• Sophie Ward

Hitting 1,000 Views! Why we still get sick off 'gluten-free' products!

Hi Guys, *WE HAVE HIT 1,000 VIEWS - THANK YOU SO MUCH* - I LOVE YOU ALL, KEEP LEARNING, READING,FOLLOWING, ENJOYING AND COOKING. This blog will be full of a lot of details - so just beware. Though with researching for my book on America I came across this site/website and it is truly eye-opening. Of course I have voiced how ill I became whilst over there and how really I am still struggling now - but this article really does answer a lot of my questions and wonder that I had and I just want to share it with you guys to hopefully raise some awareness. I have copied and pasted Jane Anderson's article - so please take a read. I have also included my issue with beans and chickpeas and why I may be suffering before we begin.

I started my research by trying to find out why I react and get sick of beans and legumes - as I love kidney beans and they are a fab bean to add to your diet, packed with amazing nutrients and I LOVE hummus but have recently been suffering off chickpeas. I simply had a chickpea and lemon dip at a BBQ at the weekend and I became very ill and entered that brain fog, 'coma' like state, wanted to be sick, stomach was cramping and I didn't feel 'there'. I couldn't understand why these 'natural' beans etc were affecting me and why they do state they contain gluten. Well I found out that farmers farm them alongside or in fields next to wheat, rye and barley harvests - meaning fibers off these 'wheat-based harvests' are spread all over our beans and legumes and under regulations they don't have to go through any cleaning to remove the gluten picked up, meaning it goes straight into our food and to the stores containing these fibers and causing suffers to become unwell. So please WATCH OUT and it proves just how much of a problem allergies can be and how difficult it is with food labeling, eating out, cross-contamination it is not to become unwell or become caught out. I know that farming is hard, we have a growing population and more food is needed to feed them, wheat, grains and beans being a massive part of this drive as they create so many products but this allows regulations around these products to be slack and with growing allergies this is becoming more and more of an issue. So please, please be careful and hopefully spreading awareness will hopefully pay off for all of us and products like beans (I miss them!) will one day be safe to eat.

What Does the FDA's Definition of 'Gluten-Free' Mean for You?

Nine Facts You Need To Know About Gluten-Free Labeling

*The FDA - are American based*

What is gluten-free? According to the FDA, it's products with less than 20 parts per million of gluten. © Jane Anderson By Jane Anderson Updated January 01, 2015

What does the FDA's definition of gluten-free mean for you?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has formally defined the term "gluten-free" as less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. But what does this mean for your day-in, day-out grocery shopping?

Here are your questions answered.

Question: What are the basics of this new gluten-free rule from the FDA?

Answer: The FDA gluten-free label rules mean food companies need to follow certain specific guidelines in order to label something "gluten-free."

According to these guidelines, something with a "gluten-free" designation on the packaging:

Can't contain the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye, or crossbreeds of these grains, such as spelt or Einkorn wheat (note that there's an exception to this rule, which I detail below) Must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten Here's the exception to the first rule: a product can contain ingredients derived from the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye, as long as those ingredients have been processed to remove the gluten, and as long as the resulting final product contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

Examples of ingredients derived from gluten grains but processed to remove gluten can include: wheat germ oil, wheat or barley grass, and barley-based enzymes.

Question: Does this rule mean that products labeled "gluten-free" will contain zero gluten?

Answer: No, not at all. Under the FDA's rules, products carrying a "gluten-free" designation can have up to 20 parts per million of gluten in them.

According to the FDA, "most" people with celiac disease can handle a small amount of gluten in their food each day (the studies haven't been done to see whether that much gluten harms people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity).

However, plenty of people react to levels of gluten below 20 ppm. So if you get glutened after trying a new "gluten-free"-labeled product, don't assume you're reacting to something other than glutenit's perfectly possible that you're reacting to the trace gluten in that product, even if it meets the FDA's legal definition of "gluten-free."

Here's some more information on this:

Foods Labeled 'Gluten-Free' May Still Contain Some Gluten I'm eating gluten-free, but I still have symptoms. Why am I getting sick? Why Gluten PPM Numbers Matter How Much Trace Gluten Is In Your Gluten-Free Food? Table Listing Different PPM Testing Limits for Manufacturers

Question: Are companies required to label something gluten-free if it doesn't contain any gluten?

Answer: Nope. The regulations are strictly voluntary. However, many companies are well aware of the growing popularity of the gluten-free diet, and want to serve the gluten-free market.

Question: Do the regulations now require companies to disclose gluten in products?

