Monday, December 7, 2009

Sleuthing again

I have been wanting to get to this, but it is such a busy time! I am going to put up a couple of posts as fast as I can.

Product information:
First, Tammy expressed concern about the soy status of Hillshire Farms Lit'l Smokies. I just called the company and was told that all of their products will clearly state if they contain soy or gluten AND if any ingredient is derived from soy or gluten. This is their standard policy, so consider them a trusted company! You will find no helpful allergen OR ingredient list on their website, only a list of products. It took a phone call to find out.

Some of the Better Than Bouillon products are gluten free and they appear to be soy free as well. The site this is on has comprehensive list of the items they sell which okay for particular dietary restrictions. Soy is not listed specifically, but that may be because it is the law that labels must say "contains soy." What bothers me about the FDA site, is I see nothing about gluten. I was told the law changed to include gluten on the list.

I contacted Hickory Farms and was told that they do not have a list of gluten free products, but they have lots of them. The particular product I wanted to know about was their Beef Summer Sausage (formerly known as Beef Stick) and they said it is gluten free. However, if I want to know about any other product I must contact them again. NOT USER FRIENDLY...and I have suggested they change their policy. They sent it on to the department that makes that sort of decision.

A friend contacted Crest and was told that none of their toothpastes contain gluten. I should note here that my husband and I have separate toothpaste tubes to avoid gluten contamination issues. I take no chances and he doesn't mind!

Business:
Labels: Diligence is still a necessity when you are purchasing products that say they do not have gluten in their ingredients list or say they are gluten free. I thought the labeling laws were a done deal, but from what I am finding it seems to me that this is still coming. The Celiac Sprue Association has this information posted. The FDA seems to still be working out the kinks. Never trust a label that says Gluten Free. Check for more information. Does it say in the fine print, processed in a facility that also produces products containing gluten? Because of the information contained in the next section of this post, my reasoning is if there is flour used to produce a product in a facility in the morning and then the lines are cleaned and a "gluten free" product is produced in the same location in the afternoon, cross contamination is a real possibility. As I said, diligence is important. Call the companies. Ask questions. If you have any better information about what is going on with labeling, please comment and I will post it.

Concerning airborne gluten: I have a friend who knows a man with Celiac who toured a flour mill that was not running at the time. After leaving the facility he had to find a bathroom because he was "reacting" (you know what I am referring to here) to the flour in the air. Check out Melissa's response to this issue here. [See updates below]

Another resource on Celiac and gluten intolerance. This is a gastroenterology site and it has some good (though not exhaustive) information on the page. Don't assume when you get to the resource list that you are done. Keep scrolling down, there is more to come Mordecai.

This is from the UK. I found it through Pig in the Kitchen (second entry under For your surfing pleasure below). There is lots of information on this site, so look around. Keep in mind that if you are not from the UK, their product lists, restaurant lists, etc. are not applicable. I like this site for its general information about the disease, cross-contamination issues, etc.

For your surfing pleasure:
Since I found out I am unable to eat dairy or eggs, I have been searching for others cooking for peeps with the same problem, so I could gather some recipes and figure this animal out. Thanks to Professor Google and Elizabeth at Ditch the Gluten, I have found a few that are very helpful.

I absolutely love this blog out of France, Pig in the Kitchen, by the Pig (that is the only identification I have been able to find so far). I have tried several recipes. You have to use the measurement conversion calculator she links to--unless you have a handle on metric measuring and the utensils to match. I made her Untidy Apple Pie for Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. As I was eating, I was tweaking it in my mind; perhaps I will make a variation for my husband's birthday and post what I come up with.

Yummy Allergen Free, by Food Allergy Mom, looks like another great source for recipes. I just found her, so I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but I plan to!

I am a fan of Nutella, but it has milk in it, so I was pretty excited when I ran across this recipe! I will probably try it over Christmas when my kids are home from college.

Gluten Free in NC, by Jill, doesn't have all the allergy issues I have, but she posted a granola recipe that I can use. She also has a lot of product reviews. She hasn't posted anything since July, but her blog is still a nice resource.

I bookmarked this link from Dessert Obsessed in my "blog this" folder and this particular recipe is gluten/egg/dairy free; it is under the subtitle Gluten Free Decadence. Click on the labels on the recipe for links to other resources. Please note that most of her recipes are NOT allergen free.

Life, Gluten Free, by Sophie, is another blog stuffed with recipes and good information. She does not cook dairy and egg free, but I am not going to stop posting gluten free blogs that don't. I am not going to be a narcissist about this. I have plenty of just gluten free readers (like gluten free isn't enough to deal with).

Okay...it turns out there was nothing quick about this at all!

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UPDATES: I have been looking for more sources that agree with the airborne gluten problem this morning. Here is a guideline from the with a lot of good information on it, including the possibility of airborne contamination. About dot com weighs in on cross contamination here. On that site, there is an article on symptoms. My main symptoms are severe abdominal pain and sores in my mouth. It includes a good list, but I know there are more than that. I have a friend who has migraines and she gets puffy (including her face) when she has gluten. Some people have no symptoms at all. Here is a conversation about pizza places in New York that cater to the gluten challenged. Scroll down on the first page to Ben Cappel's two cents. One of his tell tale signs of exposure is swollen gums. I have never heard of that one before.

If you are one of those people who have been diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance and you would rather just eat gluten than be a bother, or you think a little bit won't hurt you, or you are not looking into the cross-contamination possibilities because you thing what you don't know can't hurt you: things can get worse folks.

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