Sorry, I missed my post last week. We were on a mini vacation with my step granddaughters in Spokane, 150 miles away. While we were in Spokane, we took in a meeting and picnic with the Gluten Intolerance Group of Spokane. Since we live a distance away, we don’t get to meet with these folks very often, but were happy we made this meeting.
The picnic was delicious — so many different options — and I did not need to worry about which were Gluten Free or not! There were a few meat dishes, but most were vegan as well. For the first time in years, I ate without worrying or asking if this dish or that dish had gluten in it!! I was in Gluten Free heaven!!
After the evening picnic, a presentation was given by Cynthia Kupper, the head of the international Gluten Intolerance Group. Cynthia, who has been involved with the GIG for over 17 years, gave an excellent presentation — mostly about understanding the new Gluten Free labeling regulations.
Before I share what she said, this is some of the programs GIG is involved in, according to their website:
1. Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) is the first and foremost gluten-free certification program in the world that has deemed more than 10,000 products produced in 15 countries safe for gluten-free persons to consume. Its GF logo signifies the independent verification of product quality, integrity and purity. Companies such as ConAgra Mills, Hains Celestial and Natures Path have GFCO certified products. Please visit www.gfco.org for additional information.
2. Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) is a management accreditation program designed to work with all types of food service establishments that serve gluten-free consumers. This program uses training and management strategies to teach employees proper techniques for gluten-free food preparation. Companies such as the Gaylord Resorts, Erlanger Health System and The University of Chicago Medical Center participate in this program. Please visit www.gffoodservice.org for more information.
Cynthia has really expanded the organization since the original founder passed away in 1996.
So, here are some of the points she shared with us about what to look for with Gluten Free labeling:
- GIG Certification: Each ingredient used in a product is tested at no more than 10 parts per million for gluten. Best and highest foods for safety.
- FDA Certification: 20 parts per million of gluten allowable.
- Allergen statements: Often are not 100% accurate when they say “May contain barley, oats, rye or wheat” as companies often use that to protect themselves. Check the label for gluten ingredients and/or the manufacturer to determine if the product is safe.
- USDA logo: Watch for starch or starch ingredients that may contain gluten.
- ATF (alcohol, tobacco and firearms): Regulates beer — most of which contain gluten.
Cynthia also shared some new research that indicates that gluten sensitivity MAY BE due to a carbohydrate issue rather than a protein issue. More studies need to be done before an accurate conclusion can be made.