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Which Gluten-Free Labels Can I Trust?


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I've just read the Q&A about de-glutenized wheat, which prompted another question: I have sometimes gotten sick after eating products that say they have tested to < 20 ppm. Can I believe any gluten-free labels?




Hi Brooke. The < 20 ppm threshold is supported by renowned researchers, including Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, as a safe level for consumption. However, some certifying organizations use a lower threshold. The GFCO tests and certifies for < 10 ppm, and the NFCA/Quality Assurance International partnership also established < 10 ppm as the threshold for certification. The CSA Recognition Seal is for 5 ppm or less.

If the gluten-free label is from a certified organization (ex. GFCO or the others listed above), you can trust the labeling as being less than 20 ppm. However, some people have a higher sensitivity and will still react to these low levels. If you are one of those people, you may need to consume only naturally gluten-free items: fruits, vegetables, plain dairy and meats, eggs, rice and other food items that have no potential for contact or cross-contamination with gluten. You also need to make sure you have removed all possible areas of cross-contamination in your home, especially if you are newly diagnosed or share a home with people who eat gluten.


Nancy Dickens, BS, RD, LDN

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