gluten free if:
- They do not contain wheat, barley, or rye, OR
- They do not contain an ingredient derived from a gluten-containing grain that hasnt been processed to remove gluten, OR
- They do not contain an ingredient derived from a gluten-containing grain that hasnt been processed to remove gluten if it results in 20 ppm of gluten or more.
Can I Use The Same Oil For Frying Gluten
The short answer: No, a separate fryer must be used for gluten-free items to avoid cross-contact.
An explanation: Similar to the misconception about using the same water to boil both gluten-containing foods and gluten-free foods, it is also not safe to use the same oil to fry these items. High heat will not eliminate gluten in the oil, so fryers used to make breaded or battered items would not be safe to use for gluten-free French fries, corn tortilla chips or other gluten-free items.
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How Can I Tell If A Food Is Glutenfree
A product labeled gluten-free, no gluten or without gluten is the fastest and easiest way to spot a gluten-free product. Manufactures can use these terms if they comply with the FDA rule of gluten-free. However, the FDA is unable to check every single label and sometimes mistakes are made so check the ingredient list as well if there is a gluten-free claim on the label.
Another way to tell if a product contains gluten is to read the allergen statement on packaged foods. The FDA food allergen labeling law requires food companies to label all foods that have wheat or contain wheat products. The allergen statement is found at the end of the ingredient list on packaged foods if it says contains wheat, this means it has gluten and its unsafe.
The food labeling law does NOT apply to barley, rye, or oats. This means if the allergen statement does not include wheat, you need to continue reading through the ingredient list for the other sources of gluten described above. If you dont see any of those words in the ingredient list, then the food is most likely a safe food.
In the sample ingredient label below, the ingredients are circled in red and the allergen statement is circled in blue. This food, which contains whole grain wheat, is not safe.
There is also a symbol that may appear on packaging of gluten free
Can I Use The Same Water For Boiling Gluten
The short answer: No, you must use clean water.
An explanation: This remains a very common misconception when the term cross-contamination is used. Some believe that boiling water after making gluten-containing pasta or other gluten-containing foods will sanitize the water, and make it safe to prepare gluten-free foods. Gluten cannot be killed off or disinfected, so it is not safe to use the same water to make gluten-free foods that was also used to make gluten-containing foods. This is a practice called comingling. This should also be kept in mind when using colanders to strain pasta. Gluten-free pasta should always be strained in a clean, preferably dedicated, colander.
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Is All Food Labeled
The FDA also encourages restaurants to adopt gluten-free labeling, for the benefit of customers, and to work with local and state governments to oversee this.
The FDA does not prescribe any particular type of labeling, or recommend a location for the label, as long as it doesnt interfere with mandatory labeling information and meets the regulatory requirements.
They point out that some organizations offer gluten-free certification. While the FDA does not endorse any specific certification program or labeling, they accept it.
Not all products are labeled, but all foods and beverages must comply with the regulation that if it does carry a gluten-free label, it must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. This includes packaged foods, dietary supplements, fruits, vegetables, eggs in their shells, and fish.
Items that are not covered include meat, poultry, some egg products, as these are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture , and most alcoholic beverages, as these are covered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. .
Tips For Avoiding Surprising Sources Of Gluten
Know wheat in all its forms. Wheat berries, semonila, spelt, farina, graham, durum, emmer, faro, Khorasan, udon and einkorn all contain gluten.
Look out for tricky ingredients. If a product is NOT labeled gluten-free, but contains one of these in the ingredients list, do not buy it: starch, modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, textured vegetable protein, dextrin, maltodextrin, glucose syrup, caramel, malt flavoring, malt extract, malt vinegar , brown rice syrup.
When in doubt, leave it out. If you cant confirm products are gluten-free, substitute fresh, nutrient-rich whole foods like meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. Choose naturally gluten-free starches like rice, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, potatoes, sorghum and wild rice.
Prevent kitchen cross-contamination. Crumbs linger in shared toasters, cutting boards, and community peanut butter, jam and cream cheese. Wipe counters regularly, and clean gluten-free dishes with a separate sponge. Line shared flour sifters and backing pans with parchment paper or foil, and wrap gluten-free bakery in foil.
How To Make: Gluten
Many People Have Gluten Allergies Intolerances And Sensitivities
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune intestinal inflammatory disorder. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten. Some people have such severe celiac disease that they cannot even eat a food that has trace amounts of gluten. Nor can they eat something that went through processing in a facility that also makes gluten-containing foods.
Around one percent of the human population has diagnosed celiac disease. And not everyone with celiac knows they have it. The only known treatment for celiac disease is to maintain a lifelong gluten-free diet. If you have celiac disease, you should not eat any gluten period.
But it isnt only people with celiac who should watch out for gluten. Many more people experience symptoms such as joint pain, skin problems, headaches, seizures, mental disorders, and digestive problems when they eat gluten or gluten-containing products. This is sometimes called gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity. While an authoritative assessment of how many people are sensitive to gluten is not available, the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland thinks it may be approximately 6% of the U.S. population.
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How To Know If You Suffer Gluten Intolerance
First, avoid eating products that can contain gluten for 60 days. To do so, it is not enough to just stop eating bread and pasta with gluten. Lets not forget that gluten is also a food additive in many processed products. Therefore, read the product label carefully. Moreover, you will have to order a gluten-free meal if you go to a restaurant.
It may be difficult to give up the products that you usually eat as well as the belief that whole bread is always healthy.
Gluten Could Be Hiding In Places You Least Expect It
Harrington added that it’s especially important to check the label for further details and individual ingredients, because gluten could be hiding in places where you would least expect it think deli meat, lip balms, vitamins, and even toothpastes.
According to Kershner, knowing where products are made is also key.
“If the product is not certified gluten free there is potential that it is manufactured in an environment that contains gluten and cross-contamination is possible,” Kershner said.
Oats, for example, often fall into this category, Kershner said. If you’re gluten-intolerant, buying gluten-free oats is crucial.
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