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Tricia Thompson, MS, RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide and has a MS degree in nutrition from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and a BA degree in English Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont.

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Living Gluten-Free

 
by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, The Gluten-Free Dietitian

 
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My colleagues (Anne Lee, Schar, USA and Thomas Grace, Bia Diagnostics) and I recently published findings from a pilot study on grain contamination in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Thompson T, Lee AR, Grace T. Gluten Contamination of Grains, Seeds, and Flours in the United States: A Pilot Study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:937-940). What follows is a summary of study findings.

Bottom line: Seven of 22 (32%) samples tested contained mean gluten levels above 20 ppm with amounts ranging from 25 to 2,925 ppm.

Why we conducted this study: In the FDA’s proposed rule for labeling of food as gluten free, single ingredient foods, such as corn, rice, and millet are considered inherently gluten free. These grains will be considered misbranded if they carry a gluten-free label that does not also state that all foods of that same type are gluten free (e.g. “all millet is gluten free” or “millet, a gluten-free food”).

Oats are the only grain that will not 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. In fact, because research suggests that commercially available oats may be contaminated with wheat, barley, and rye, labeled gluten-free oats will be considered misbranded if the label implies that all oats are gluten free.

Unfortunately, oats may not be the only naturally gluten-free grain contaminated with gluten.

What we tested: Twenty-two naturally gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours NOT labeled gluten-free were tested in duplicate using the Ridascreen Gliadin sandwich R5 ELISA with cocktail extraction. Seven of the 22 products contained a voluntary allergen advisory statement for wheat; 15 did not. Products included white rice and flour, brown rice, corn meal, polenta, buckwheat and buckwheat flour, amaranth seed and flour, flax seed, millet grain and flour, sorghum flour, and soy flour.

Findings: Thirteen of 22 (59%) products contained below the limit of quantification for gluten which is 5 ppm for the assay used. Of these 13 products, 3 contained a voluntary allergen advisory statement for wheat. Nine of 22 (41%) products contained more than the limit of quantification for gluten, with mean gluten levels ranging from 8.5 to 2,925. Of these nine products, four contained a voluntary allergen advisory for wheat.

Conclusions: Results of this study confirm that a certain percentage of inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours are NOT gluten-free when they are purchased by consumers. Co-mingling of grain and seed can occur anywhere along the line from the field to the packaging plant.
Results also suggest that consumers can not rely on voluntary allergen advisory statements for wheat to make decisions about which products are more or less likely to be contaminated. Four of seven products containing greater than or equal to 20 ppm gluten did not contain an allergen statement for wheat while three of the products that contained below the limit of quantification for gluten did contain an allergen advisory statement.

While we can infer from this study that some degree of contamination exists in naturally gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours sampling was not large enough to make any assessment on the overall percentage of contaminated product.

Sampling also was not large enough to make any inferences on the specific grains, flours, and seeds more or less likely to be contaminated.


The following products contained above the limit of quantification for gluten:

Product/Mean ppm
Millet flour/305
Millet flour/327
Millet grain/14
Millet grain/25
White rice flour/8.5
Buckwheat flour/65
Sorghum flour/234
Soy flour/2,925
Soy flour/92

The following products tested below the limit of quantification for gluten: basmati rice; long grain brown rice; enriched corn meal; instant polenta; 1 sample of rice flour; hulled buckwheat; buckwheat groats; amaranth flour; flax seed; and amaranth seed.

For more information about this study, please contact me at triciathompson@glutenfreedietitian.com

This study was funded in part by Schar USA, a manufacturer of prepared gluten-free foods

The study abstract is available on Pub Med https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20497786

Tricia Thompson, MS, RD is an internationally recognized expert in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. A researcher, consultant, and writer, she is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide, ...    Continue



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@ 2:16pm ET on June 2, 2010
Hi Tricia

As usual a great post and a very interesting article! Congratulations.

Beth Armour
Cream Hill Estates


@ 9:42am ET on September 9, 2010
I've been diagnosed to be celiac.I obey gluten-free diet strictly,but I'm suffering colicy pain, yet;in addition to joint problem.What is the cause?What should I do?


@ 1:59pm ET on September 13, 2010
Hi Yeganeh,

Please contact your physician to determine whether your symptoms are due to celiac disease. If it is determined that you may be unintentionally eating gluten, please see a dietitian who specializes in celiac disease. They can carefully review your diet with you. There is a listing of dietitians on my website on the newsletter page www.glutenfreedietitian.com.

Tricia


@ 5:53pm ET on September 22, 2010
If grains such as soy flour are so highly contaminated, should one avoid foods that appear to be gluten-free foods, but contain soy flour as an ingredient?


@ 9:05am ET on September 23, 2010
Hi,

My personal recommendation is to choose naturally gluten-free grains and flours that are labeled gluten free. And, whenever possible, choose foods made with these naturally gluten-free grains and flours that are labeled gluten free.

Please see part 2 of this post for specific recommendations on grain consumption.

http://www.diet.com/dietblogs/read_blog.php?title=Contamination+of+Naturally+Gluten-Free+Grains%3A+2&blid=19605

Thanks,

Tricia


@ 10:50am ET on October 2, 2011
his ebook has nothing to do with weight loss. This is about adding foods to your life that have been shown to help heal or prevent disease. The ebook has helped people to:
Learn which foods contain beneficial qualities.
Understand what those qualities are.
Make choices that might prevent illness.
A little information can go a long way when it comes to proper nutrition. This quick guide should do the trick.
For Buy Now Link

http://tiny.cc/vkckc

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