April Celiac Tidbits

By Mark Johnson

Some people are still reading and promoting the Wheat Belly book. The CCA has reviewed this book and this is not a scientifically-valid publication. We do not recommend reading this book, nor following its advice. To read a quality, scientific book on celiac disease, we encourage you to look at books like that of Shelley Case, who sits on the CCA’s Professional Advisory Council.

Confused about ingredient lists and whether there might be “hidden gluten”? Worry not. In Canada, any ingredient that contains wheat, rye, or barley gluten MUST be identified on the ingredient list. No “hidden” gluten is allowed. The only way to be certain is to look at the ingredient list on the package you are about to use.

Allergen and gluten labelling is a challenge for manufacturers. The upper limit for gluten is 20 ppm, but the limit for wheat and other primary allergens is zero. This means, legally, that a product can be gluten-free but not wheat free. This is why you may see products labelled GF but with warnings such as “may contain wheat” or “made in a facility that also processes wheat”. The gluten-free claim, which the manufacturer must be able to defend, indicates it is safe for people with celiac disease. So that’s what you need to look for as a celiac. If it has the “may contain” warning without the gluten-free claim, avoid the product. But if there’s a GF claim, it should be safe for you. The “made in
a factory…” warning does indicate that it may not be safe for someone with a wheat allergy, however.

A gluten-free market analysis by Grand View Research showed that the global gluten-free products market size was valued at USD $14.94 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow. Increasing incidences of celiac diseases & heightened gluten sensitivity in consumers has generated high demand for gluten-free foods & products in recent years. For more information, please read the full report (110 pages) at: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industryanalysis/gluten-free-products-market

One of the common past-times (understandably) for celiacs is to complain about the high cost of gluten-free baked goods. It’s true, the cost is often over 200% higher than “regular” products. However, these higher costs are a result of the need for pure, gluten-free supplies. It can cost a LOT more to; a) get gluten-free flour alternatives, and b) to make sure those supplies test below 20 parts per million. The testing itself is expensive, but necessary because sick consumers and/or a recall by the CFIA can potentially ruin a business. Competition in the marketplace is fierce and that has lowered prices, but please be understanding with the pricing. If you want to learn more, we’re sure that gluten-free food manufacturers would be pleased to tell you more about the high production costs they face. Please support these businesses, who make life easier for us!

About Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson lives in Ottawa and has served on the CCA Board of Directors since 2011. Mark works on the CCA’s awareness, revenue and education initiatives, and as such is involved with such tasks as writing, editing, internal communication, media relations, member support, advertising, and social media. Mark also serves as president of the CCA’s Ottawa Chapter. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Waterloo, and master’s degrees from the University of Ottawa (communication) and Carleton University (political management). Mark was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005. He is a federal public servant, is married with two dogs, and in his spare time enjoys travelling, learning, reading, and playing