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Gluten Free Shopping

GF Shopping in Tucson

Basha's has a respectable GF section within its Northwest store.

Fry's has a small section devoted to health foods, also. Look for Ener-g tapioca or rice bread, Mrs. Leeper's pasta, Amy's frozen dinners, gluten free pastas, and Enviro Kidz rice bars and cereals.

Fry's also has a dietician on call who will tell you if a Fry's product is GF or not. Her direct line, toll-free number is: 1-866-632-6900 8a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for GF info on store brands or any other product they carry. She will return voice mail messages, also. If you program her number into your cell phone, it can make shopping easier as you can check with her before you buy.

Safeway  carries GF pastas, Enviro Kidz rice bars and cereal, and Puffin's Rice cereal.

Ask stores if they have a GF listing and be aware that the listings are not always up to date as the suppliers can change ingredients. Always read labels, even if you have purchased the product many times before. Call the manufacturers to find out if their product contains gluten.

The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA/USA) sells a Gluten-Free Product Listing. There are also gluten-free listings on several celiac disease Web sites and online forums. Always evaluate this information in terms of the source (did it come from the corporate offices?) and its date (the older the listing, the more likely the information has changed).

Fifty GF Things to Eat Right Now is a list supplied by the Oklahoma City Celiac Support Group.

If You're Visiting Phoenix

  • Gluten Free Creations Bakery
    2940 E. Thomas Rd, Phoenix (behind the barber shop) (602) 522-0659
    Recognized by the Celiac Sprue Association as a gluten-free wheat-free bakery and is certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of GIG.

GF Shopping Online



Note: Orders from Canada might be held up by Customs

Gluten Free (and Allergen) Labeling

Voluntary Gluten Free Labeling

The FDA has finalized their rules for gluten free labeling based on a standard of 20 parts per million (ppm). According to the FDA consumer update "What is Gluten-Free? FDA Has an Answer" (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069.htm):

In addition to limiting the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm, FDA will allow manufacturers to label a food "gluten-free" if the food does not 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
Foods such as bottled spring water, fruits and vegetables, and eggs can also be labeled "gluten-free" if they inherently don't have any gluten.

What does this mean in pratical terms? In 2008 a review of the literature 1 concluded that 10 mg of gluten per day was probably safe for most celiacs. However the research it was based on tested a very small sample of celiacs and may not have revealed the full range of sensitivity. Eating about one pound of food with 20 ppm of gluten would reach this level. But note that many foods we eat are completely gluten free (fresh fruits and vergetables, for example) and any manufacturer using a gluten free label would certainly be prudent to target a lower level.

Although the use of "gluten free" in labeling is voluntary, if manufacturers choose to label their products gluten free they must comply with the standard. Note that the standard does not address the presence of oats. Although oats are considered safe for most people with celiac disease if you have a reaction to them you need to review the full ingredients list or contact the manufacturer for more information. Food manufacturers have until August 5, 2014 to bring their labels into compliance. Since they have known of the proposed standard for several years it's likely that most foods labeled gluten free are already in compliance.

FALCPA

The Food Allergen Labeling And Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) took effect on January 1st 2006. It requires that food labels state the presence of any "major food allergens." These labels can take two different forms:

  1. Manufacturers may include the name of the food source in parenthesis following the common or usual name of the major food allergen in the list of ingredients in instances when the name of the food source of the major allergen does not appear elsewhere in the ingredient statement. For example:
    Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and/or cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, whey (milk), eggs, vanilla, natural and artificial flavoring) salt, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), lecithin (soy), mono-and diglycerides (emulsifier)

    Note "(wheat flour...)" and "(milk)", etc.

  2. Manufacturers may place the phrase "Contains..." followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients. For example:
    Contains Wheat, Milk, and Soy

Although this is a significant improvement for celiacs, there are some important points to be aware of:

  • The law only requires that the presence of milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans be stated. It does not cover rye or barley.
  • The law only requires information on allergens that are in the ingredients of a product. It does not address contamination from shared production lines or equipment. However, if the product is labeled gluten free it must comply with the 20 ppm standard for gluten free labeling. Note that this does not apply to other allergens.
  • FALCPA does not require specific information about what ingredients contain an allergen. If a allergen is identified in the ingredients statement (the first example above) it need only be started for one ingredient. Subsequent ingredients with the same allergen do not need to state that they contain it. If the manufacturer uses a "Contains" statement you have no indication about what ingredients may contain the allergen. This causes uncertainty about whether an ingredient generally considered safe (vinegar, for example) is the source of the allergen or if it is also in another ingredient (which might be a problem).
  • As food manufacturers review their products in light of FALCPA, some items that were considered gluten-free are being identified as containing wheat. In some cases these items are really gluten-free due to the processing of the food (distilling, for example).

1 Akobeng AK, Thomas AG (June 2008). "Systematic review: tolerable amount of gluten for people with coeliac disease". Aliment. Pharmacol. Ther. 27 (11): 104452. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03669.x. PMID 18315587

Last modified on Wednesday, 23-Oct-2013 10:01:17 MST

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