Answer: No again — the rules governing disclosure of allergens haven't changed. See more on this here: Do food labeling laws require manufacturers to disclose gluten ingredients?

Question: How long do manufacturers have to comply with the new rules?

Answer: They have until August 1, 2014. However, the FDA says that 95% of all gluten-free-labeled products on store shelves right now actually meet the requirements just fine.

Question: Do the FDA rules require manufacturers to test their products for trace gluten if they're labeling those products "gluten-free"?

Answer: Unfortunately, no, they don't. If it's important to you that you buy only food products that are tested periodically for trace gluten, then you'll have to contact individual manufacturers to see if they test their products. ( This shouldn't be our job - I feel).

Question: I found a barley kernel in my lentils. Do the new FDA regulations address this kind of gluten cross-contamination issue?

Answer: Yes. The FDA is well aware of problems that stem from shared harvesting and storage facilities for various commodities (see more on this here: Wheat Harvest Time Shows How Cross-Contamination Occurs). Under the FDA rules, food products — even single-ingredient products like sorghum flour or your lentils — cannot sport a "gluten-free" label unless they are tested to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. I doubt your lentils would qualify.

Question: What about "gluten-removed" beer made from barley — can that carry a gluten-free label?

Answer: As of right now, no, it can't. There are two federal agencies that govern beer: the FDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The alcohol bureau told brewers in 2012 that it wouldn't allow a gluten-free label for beer made from barley because the tests to detect gluten in those brews may not be reliable. The FDA, meanwhile, is studying the issue and intends to propose a new rule detailing its approach to making sure these types of products meet gluten-free labeling standards.

Learn more on this:

Labeling Rules for Gluten Grain-Based Alcoholic Beverages Gluten-Removed Beer: Is It Safe on the Gluten-Free Diet?

Question: So will these new FDA rules change how we shop for gluten-free food?

Answer: Quite honestly, probably not that much. The FDA notes that the rules can give us confidence that the food products we buy meet the agency's gluten-free standards ... but the vast majority of products on the market today (19 out of every 20) already do meet those standards.

If you can eat most of the gluten-free-labeled products out there now without getting sick, you should be able to continue that (and it's possible you'll get glutened even less often than before). If, however, you're sensitive to trace gluten below the 20ppm standard, you'll still need to carefully shop for products you know meet a more stringent standard, such as those that are certified gluten-free.

FDA Sets 'Gluten-Free' Labeling at 20 Parts Per Million FDA gluten-free rules FDA rules defining the term 'gluten-free'. U.S. Food and Drug Administration By Jane Anderson Updated April 08, 2016 You might think the official definition of a "gluten-free food" would be "a food that's 100% free of gluten." But if you did think that, you'd be wrong: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines "gluten-free" foods as those containing less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

No, that's not zero, even though it's still a tiny amount.

Some clinicians argue that it's effectively zero, since research has shown that some people with celiac disease can eat foods with up to 10 milligrams of gluten in them per day without experiencing symptoms.

(Read more about this here: How Much Gluten Can Make Me Sick?)

Other advocates within the gluten-free community (me included) argue that the FDA should have required "no detectable gluten" as its standard, since plenty of people get sick at levels well below 20 parts per million. However, "undetectable" was dismissed as being too difficult to accomplish for the large and influential food manufacturers seeking to target the growing gluten-free market.

Under the FDA's rules, manufacturers legally can label a food "gluten-free" even if that food contains an ingredient that's made from wheat, barley or rye (or a crossbreed from those grains) as long as the ingredient has been processed to remove the gluten down to below that 20 parts per million level.

Are Manufacturers Following the Rules? As of the day the rules were announced in August 2013, the FDA said that most manufacturers — 95% or more — already were following the rules.

Product testing by the group Gluten Free Watchdog indicates that the vast majority of "gluten-free"-labeled products on the market remain in compliance with the FDA 20 parts per million standard.

The labels are voluntary, not mandatory — manufacturers that wish to cater to gluten-free consumers can add the labels to their packaging, but they aren't required to do so.

The labels don't eliminate the need for us to learn to identify gluten on food labels, either, since the FDA's rules don't require manufacturers to disclose gluten-containing ingredients.

If you're particularly sensitive to trace amounts of gluten, remember that the FDA's definition still allows tiny amounts of gluten in gluten-free foods, which means it's still possible to get gluten symptoms from foods labeled as gluten-free. You're still responsible for knowing your own tolerance and monitoring your own reactions.

