The gluten-free diet is increasingly being understood with more options available for those with restrictions. More recently, Pillsbury, Frito's, and Chuck-E-Cheese provide gluten-free alternatives so everyone may enjoy tasty treats.
Is this too good to be true? As of August 2, 2013 recent FDA regulations ensure that all U.S. products containing gluten-free labels have followed government guidelines to ensure safe consumption. Gluten-free food products are big business and boomed into a billion dollar industry. Mass produced food companies are jumping on the gluten-free train and providing beloved foods that were thought to be lost forever.
The tales of time have unfortunately proven again and again that greed compromises what was once intended for good. For instance, look to the ailing cattle industry. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article concerning the welfare of cattle as well as a recall of dangerous supplements found in their feed costing the pharmaceutical company Ely Lilly billions of dollars. The FDA is involved with the cattle company as well as other food manufacturers that allow GMO, additives, chemicals, and so on in products.
The concern is that big business could tarnish the gluten-free industry. Like so many food manufacturers tragedies and controversy had to ensue before any changes were made. The point is to be aware. Research, know the facts, listen to your body, and think for yourself. With celiac disease it is your personal duty to become an expert and food investigator.
The FDA regulation is a step towards improving the well-being for those with gluten sensitivities. But what we find on labels is the FDA's definition of a safe gluten-free product: Not your own. Consider the years taken to accomplish the regulation, which happened to be at the peak of the gluten-free bandwagon.
People who are daily affected by celiac disease and experiencing the hopelessness and helplessness associated with diet restrictions are taking notice of the political and monetary aspect of this regulation.
PPM is a concept that continues to stay in the dark. PPM is a standard measurement for food additives and stands for parts per million. Gluten-free products are allowed to have 5-20 ppm in their products according to the FDA. With celiac disease you cannot have any gluten- none, zip, zero. Claims have been made that up to 20 ppm of gluten are safe yet continues to cause sickness and reactions. There is no label or indication of the contained trace amounts of gluten in "gluten-free" products either.
Individuals fortunate enough to come across this information are a bit irritated that so much praise has been given to FDA. It was a step that could have been executed years prior and continues to be misleading. Here’s why:
The regulation fails to consider the immense variations of severity within the disease. No two people with celiac disease are alike and neither is the appropriate diet regimen. An individual unable to tolerate even 5 ppm, the lowest on the scale, will eat a product labeled gluten-free and unknowingly become sick. So the obvious solution would be; just cut that certain product out since it made you ill.
Great suggestion but this is why it remains an issue:
First of all, if you’ve ever experienced the process of eliminating foods based on a reaction you may understand the complications involved. The trial and error process takes years to perfect and even then must continue to be modified. It tends to be an exhaustive guessing game that will only perpetuate with the regulation’s gray area. It’s almost unfair to the celiac community.
Let’s roll play:
You’ve been sick your entire life and after a rigorous, stressful, diagnosis your doctor prescribes a gluten-free diet and “you’ll be fine.” Months go by and you’re adjusting, you’re still in pain, hungry, feeling defeated, and especially miss your pizza and ice cream on Friday night. You come home from working all day and have nothing to eat. “I guess I’ll have to cook something. Who am I kidding; I don’t know where to begin.”
Staring blankly into the fridge you realize a frozen gluten-free pizza lies waiting to be heated up. Of course you eat it, become sick, and don’t know why. "The pizza box said gluten-free and my doctor told me to eat gluten-free." What the box failed to mentioned is the 10-20 ppm in the pizza's serving size. Therefore your pizza was almost gluten-free and for this case almost does not cut it.
There are factors to consider: Of course eating an entire pizza would make anyone feel sick but I’m not saying the entire pizza was consumed. For instance, you will not become intoxicated from drinking one sip of a beverage with a high alcoholic percentage. You will, however, become drunk from drinking a bottle of vodka.
Then it becomes even more complicated as the outcome is different for each person. A petite 120 pound woman will become drunk with fewer beverages than her six foot 180 pound male contender. The same applies with gluten, but not by size or gender. The genetic make-up determines the outcome and tolerance.
You may find the proposal here: FDA Gluten-Free