Canadian Celiac Association News Release
October 26, 2017 (Mississauga, ON) The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) has learned that the words “gluten-free” will be removed from all Cheerios packages sold in Canada commencing January 2018.
The Canadian Celiac Association first objected to the claim in August 2016 and strongly recommended that people with celiac disease not consume the cereal, even though the box was labelled “gluten free.”
“We are delighted to hear the claim will be removed voluntarily from the packages”, said Melissa Secord, Executive Director of the Canadian Celiac Association. “We support the General Mills decision to make this voluntary move. Based on the advice of the members of our Professional Advisory Council (PAC) and other professionals working in the field, we believe that there is not adequate evidence to support the current gluten-free claim.”
The CCA will continue to work with industry and government to ensure access to safe foods for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.
The CCA received a grant from Agriculture and Agrifood Canada to examine the scope of gluten contamination in oats, pulses and other grains grown in Canada, and to determine where the contamination occurs as the grains are processed (field, harvest, transport, processing). The project is scheduled to be completed in March 2018.
Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health. People with celiac disease can experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and/or migraines.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale and barley. In the case of wheat, gliadin has been isolated as the toxic fraction. It is the gluten in the wheat flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods.