2017 Gluten Free Halloween Candy List
This article is to raise awareness of wheat-derived ingredients in foods labeled “gluten-free”, especially for individuals with wheat allergy. For more information about wheat allergy and how that differs from celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and other gluten-related health issues, please read “What You Need to Know about Wheat Allergy”.
A friend with wheat allergy became ill on two occasions recently after eating products marked gluten-free. She found out later those products contained wheat-derived ingredients. She does not have celiac disease. It is only wheat she must avoid. Both products were labeled gluten-free. She assumed they were safe for her. Again, in her case, “safe” means wheat-free.
When diagnosed with wheat allergy, she was told to choose foods marked “gluten-free”. The idea is that wheat contains gluten and if a product is marked gluten-free, it would also be wheat-free. That does seem logical, but sadly, it is not necessarily true.
Naturally gluten-free foods like fruit cups or foods free from gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye and barley can be labeled gluten-free. However, further reading of the gluten-free labeling guidelines reveals frightening news for those with wheat allergy.
The FDA guidelines state a food labeled gluten-free:
The second point above means a product can contain a gluten-containing grain like wheat if the finished product tests less than 20ppm gluten. For those of us with celiac disease, even 20ppm is concerning. The gluten content could be anything from zero to 19ppm. However, the focus of this article is on wheat-derived ingredients in foods labeled gluten-free.
For individuals with wheat allergy assuming gluten-free will automatically mean wheat-free, this can be devastating.
Again, a gluten-free label doesn’t necessarily mean no wheat-derived ingredients. It simply means the level of gluten tested was less than 20ppm. According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004, all top eight major allergens must be noted in a “contains” or “allergens” statement on the food label. This includes wheat. Knowing wheat-derived ingredients are allowed in products labeled gluten-free, individuals with wheat allergy must read every label, every time. (Yes, those of us with celiac disease or any food-related health issue or food allergy must also do this, but again, here, our focus is on wheat allergy.)
For more on how frightening the FDA gluten-free labeling rule is to those of us with celiac disease and other gluten-related health issues, be sure to read this post.
If you have wheat allergy, have you experienced a situation where you relied on gluten-free labeling to also mean wheat-free?
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