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Going Gluten-FreeMarch 29, 2011

Have Your Cake. . . and Rally for Gluten-Free Standards, Too!

The gluten-free marketplace is booming. We have more and more product choices that taste better than ever. It’s all good news… right?

I’m not one to rain on a parade, particularly when it comes to delicious food, but I have a word of caution. With all the new products on the grocery shelves, there are no standards for claiming what’s “gluten free.” No legal definition of the term. No regulation. No enforcement. That means those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are at risk should companies slap on a GF label without going through the necessary steps to eliminate cross contamination in their manufacturing processes.

The Food and Drug Administration was supposed to develop standards as part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). This law requires manufacturers to list the top eight allergens, which include wheat--but not gluten. Now three years later, we’re still waiting for FDA to move on a gluten standard.

Which brings me to cake.

Specifically, the world’s largest gluten-free cake.

This cake will be constructed with much fanfare in Washington, DC on May 4th at the Embassy Suites Convention Center.

“We’re making a huge cake to spotlight the lack of standards for gluten,” says Jules Shepard, gluten-free author and baking expert who’s organizing the event with gluten-free triathlete and blogger John Forberger. “It’s time to pressure FDA to stop delaying and to take action!”

The event, called 1in133 (1 in 133 people in the United States have celiac disease but most are undiagnosed), will culminate with a VIP reception for federal lawmakers and concerned members and friends of the gluten-free community. More details to follow but in the meantime, mark your calendar—May 4th –-and check out 1in133.org for more info and to sign the petition. We need your name on it. This is important for the gluten-free community. See you there!

Comments (1)

The article reminds us to still read pre-packaged foods labels, take nothing for granted. Second, the most hard thing to get restaurants and manufacturers to understand is that anyone can make, sell, buy, and cook a gluten free food but that does Not guarantee the food served/sold is still gluten free because the surroundings it's prepared in is probably Not gluten free. Within that are the details of environment, cooks, servers and utensils used. The reason(s) why these should be gluten free is also hard to impress on most facilities management, is that the basis of the gluten free diet (or with casein free too) is that it's based on Molecules... not just little bits of offending foods that might fall into the gluten free foods before serving. College and school cafeteria's are the most hard headed about that fact. So now that many major pre-packed food companies are now making me happy with their gluten free offerings, I don't, for one second, forget that I'm taking a chance of cross contamination when I buy and use any item processed in factories (and kitchens) that also process gluten containing foods. My sensitivity may not be as great as the many others with medically diagnosed gut disorders who are hyper-sensitive. So, in spite of the pride of those serving gluten free products, they may not become as popular as they think they should.. because they still don't understand the complexities of the necessary needs of the gluten free consumer. This article touches on most all of that.

Posted by: grandma peg | March 31, 2011 9:16 AM    Report this comment

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