History of the FDA's Gluten-Free Label Rules The FDA first proposed rules to govern gluten-free labeling in 2007. In August 2011, the agency reopened the public comment period on the regulations and announced plans to resume work on the regulations, and in February 2013, the FDA wrapped up its work on the gluten-free regulations and sent the final version on for further regulatory review.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 requires manufacturers to disclose on food labels the presence of eight major allergens (including wheat, but not barley or rye).

Those disclosures began in 2006. The law also requires the FDA to establish rules for gluten-free labeling.

The agency's proposed rules in 2007 defined "gluten-free" as containing less than 20 parts per million.

Six Myths About Gluten-Free Food Products What Does 'Gluten-Free' REALLY Mean? As consumers, we learn to trust food labels — especially when we must follow a specific diet due to a condition like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. But do gluten-free labels really mean what we think they mean? Here are six myths about gluten-free food products, and the truth behind our assumptions.

Myth No. 1: "Gluten-Free" on a label means the food contains zero gluten.

Fact: Foods that are labeled "gluten-free" are allowed to contain a tiny amount of gluten.

"Gluten-free" is a legal definition, not a scientific one — it means foods contain less than a certain legal amount of gluten (in the U.S., it's less than 20 parts per million). "Gluten-free," however, does not mean zero gluten, and in fact most food products labeled "gluten-free" still contain very small amounts of gluten. Does that mean you can still react to foods, even if they're labeled gluten-free? You might — many people do.

Foods Labeled 'Gluten-Free' May Still Contain Some Gluten I'm eating gluten-free, but I still have symptoms. Why am I getting sick?

Myth No. 2: Manufacturers are required to label foods "gluten-free" if they don't contain gluten.

Fact: No, they're not. Gluten-free labeling is completely voluntary for manufacturers — they don't have to use it at all. However, if they do want to add that "gluten-free" tag line, they need to make sure the product in question meets the legal standards for "gluten-free" (see Myth No.

1). That means doing some testing and taking certain steps in the manufacturing process to guard against gluten cross-contamination ... and of course this adds some expense. However, with the popularity of the gluten-free diet surging and many consumers avoiding gluten, quite a few companies are willing to go to the extra expense so that they can legally label products "gluten-free."

What You Should Know About U.S. Gluten-Free Label Rules What Does the FDA's Definition of 'Gluten-Free' Mean for You?

Myth #3: Manufacturers are required to disclose gluten ingredients on food labels.

Fact: This differs depending on what country you're in. In the U.S., manufacturers must disclose ingredients made from wheat, but do not need to disclose ingredients made from the gluten grains barley or rye (although some companies — Kraft Foods is one example — do so voluntarily). In Canada, gluten is considered to be a major allergen, and food manufacturers must indicate any gluten-containing ingredients on their labels. No countries require disclosure of potential gluten cross-contamination, although once again, a few manufacturers do so voluntarily.

Canada's Gluten-Free Label Rules Do U.S. Food Label Laws Require Disclosure of Gluten Ingredients?

Myth #4: Products labeled "gluten-free" can't contain ingredients derived from wheat, barley or rye.

Fact: In many countries, manufacturers can legally label something "gluten-free" even if it contains ingredients derived from gluten grains, as long as the ingredients are processed to remove gluten and as long as the product in question contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

Examples of these types of ingredients include wheat starch (used more commonly in baked goods in Europe), wheat grass and barley grass (frequently found in vitamins), ethanol (alcohol commonly derived from gluten grains and used in many different food flavorings), and maltodextrin (often derived from gluten grain sources in Europe, but from non-gluten-grain sources in the U.S.). Although these ingredients may be considered technically free of gluten, many people find they react to them, and some experts (although not all) recommend caution.

Are wheat grass and barley grass gluten-free or not? Is 'Gluten-Removed' Beer Safe on the Gluten-Free Diet?

Myth No. 5: "Gluten-free" on the label means the product wasn't made in a facility or on equipment that's shared with gluten grains.

Fact: "Gluten-free" on the label promises no such thing. It's perfectly possible for manufacturers to make legal "gluten-free" food products in a shared facility as long as they take a few basic precautions to guard against cross-contamination. It's even possible for companies to make "gluten-free"-labeled products on shared manufacturing lines, although those companies will need to clean quite thoroughly between product runs (to be fair, many companies follow these types of good manufacturing protocols regardless).

Should you eat foods made in a shared facility or on shared equipment? Myth #6: "Wheat-free" equals "gluten-free."

