Enjoy food, enjoy travel, enjoy life! You're listening to Travel Gluten Free by Elikqitie!
Hello my gluten free friends and welcome to the show. This is episode three. Why are some foods labeled certified gluten free? So before we start the show, I would like to thank my very first Patreon supporter, Jeff for signing on to sponsor the travel and for your podcast. If you love the travel gluten free podcast just as much as Jeff does, please go on to patreon.com and look for travel gluten free. You can also sponsor travel gluten free podcast for as little as $3 per month. It's a great way to support the podcast that you love.
Today's episode we're going to talk about why are some foods certified gluten free. So have you ever seen the symbol which contains the letters GF in bold with a bold circle around the letters where the symbol with a grain of wheat and a line crossed through it? Ever wonder what the symbols stand for?
Well these symbols actually stand for a certified gluten free food, and this certification can come from different companies. Certified gluten free foods do contain an extremely small amount of gluten. If you're Celiacs though, you know it is safe to eat these foods, but what about foods that read gluten free but aren't certified? Are they safe to eat? Regular gluten free food is generally a food that is free from gluten ingredients that contain gluten such as barley, wheat, rye and other gluten containing products. They are named to be gluten free, but they're actually not a hundred percent safe, because they may contain a large amount of gluten, especially if they are made in a facility which also creates products that have gluten, because gluten can become airborne and get mixed with the other products.
However, gluten can become airborne and can become mixed in inadvertently if it is manufactured in a facility that also has wheat or other gluten containing products. For the gluten intolerant, gluten free foods should be relatively safe. So if you just intolerant, you should be okay with foods that just say gluten free, which don't have gluten containing ingredients. But for those who have a gluten allergy, gluten free foods are not a hundred percent safe. They do have some risk associated with them because they may be cross contaminated enough and have high enough levels of gluten in the product that will trigger a reaction in people with an allergy or celiacs.
So what does it mean to be certified gluten free? Certified Gluten free means that the product is free from gluten and the product has been verified from an independent organization.
Now with all products, it's hard to be a 100% gluten free. There are some products, like if you go out and buy an apple from the store and eat it, that's going to be probably a hundred percent gluten free. But for packaged products, there is a certified gluten free food standard. So in the USA in August of 2017, the FDA delivered a directive that to make your product certified gluten free, it has to have at less than 20 parts per million of gluten in the product, because this level is determined that Celiacs or people with allergies will react at levels of gluten higher than 20 parts per million. What does that mean? That means that in a million parts of your food, so if you have a million grams of food, only 20 of those grams would have gluten in it, which is a extremely small amount.
Even though these items may not be 100% free from gluten at this level, 20 parts per million, these foods are safe to use for those who have Celiacs or a gluten intolerance or gluten allergy. The product has to be higher than 20 parts per million in order to create a reaction for those who have Celiacs. There are some people that have reactive Celiacs, in other words maybe it's 15 parts per million and they react to it, but the standard which they found has the best benefit to most celiacs is 20 parts per million. And since the only treatment for Celiacs disease is a strict gluten free diet, celiacs can safely eat products that are labeled as certified gluten free foods. So who are these organizations which certified products and foods as certified gluten free?
Currently there are four associations that can certify foods as gluten free, the gluten intolerance group of North America, the Gluten Free Certification Organization or GFCO, theNational Celiac Association or NCA and Canadian Celiac Association or CCA which presently can ensure products and companies as certified gluten free. Similar to the different levels of organic certification we see for foods like the Oregon Tilth and the California Organic Certification, the levels and certifications with gluten certified gluten free products also differs according to the company which is certifying the food.
The Gluten Free Certification Organization or GFCO requires for you to have less than 10 parts per million of gluten, which is an extremely small amount, which is lower than the 20 parts per million. There's also the Allergen Group/ Canadians Celiac Association, they require less than 20 parts per million. Celiac Support Association, which is the strictest certification, requires less than five parts per million of gluten to certify as gluten free food.
If you've ever seen those letters with the GF and they're bold letters and they have a bold circle surrounding them, and you might see them on the front or the top corner, or maybe hidden in the back of your package next to other symbols such as Vegan or Paleo friendly, or you may just see it on its own. This is the seal of the GFCO, certified gluten free product and certifies that that product is gluten free by GFCO standards. So since GFCO standards are the most common, we'll delve and talk about GFCO guidelines for a little bit. Now under the GFCO guidelines, products are made according to GFCO requirements, which means foods must contain less than 10 parts per million of gluten and use ingredients that also contain less than 10 parts per million of gluten.
There are specific requirements for gluten free certification for GFCO, if a company that wants to obtain that GFCO certification and the GFCO logo, they have to meet all of these requirements that are described for the GFCO. These standards are part of management and organizational and product production requirements along with the verification that the finished product does not contain more than 10 parts per million of gluten. When they test a product, if it shows up with more than 10 parts per million, they cannot get the GFCO logo on their product, then the company will have to go back through that process again.
The GFCO does not permit the use of any ingredient that is consistent or cause, or excuse me, consists of wheat, rye, barley, or hybrids of these grains in product certified gluten free, unless the ingredient has been taken care of to remove the gluten.
There are processes which you can do that using testing techniques and doors for the specific ingredient system and the ingredient tests at 10 parts per million or less for gluten or wheat starch as there are different parts to wheat.
