A number of wheat-based manufacturers in Victoria and Vancouver Island are promoting ‘gluten-free’ options.
All well and good for consumers making a lifestyle option and/or not bothered by baking that may be cross-contaminated with wheat. However, this practical acceptance of the term ‘gluten-free / no gluten-added et al’ makes life challenging for diagnosed celiacs and those who follow a 100% gluten-free diet. We count on gluten-free to mean less than 20 parts per million of gluten (i.e. 1 grain of rice in 50,000 grains).*
Note: If you think that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has ‘checked’ every wheat-based bakery that offers ‘gluten-free’ baking, please be advised: the CFIA is a vastly understaffed government organization whose investigative efforts are largely complaint driven. Their assessment matrix does not necessarily require that wheat-based manufacturers perform/provide test results to corroborate gluten-free claims.
So celiacs and gluten-free consumers, please consider asking wheat-based bakeries that offer ‘gluten-free’ baking the following:
- Whether they undertake independent laboratory testing – on a regular basis – to confirm that their cross-contamination protocol results in baking proven to contain <20ppm.
- If they do not undertake regular testing – or are unwilling to share results with customers who ask, follow up by asking on what basis they are making their ‘gluten-free’ claim?
- If they answer that customers have not complained of becoming ill, consider the following:
- not every customer is a diagnosed (or undiagnosed) celiac
- not every celiac reacts when exposed to gluten
- not every shopper who becomes ill connects the dots, or reports back to the business that made them ill
- commercial entities with a vested interest in your patronage are not medical experts
In The Celiac Scene’s 13 years of advocacy, manufacturers committed to protecting the health of their gluten-free customers understand why our community asks questions, and are happy to answer them.
Celiacs need gluten free to MEAN gluten free.
Please support manufacturers who invest in our safety.
*As of August 4, 2012, section B.24.018 of the Food and Drug Regulations will state that:
It is prohibited to label, package, sell or advertise a food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food if the food contains any gluten protein or modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, referred to in the definition “gluten” in subsection B.01.010.1(1).
Subsection B.01.010.1(1) reads:
(a) any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or the grain of a hybridized strain created from at least one of the following cereals:
(iv) triticale, or
(v) wheat, kamut or spelt; or
(b) any modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, that is derived from the grain of any of the cereals referred to in subparagraphs (a)(i) to (v) or the grain of a hybridized strain referred to in paragraph (a). (gluten)
Note: Baking promoted as gluten free by Portofino European Wholesale Bakery undergoes regular third-party gluten testing. Portofino shares its results with The Celiac Scene. Their gluten-free products have never scored above 18 ppm. For the past 4 years, test results have scored ‘non-detectable’ to a threshold of 10 ppm.
Where to purchase Portofino Baking
Please contact [email protected] if you have questions or concerns about fresh baking/perogies represented as gluten free, when manufactured in a wheat-based facility in Victoria, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
If you are wheat-based bakery that produces ‘gluten-free’ baking and would like to share information about your protocol / gluten test results with the Celiac Scene, contact [email protected] 250-727-6275.