Unsafe Foods for Celiacs

After I was diagnosed with celiac disease, it took some time to figure out exactly what I could and could not eat. Here is a list I found to be a helpful reference when learning what foods to avoid. The FDA Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires labeling of the top eight allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. However, the absence of wheat in a product does not guarantee a food is gluten-free.

UNSAFE INGREDIENTS

The following grains (and ingredients derived from them) should not be consumed and may be included as undeclared ingredients. I found this and a lot of other good information at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness website. I don’t even know what some of these things are, but it’s nice to know what to look for on labels.

Barley Farro Panko
Bran Graham Rye
Bulgur Kamut Spelt
Couscous Malt Triticale
Duram Malt Vinegar Udon
Einkorn Matzo Meal Wheat
Emmer Mir Wheat Germ
Farina Orzo Wheat Starch

Possible Hidden Sources of Gluten

Bullions and Broths Imitation Seafood Play Doh
Chapstick Licorice Salad Dressings
Communion Wafers Lip Gloss Seasonings
Dairy Substitutes Lipstick Soy sauce
Deli Meats Lunch Meats Spice Blends
Dextrin Medication Toothpaste
Gravies Modified Food Starch Vitamins
Hydrolyzed Protein Natural Flavors

Oats: A Special Caution

While oats in their natural form do not contain gluten, an estimated 1%- 5% of celiac patients react to oats in their pure form. Some literature suggests that a protein in oats can trigger a similar response to gluten. Additionally, most mills that process oats also manufacture wheat, making the chances of cross contamination inevitable. The best advice we can offer is to take a great deal of care before introducing oats into your diet. There is no way to determine if you will react, so proceed with caution. Verify that the oats you are using are made in a gluten-free facility and are certified gluten-free.

gluten-free symblol

Bob’s Red Mill uses this logo on all of their certified gluten-free products.

Even foods that are labeled “gluten-free” may cause you to react because of inconsistent standards of what qualifies as “gluten-free.” Thankfully, in 2013, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule that defines what characteristics a food has to have to bear a label that proclaims it “gluten-free.” The rule also holds foods labeled “without gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “no gluten” to the same standard. Manufacturers are allowed to label a food “gluten-free” if it doesn’t contain any of the following:

  1. an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  2. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  3. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten

The food producers have until August 2014 to comply with this rule. I’m really glad they did this and will feel more confident when buying foods labeled “gluten-free.” This rule doesn’t apply to restaurants yet, so I will still be very cautious when eating out.

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy brought me some grain-free dog food. She said now she won’t get “contaminated.” I don’t know what that means, but I LIKE dog food! MMM!

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