Did you know the Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to label foods as “gluten free,” but doesn’t require that they test them for cross-contamination? Yup, as long as they meet certain ingredient standards, they’re free to use the term.
Unfortunately, cross-contamination can happen in multiple places along a the production path, including the farms & fields, manufacturing plant, transportation, packaging and more. And, sometimes items contain an errant ingredient, overlooked by the FDA.
In 2011, Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, and a fellow celiac, created Gluten-Free Watchdog to help educate consumers about possible cross-contamination of gluten-free products. Using an accredited lab, she independently tests foods, making her findings available to the public. She regularly reports on foods that are labeled gluten free, and those that are inherently gluten free, including nuts, beverages, chips, tofu and more. The website is subscription-based, and only registered users can access the data.
Consumers can subscribe to receive updates on the most recent food tests, and browse the
huge list of already-tested items. From tortillas to matzoh, medications to supplements, the list is huge, ever-growing, and most of all, accurate.
Gluten-Free Watchdog does not permit advertising on the website, and manufacturers cannot be sponsors. Thompson selects items to test based only on subscribers’ suggestions. She states, “Our intent is to be an unbiased voice and source of information for the consumer.”
And what happens if she discovers gluten in a gluten-free item? “If I am aware that a labeled gluten-free product contains more than the amount of gluten allowed under the Food and Drug Administration’s rule for labeling food gluten-free, I have an ethical responsibility to disclose this information to interested parties (e.g., subscribers).”
Gluten-Free Watchdog has already tested over 700 items, so head on over and get the real scoop, totally uncontaminated.