Day 6 -Gluten Free Shopping

* In the video above when I mention looking for gluten in the labeling I'm talking about wheat, barley, rye or malt. The word gluten won't actually be in the labeling.

Welcome to day 5! Today it's all about gluten free shopping. While it's important to stay safe in the grocery store

After today you'll know:
How to read labels
What the different gluten free symbols mean
How to pick healthy gluten free foods
How to save money on a gluten free diet
How to pick safe gluten free foods while shopping

Gluten free shopping F.A.Q

What are the main things I want to avoid?
You will want to avoid any food made with or containing:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Oats (unless oats are specially produced labeled gluten-free oats)

What does the gluten free label on foods actually mean?
When any food or drink is labelled gluten free that means it has to be under 20 ppm. So what that means is that the company labeling their products gluten free have provide proof that their products are under 20 ppm. 20 ppm has been deemed safe for most people with celiac disease. Some though are more sensitive to gluten then others and react to under 2o ppm and still get symptoms. 

*Recap- What's 20 ppm?

The unit of measurement, parts per million (ppm), describes the amount of gluten per one million parts of the food in question, as a percentage. For example, a food that contains 20 parts per million of gluten contain 0.002% gluten.

If you’d rather think in more tangible terms (maybe not exactly practical, but bear with me), imagine taking a slice of bread and cutting it into 1 million equal pieces. Then, place 20 of those teeny tiny pieces to the side and that’s your 20 ppm gluten in that slice of bread. A very small amount.

How do I find gluten on a label?
The most important part of a food label is the ingredients list usually found on the back or side of the package. In the ingredients list, food processors must accurately list the ingredients found in a food. So this is the part you will want to read first. But don’t look for the word “gluten.” Instead look for these words: wheat, rye, barley or malt. Oats on most labels are also off limits. The exception is “specialty” gluten-free oats in a food labeled gluten free.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) guarantees that if food contains wheat in any form, you will read the word “wheat” on the label. It also means you no longer have to worry about ingredients like modified food starch or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. If any ingredient is made from wheat, the label will tell you.

How to stay safe for good
Promise yourself that you will read the label every time you purchase a product, regardless of how many times you have previously read the same label and found the item safe. The dirty secret is that things can change – and they do, often enough to make this promise important.

 What about labeling on deli meats, meat, poultry, hot dogs and eggs?
The USDA regulates these foods and they're not covered under the FDA 20 ppm rule. Many companies will voluntarily declare wheat if it is in the product. So if a meat product is plain then it's most likely safe. Make sure you ask the butcher if you are concerned. If it's eggs you'll be safe to eat them. Deli meat on the other hand is best avoided if bought behind the deli because of labeling, spices and easy cross contamination through slicing. Hot dog companies will usually list ingredients but be careful because they don't have to follow the same labeling laws.

What do the symbols mean on gluten free food?
There are a few third party certification programs that have strict rules for how the gluten free food needs to be prepared in order to be labelled with the certification symbol.

Certified Gluten Free

GFCO is an internationally recognized certification symbol amongst consumers, certifying over 23,000 products from more than 700 companies in over 27 countries worldwide. GFCO combines the process of stringent desk audits of ingredients and suppliers with regular on-site inspections and monitoring of testing results to ensure standards are met. Each product must be under 10 ppm of gluten to use this symbol.

The Gluten Free Certification Program + Canadian Celiac Association

The Gluten free Certification Program is a management system and facility-based certification. This means that the program does not rely solely on product testing to ensure safety, but examines the entire practices and production process of the facility - from ingredient sourcing to employee training, cleaning practices, cross-contact controls, operational management and, finally, an effective end-to-end testing plan. These programs require their gluten free certified products to be under 10 ppm.