Monday, May 9, 2011

Gluten-Free Versus No Gluten Added: What’s the Difference?

The American Gastroenterological Association released a recent study suggesting more people may benefit from going gluten-free. But what does that mean, "gluten-free"? Is is the same as "no gluten added"?

There are strict guidelines for labeling products as “gluten-free”, but “no gluten added” is becoming more prevalent as a “protective measure that essentially can mean the same thing as ‘manufactured in a facility that produces products made with wheat,’” according to the Living Gluten-free Answer Book by Suzanne Bowland. The term “no gluten added” is somewhat literal: no gluten has intentionally been added. That is, all of the intended ingredients are gluten-free and nothing with gluten has been added to the product; however, that is not the same as being gluten-free because there “is the potential of cross-contamination.” What is the purpose of the tag, then? Including the tag in labeling means the manufacturer is not liable “for a gluten-free claim.”

For restaurants and bakeries,“no gluten added” carries additional meaning. The product (or meal) may not include any intended ingredients with gluten, but they cannot guarantee that gluten particles in the air have not found their way into your food. In other words, there is no guarantee of a 100% gluten-free environment.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Thanks very much for posting this. I'm gluten-intolerant, and I make sure that items are "gluten free"... you are absolutely right that "no gluten added" is misleading.

For people like myself who have the unfortunate food allergy, "gluten free" is always the must.