As a celiac, it’s important to become comfortable reading food labels, in order to determine whether or not a food is gluten free and safe to eat. The first thing to know is that the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act requires that foods are labeled to identify the eight major food allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. The key word for a celiac would be “wheat,” but gluten is also found in barley, rye, and oats.
According to the FDA, in order for a food to be labeled gluten free by a manufacturer, the food must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. However, even if a food is labeled as gluten free, you should still always check the ingredients list. Also, remember that “wheat free” does not mean “gluten free.”
First, check for the more “obvious” gluten-containing ingredients, such as: wheat, barley, rye, oats, malt, and brewer’s yeast. There are also other ingredients to look for, that aren’t so easy to spot. They’re usually hard to pronounce and basically sound like made-up words. These include ingredients, such as: atta, bulgur, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, farro, fu, graham flour, hydrolyzed wheat protein, kamut, matzo, seitan, semolina, spelt, and triticale.
The last thing to look for and to be aware of is a message that says something like: “manufactured in a facility that processes wheat.” Even though some manufacturers do clean their lines in between products, it is best if the product is manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility.
If you’re ever not sure after reading an ingredient list, you always have the option of calling the food company to find out if the product contains gluten, or what steps they take to ensure the product is gluten free.
In addition to food, you also want to always check any medications you take, and talk to your pharmacist to help find out this information. Likewise, you want to be sure to check other products that come in contact with your mouth, such as: toothpaste, mouth wash, chap stick, lipstick, etc.
In the end, if I check a product and it has a never-ending list of ingredients, I usually take that as a sign to avoid it. I prefer to look for more natural products, with as few ingredients as possible. Generally, the fewer the ingredients, the healthier the product is!
Have a wonderful day!
“Celiac Problem #3: Always reading the ingredient list on every box or package.”@CeliacProbs