Gluten Cross Contamination

I have been thinking a lot about cross contamination recently as many patients report having problems with so-called gluten free grains like amaranth, quinoa etc. See Anthony’s comments here, for example.

I thought, then that you might be interested in this blog post from Dr Osborne at the Gluten Free Society: Packaged-food-high-risk-for-cross-contamination-of-gluten.

Here is the start of it for you:

“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.(my emphasis)”

This comes from a pilot study published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and you can read the reference here.

Doesn’t make for good reading, does it?! No wonder people react to so-called naturally gluten-free packaged ingredients, it is somewhat of a lottery, it seems.

Continue reading the post which includes Dr Osborne’s take on it and some really interesting comments beneath.

4 Replies to “Gluten Cross Contamination”

  1. Yes, this is a concern for anyone trying to go truly gf but….
    As I understand it, these flours/grains/seeds were not labeled gluten-free so were, presumably, not aimed specifically at the gluten-free market. Their manufacturers would therefore not have been particularly concerned about contamination with gluten, nor would they have seen any necessity to test the product for gluten as the level of gluten would not have been an issue.
    It would be much more concerning had they been labeled gluten-free and still tested at over 20ppm.
    Hopefully, as the awareness of gluten free and the need for gluten-free products grows, manufacturers making products which are inherently gluten-free will latch onto this market and will, if they want to succeed in it, have to start to take contamination and testing seriously with the result that contamination levels should drop.

    1. Yes, you’re quite right: it’s not that the manufacturers got something wrong or didn’t live up to claims or anything. I thought it was a good illustration, though, of why people react to so-called ‘safe’ gluten free grains. If it is thought that even 1mg of gluten can prevent the gut healing in coeliacs, let alone TGFers, then it is indeed a concern manufacturers need to become aware of in my view. When that will happen, who knows!

Leave a Reply