Fact: Products with "wheat-free" on the label should be free of wheat, but likely contain barley or rye — otherwise, the company would label them "gluten-free." "Wheat-free" label notations are helpful for people who suffer from wheat allergy, but unfortunately can be confusing for people who follow a gluten-free diet. Just remember to look for the words "gluten-free," not "wheat-free."

Does Wheat-Free Equal Gluten-Free? What Is Wheat Allergy?

Should I Choose Only Certified Gluten-Free Foods? Question: If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is it important to choose only certified gluten-free foods — i.e., those that have been verified to be gluten-free by an independent certifying organization? Or is it fine to eat foods that are labeled gluten-free but not certified?

Answer: Foods that are certified gluten-free receive a private organization's seal of gluten-free approval, meaning that they are supposed to meet higher standards than foods that are merely labeled gluten-free.

Meanwhile, foods that have not been certified gluten-free need only to meet the minimum gluten-free rules set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the manufacturers themselves (not an independent organization) decide whether the products meet those FDA rules.

Based on this, you'd probably believe intuitively that certified gluten-free foods likely contain less trace gluten — and therefore, are more likely to be safe, even for those who are particularly sensitive — than foods labeled gluten-free but not certified. And if you thought that, you'd be right. But not as right as you might think.

Let me explain.

Gluten-Free Certification Basics First, you need to remember that many foods considered "gluten-free" actually contain a tiny bit of gluten. At these levels, the amount of gluten is so small that it's measured in something called "parts per million."

However, a sizeable number of people with celiac or gluten sensitivity still react to these tiny amounts of gluten.

Therefore, having less trace gluten in products helps many of us avoid glutenings.

In theory, the three organizations in the U.S. that certify products gluten-free allow far less trace gluten in certified products — half or one-quarter as much trace gluten as the FDA allows. The FDA allows less than 20 parts per million of gluten in "gluten-free"-labeled foods, while certifying organizations require less than 10 ppm or even 5 ppm, depending on the organization.

How Much Trace Gluten Is In Your Food, and How Much Is Too Much? The certifying organizations also require manufacturers to take steps intended to ensure that the raw ingredients they use to make their products are sourced carefully to avoid gluten cross-contamination, and they help manufacturers follow best practices to avoid cross-contamination in facilities that also process gluten products.

This all sounds pretty good, right? And it is, in theory. But a recent study from celiac nutritionist and Gluten-Free Watchdog founder Tricia Thompson shows that in practice, buying certified gluten-free products might help you avoid a little more trace gluten, but maybe not that much.

What Did The Study Actually Find? The study looked at 158 different food products, including 112 products labeled gluten-free but not certified, and 46 certified gluten-free products.

It found that 85.7% of the labeled-not-certified products and 89.1% of the certified products tested to contain less than 5 parts per million of gluten (the lowest gluten level detectable by commercial test).

So there's definitely an edge for certified products, but not a huge one.

The study also found that 4.5% of labeled-not-certified products contained between 5 and 10 ppm of gluten, while 2.2% of certified products contained that level of gluten — once again, a small edge for certified products.

A total of 4.5% of labeled-not-certified gluten-free products clocked in between 10 and 20 parts per million of gluten — allowable for them, as they're not required to meet the more stringent gluten-free certification rules. But just slightly fewer — 4.3% — of products certified gluten-free also came in between 10 and 20 parts per million of gluten ... and those are required to have less trace gluten in them, so those products broke the certification rules.

Finally (and most scarily), 5.4% of labeled-not-certified products and 4.3% of certified gluten-free products had 20 parts per million or more of gluten, meaning they violated the FDA's rules on what can be labeled "gluten-free."

So What Does All This Mean? I'll admit the study took me by surprise — I've always had more confidence in products that were certified gluten-free than I have had in foods merely labeled gluten-free. But this research project makes me realize three things:

The vast majority of foods labeled gluten-free (regardless of whether they're certified) contain less than 5 parts per million of gluten, which likely is good enough to prevent glutenings for most of those with celiac or gluten sensitivity. On average, foods that are certified gluten-free tend to have a little less trace gluten in them than foods that are labeled-not-certified, but the differences aren't huge. A significant percentage — one in 20, more or less — of gluten-free-labeled products actually don't qualify as gluten-free, regardless of whether they're certified. So back to the original question: Are you safer buying only certified gluten-free products? Based on the results of this study, you do appear to be a little safer, but frankly not all that much.

Sorry this post has been so long - but it's an important issue I really wanted to raise. Thank you for reading.

My book is going very well and I am on the final touches - HOPEFULLY SEPTEMBER RELEASE - GET EXCITTTTTTED.


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