There is the protein, which is the gluten. There's starch, which are the carbohydrates, and there's also fat. Wheat starch can also be permitted; however, it has to be processed to take out the gluten so that the wheat starch is less than 10 parts per million and the finished product tests at 10 parts per million. Not only does the original product have to test at 10 parts per million, the final product does too, because sometimes when you process foods it can change the nutritional value of that food. For exammple, because of the absence of scientifically reliable and validated testing methods, GFCO does not permit malted, fermented and hydrolyzed ingredients or finished products made from wheat, rye, barley, or hybrids of the grains. GFCO will monitor the ongoing research of a validated method for such ingredients or products and consider any new methods for future updates to GFCO standards.
Oats are another product which can be iffy because as we know, oats are usually made in a factory that has other grains that contain gluten. But as long as the growing, harvesting, and other creation of the oats has been approved to forestall or slow down or prevent cross contamination and the finished product is less than 10 parts per million, it will be considered a certified gluten free. Grasses such as wheat and barley, if they've been harvested properly and processed to be 10 parts per million or less can be certified. In addition, finished products must be 10 parts per million or less and then any blending of ingredients has to come to 10 parts per million or less.
Wheat starch or oats or any ingredients you're putting together, the bottom line comes down to that finished product has to be less than 10 parts per million.
Currently there's over 24,000 products from 800 companies that are certified by GFCO around the world. Certified gluten free food means that they are safe for consumption by those with Celiacs and food allergies. If you're Celiacs or have an allergy, then your diet should definitely contain foods that are certified gluten free.
So how can you find these safe foods to eat that are certified gluten free?
Well first you can look for foods when you're shopping that have that GFCO certification logo on the package or state that they are certified gluten free along with that company logo. Different companies have different logos. For the other three companies you can look for their logo as well.
There's also quite a few options which are available through online and phone apps which help you navigate your gluten free world, which are super awesome resources which I love to use. The first app is from Celiac Disease Foundation, and that app is called Eat! GF.
This app has some really cool features and I really love that it lists companies, products, services and recipes. You can also create an account with the app and then you can favorite your favorite foods that you like. This app will keep your list if you sign in with your account. You can also look for certified gluten free products by company or through a search in the app in addition to these great features.
Celiac Disease Foundation app also contains resources that you find online on the regular Celiac Disease Foundation website such as meal plans, healthcare provider, directory and symptoms checklist, which you can find online at Celiac.org, which is the Celiac Disease Foundation Website.
The next app is the GF Scanner, and this app actually allows you to scan the barcode on a product and the app will tell you if their product is gluten free. I don't know if that app will tell you if it's certified gluten free, but it will tell you if it is a gluten free product, you can always cross check that with the product and the product website as well.
Next, one of my favorite companies, which makes such gluten free goodies is Schar. Their app gives you information on their gluten free products, a list of the product's characteristics such as which food is free from, for example, preservative free, palm oil free, among other useful category labels, nutritional information, and a picture of the product. There is a list of stores that carry their products and a travel function, which is really neat because it gives fans a list of stores within a radius you select, which carries Schar gluten free. If I am at home, it will show me stores at my current location, but if I'm traveling, say I'm in California in San Diego and I'm in San Diego and I can take that little slider and make it up to 125 miles and it will show me all the locations within that radius that have Schar gluten free products, which is a really great feature. And as you know, part of my podcast is talks about travel. So that is a great feature to have on an app if you are traveling and gluten free and you're looking to buy some really yummy Schar stuff. And of course what great food app wouldn't have recipes? Of course Schar has recipes as well!
Another app called, Is That Gluten Free? And this app is 7.99 so it is a little bit on the pricey side. The description shows that you can look for brands and search for products and if the product has a green check mark, it is safe and gluten free. I have not used it as of yet, but this app sounds like a really great tool to have in your gluten-free toolbox.
There are also many online resources.
The first I'll mention is known as the Gluten Project. This site has a really cool search bar and when you put a product in the search bar, it will tell you if it's a certified gluten free food. This site then they have also a GFCO foods list from the most recent report in January, 2017. Super useful, awesome, resourceful. It's a relatively new site and it's really well put together. In addition to these features, this site has afood delivery service. On their website, it tells a story of the couple who designed the website: Brandon and Evelyn. They are a totally adorable young couple from Ohio. So thank you Branden and Evelyn for developing that website.
Another great website resource is the GFCO and GIG, which is the Gluten Intolerance Group website. These sites have the buyer and distributor guide for the certified gluten free products. This guide is really cool. It has over 260 pages of information on certified gluten free products.
Another way you can look for certified gluten free products is by checking at stores you shop at such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers and other natural markets for their gluten-free products. Even Walmart has a gluten free products page which shows all the gluten free products Walmart carries, although not all of these products are certified gluten free. Definitely check out the website of your favorite natural food store to see if they have a list of gluten free products.
Stores that have websites, which you can search for gluten free products and the companies which sell gluten free products, such as Udi's, B Free and Kinnikinnick also have their own company pages which usually have store locators.
Certified gluten-free and being able to obtain gluten free products is so much easier today. Twenty years ago I owned a health food store in Florida and there weren't many gluten free products. Now, luckily there are some really good tasting, gluten free certified gluten free products out there for you to use and go out there and explore and eat!
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