Is nothing sacred? New research shows even our gluten-free flours, grains and seeds that are inherently gluten-free — may have gluten in it!

Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association had 22 grains, seeds and flour, that many of us buy to create gluten-free foods, tested for gluten contamination.  What this found was, in my view, alarming.

“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.”

In other words, we have a one in three chance of buying seemingly gluten-free basic ingredients and could still get gluten! In this test, these seven contained an AVERAGE of 20 ppm of gluten to nearly 3,000 ppm.  The research brings up the point that these items would not have been considered gluten-free under the proposed gluten-free labeling guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration.  According to the research abstract ,

“In the proposed rule, many single-ingredient foods, such as millet, are considered inherently free of gluten. Inherently gluten-free grains will be considered misbranded if they carry a gluten-free label and do not also state that all foods of the same type are gluten-free (eg, “all millet is gluten free”).

The FDA may want to modify their proposed rule for labeling of food as gluten-free, removing the requirement that gluten-free manufacturers of inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours must state on product labels that all foods of that type are gluten-free.”

Well so here are my questions:  are inherently gluten-free foods exempt from being tested for gluten?  Why shouldn’t manufacturers who process gluten-free grains be required to test for cross contamination, since we know cross contamination happens (to a larger extent) to oats.   And if we go that route and test  inherently gluten-free foods, where does that leave simple milk, or fresh produce or meat?  Will they all be subject to the testing as well?

Again I ask,  is nothing sacred? Sometimes I wonder when we can stop looking over our shoulder and questioning the most basic of foods for gluten. (sigh)  But for now– and for the decades before — we sit and wonder what may be in our next bite of food.

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