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A new pilot study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association finds a that high number of “gluten free” products are cross contaminated…

Twenty-two inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours not labeled gluten-free were purchased in June 2009 and sent unopened to a company who specializes in gluten analysis. All samples were homogenized and tested in duplicate using the Ridascreen Gliadin sandwich R5 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with cocktail extraction… Nine of 22 (41%) samples contained more than the limit of quantification, with mean gluten levels ranging from 8.5 to 2,925.0 ppm. Seven of 22 samples (32%) contained mean gluten levels >/=20 ppm and would not be considered gluten-free under the proposed FDA rule for gluten-free labeling. Gluten contamination of inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours not labeled gluten-free is a legitimate concern.

Source:

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):937-940.

Gluten Free Society’s Stance

This pilot study demonstrates a major problem for those following a gluten free diet.  A random test showed that as high as 41% of shelf based products had enough gluten cross contamination to create a health problem for those with gluten intolerance.  Gluten Free Society has always recommended avoiding packaged processed foods for the following reasons:

  1. You cannot control what manufacturers will put in their products.
  2. Packaged processed foods are contradictory to good health.  (Considering that going gluten free is a mandatory decision to restore health, processed gluten free products will not help you achieve this)
  3. Cross contamination is a major issue.
  4. The so called “gluten free” grain substitutes have not been adequately studied to be recommended as staple foods in the diet, and many studies show them to be detrimental for those with celiac disease.

Bottom line:

Don’t fall into the false mindset that eating processed foods labeled “gluten free” are actually gluten free.  Don’t think that eating unhealthy processed food is going to help you re-establish or maintain your health.  Click here for more information on gluten cross contamination.

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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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14 responses on “Packaged Food – High Risk for Cross Contamination of Gluten

  1. Jenn says:

    wow very shocking indeed that so many gluten free products would not actually be gluten free!

    I am curious about your stance point #4 – Which GF grain substitutes are you referring to? Can you point me to some references where such gluten free grain substitutes are found to be detrimental to celiacs?

  2. Hi Jenn,
    Thanks for stopping in. I am mainly referring to corn, rice, millet, and sorghum. These grains are commonly recommended as staples in the diet of gluten intolerant patients. Below are several references.

    https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/celiac-patients-react-to-gluten-free-bread/

    https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/corn-antibodies-in-celiac-crohns-and-ulcerative-colitis/

    https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/corn-gluten-damages-celiac-patients/

    You can also watch video tutorial #1. There are several references in the presentation.

    All the best,
    Dr. O

  3. I guess we’ll have to look for labels which state – truly gluten free!

  4. […] Many over the counter packaged foods contain cross contamination of gluten […]

  5. Marty B says:

    You are absolutely nuts if you think that most of us have the time or skill necessary to make everything from scratch! (Pasta from scratch, anyone? Tortillas? Churning my own Rice Dream? ) It would be a fulltime job. Nor do I have the freezer space to make a lot in advance. Nowadays I can’t afford to drive to the store for fresh ingredients on a whim; I need things in packages that will keep for a reasonable period of time. Leaving home for longer than a meal interval would also be problematic, or going farther from home than I could drive back home before having to begin the next meal preparations. Travel would be impossible. Packing an ice chest with enough made-from-scratch meals for a multiday road trip would be prohibitive; nor do airlines allow you to bring a lot of foods on board; and no liquids at all that weren’t purchased beyond the security checkpoint.

  6. Marty,
    I may be “nuts”, but I am healthy. You don’t need packaged food to survive, you need to dedicate more of your time to keeping your self healthy. Priorities my friend. Thanks for posting.

  7. Joedislikesgluten says:

    @Marty

    Think about what human beings ate thousands of years ago. Think back even before gluten.

    Meat, plants(vegetables), nuts, fruit were the staple diet.

    Who needs pasta and rice dream milk anyway? Besides Rice isn’t even healthy.

    Almond milk is better and is easy to make. If you don’t think you have the time to make “pasta” and other unncessary items from scratch then don’t do it.

    Cook whole foods, store and eat em. Yes travel is more difficult.

    But what are you wanting out of life? convenience at the cost of your health?

    Gotta get out of the mindset that you need “gluten-like” things like Pasta….

    No pasta is really good for you, it’s all refined flours. Just eat healthier and a promiss you’ll be less hungry and less desiring of these processed foods.

    Also, processed foods typically contain additives ect.

    If you’re eating gluten-free processed food you may be eating terrible things like hydrolyzed proteins(MSG) or the many other hundreds of names MSG(free glutamates) hide under. They can cause just as bad if not worse symptoms than gluten and are especially bad for those with immune disorders.

    Eat whole foods, it’s simple. The few hunters and gatherers living on this earth are far healthier and have no cancer unlike Americans and other westerners because they don’t eat unnecessary junk produced by companies who don’t give a rats ass about your health.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Joedislikesgluten – very good point! Whole foods are so much better for you. While i do purchase some processed foods, most are certified gluten free or not made in a facility containing gluten (that I know of.) but whole foods make all the difference. Eating processed, refined foods is unhealthy, because most contain little to no nutrition as it is. And most have so much fat and sugar in it, no wonder we have an obesity epidemic.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    @Marty…I understand what you are saying. And I agree. I think the whole food people do not have the busy lives that some of us do and don’t care if they spend the whole weekend in the kitchen preparing everything from scratch. And we love pasta and are not willing to give it up. So just know that you are not in a minority :o)(and that hunter gatherer thing is crap, they don’t typically live long enough to get cancer…and they spend all day hunting and gathering…)

  10. You all have a choice to make. Eat garbage = feel like garbage. Regardless of excuses on time. Fruit and nuts do require require prep time.

    Your body is your temple. If you choose to desecrate it that is your business. Just don’t complain about being sick all the time when you make bad choices.

  11. Cyndi says:

    So much information. I do eat some packaged foods, only if there are 4 ingredients or less. The majority of my diet is whole. It takes no more time to prepare a meal of whole foods than it does to open a bunch of bags or boxes and cook or repackage them. I have a full time job, care for a partially disabled spouse, have 3 demanding pets, a house to keep organized, laundry, travel, etc. and I’m able to make it happen. Once you commit to it, it’s actually much easier and much more time saving than you think it is. And, my grocery bill is less than you would think because the “gluten free” label is apparently very expensive to print and add anywhere from $2 to $4 per product here in Texas (loaf of bread $5.78)….

  12. Lou says:

    I don’t think that my life now takes anymore time than it did but I have always cooked things from scratch. I was just eating Wheat, Corn, and Dairy. But, after being so sick I don’t ever want to go back to how I felt. If you want your health you have to make choices. Thank you for all your help in telling us what we need to be doing, it gave me back my life.

  13. Sarah says:

    I’m late to this discussion party, but whole grains that are referred to in this study are not junk and are an important part of the healthy diet. Buckwheat, oats and other grains provide important nutrition. Not so much corn, but that’s a different conversation. However, the issue is growing, processing (meaning harvesting, cleaning and packaging) and being put on the shelf without sufficient testing for cross-contamination. This is not just about breads and cookies, but actual whole grains. This is not about choosing unhealthy processed foods, this is about actual whole grains and it is still an issue 5 plus years later.

  14. Beth says:

    To clarify, if a product is labeled gluten free, has it been tested safe for celiacs? The study cited above refers to “inherently” gluten free products so I’m a little confused.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Peter Osborne, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Osborne and his community. Dr. Osborne encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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