"Gluten-free" label can be unreliable, be cautious

This may not be news to some, but I am sure there are people who were just as unaware as I was of this. There seems to be a wide misconception of what "gluten free" really means to the effect that companies are truly misleading consumers.

I came upon this information after inquiring about a product that was deceptively labeled "gluten-free."

The product: Megafood Women's One Daily
The label claimed: Gluten-free

I started to have a reaction a couple days of starting the multi. My body warned me something was not right: stomach ache and bloating. I thought, okay what's new?

The question really is, why is this occurring? I am not so naive that I believe that companies aren't aware that being misleading in their labeling is not hurting some consumers.

So I stopped taking the multi-vitamin and I felt better again. Eager to know if my gut (in this case, literally) was right about this product being contaminated with gluten in some way, I contacted the company. I got a response that was very much unwelcome and extremely displeasing to me.

The exact quote:

"At this time we do regularly test lots of tablets for gluten although not every lot. However, the last time we tested Women’s One Daily it was less than 20ppm gluten.

The FDA has proposed a rule that anything under 20ppm gluten can be labeled as gluten free. To my knowledge the rule has not been published (become law) as yet, but it is generally accepted that less than 20ppm gluten is gluten free.

Considering our batch sizes and the fact our products that have tested higher than 20ppm gluten (not labeled gluten free) aren't extremely high in gluten, it is extremely unlikely that cross contamination could result in Women’s One Daily being over 20ppm gluten."

So press on cautiously. There are definitely companies out there that are apparently willing to cross the line simply for the sake of making more money. Though, in the end they are making a mistake once someone (like me) finds out the truth.

My question still remains unanswered. How can it be considered gluten-free if it still has gluten? It's like saying "hey bud, I know you're allergic to peanuts but I made some cookies that have less than 20ppm peanuts in them. So they are peanut-free, you can have them right? You won't get all hivey and itchy and have problems breathing right?"

While I know celiac disease is not a gluten allergy, I use the example above because I believe it should be taken very seriously, much like someone who has a severe food allergy. Gluten damages the small intestines for people with celiac disease after all.. not to mention all of the obvious physical symptoms that are unpleasant.


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