Packaged Food – High Risk for Cross Contamination of Gluten

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.


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

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.

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