It’s already tough enough living with celiac disease, as much of the food available to everyone else is unavailable and it can feel like one must learn how to eat all over again. Not to mention the risk of neuropathy may be increased as a result of being a celiac. So imagine how you would feel if you found out that some of the products that are labeled as gluten-free (GF) turned out to not actually be gluten-free as they claim.
A recent study conducted by a group of researchers from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center analyzed the gluten content of 22 popular probiotic products. In order for a product to be labeled “gluten-free”, the FDA requires it to contain 20 parts per million or less of gluten. The researchers found that more than half of the 22 products analyzed contained more gluten than the FDA requirement, but were still labeled gluten-free. Four of the products were even found to contain more than one type of gluten, which is even more problematic!
Dr. Peter Green, the director of the Celiac Disease Center, was quoted by TIME as having said that roughly 25 percent of those afflicted with the disease “use supplements or non-traditional medical products,” amongst which, “probiotics were the largest and most frequently consumed.”
We found previously that about 25% of celiac patients use supplements or non-traditional medical products, and probiotics were the largest and most frequently consumed.
If you’re living with celiac disease, it’s important to always check the labels on whatever it is you’re considering consuming. Cross-contamination is one thing, but a faulty label is another entirely. It’s also important to remember that under current U.S. law, certain dietary supplements were not obligated to have the FDA verify their products or findings until just a few years ago. So if it says it’s a gluten-free supplement, it’s best to err on the side of caution and move along to another item until you find concrete evidence that it is truly free of gluten.
The study was presented at Digestive Disease Week, which wraps up today in Washington, DC.
Are you surprised by this study’s findings regarding mislabeled gluten-free products?