JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD, put gluten in my food

Recently I read and posted an article by Beth Hoffman about GMO’s.  The title of her story was, “Just Because We can Genetically Engineer Foods, Doesn’t Mean We Should.

I started thinking about this over the weekend with the advent of Cheesecake Factory coming out with a GlutenFree Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake made with wheat husk.  The first thing I found odd about this whole thing is Godiva says their chocolate is not glutenfree, yet they somehow make a glutenfree cheesecake just for them.  Their response on Twitter to me was:

“Due to the diversity of our chocolates we are unable to test each with the rigor needed to label GF.  The Godiva Cheesecake for the Cheesecake Factory has been tested and verified to be glutenfree.”

I would like to know where exactly is this specially made cheesecake prepared?  Is it created and prepared in a part of the godiva factory that is GF? And where would they get the idea that wheat husk is glutenfree as well?  Oh yeh, the FDA gluten free loopholes.

The idea seems to be that as long as a GF product tests under 20ppm, it doesn’t matter what the ingredients are.  The FDA says,  “Most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten.” Can we though?  Should we have to?

Going back to Beth’s earlier statement, ” Just Because We Can, Doesn’t Mean We Should.”  I don’t believe there is enough scientific evidence for the FDA to base that statement on.  Not to mention, very small amounts add up to big amounts over time.  Just because some people have limited reactions to 20ppm and under, does not mean the gluten is still not making our insides sick over time.

The FDA defines Gluten Free as… In addition to limiting the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm, FDA will allow manufacturers to label a food “gluten-free” if the food does not contain any of the following:

  • an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten

It seems that the FDA should have stopped at #1 instead of adding  #2-3, for companies to squeeze through.  I do not want foods that have gluten-removed.  I do not want foods that have wheat or barley in them.  There is enough cross contamination from GF foods that really are gluten free, now  companies can add in the gluten that makes us sick, as long as it is under 20 ppm.  Because the FDA believes, “Most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten.”

The general population (with and without gluten issues), doctors, companies, are all still trying to figure out Celiac Disease and this gluten free phenomena.  Gluten Free is Gluten Free, period!  I don’t understand the problem here or why we need to mince words.

I get sick from eating gluten, lots of people get sick from eating gluten and there’s even more people then maybe realized.  Imagine if the serious outward symptoms that a lot of us have, is happening inside of you and you’re not aware.   We need more research to understand gluten and why it’s causing people to get sick.  Why does going gluten-free help a number of other auto-immune diseases?  Why is the food we are eating everyday slowly poisoning us?

Cheesecake Factory does not get to call their Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake with wheat husk, Gluten Free, I do not care if it tests under the 20ppm.  Omission Beer does not get to call their beer made with barley, Gluten Free, because it is NOT.  Gluten Free pretty much defines itself, made with GLUTEN FREE ingredients.  The money these companies are making off this fad-wagon are not going to pay our doctor bills down the line.

The CEO of Omission beer, Terry Michaelson, even states on Oregonianlive.com,  “any gluten you take in, whether you get sick or not, ends up in some way damaging the intestine. It’s obviously not something you want to do either for short-term reaction or long-term health.”  Yet their beer, admits Joe Casey the senior director, “There’s no denial that we’re going to find pieces of protein in the beer, those don’t go away. But those pieces are small. That’s our view on it.”

Well, I am glad that you have your view on it, but it seems a little contradicting if you ask me Mr. Michaelson.  Though, I can see where your excitement stems from, your investors must have been happy when you announced, “Omission allows us to get to more potential beer drinkers,” Michaelson said. “The sales potential is much beyond just celiacs.”  Ah, I understand your need now to push for the barley in your GLUTEN-FREE beer, the people who don’t get sick might want to drink it as well.

I’m just wondering Mr. Michaelson, celiac to fellow celiac, Do you really feel comfortable marketing barley beer to people with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance or any of the many other auto immune diseases that the gluten free lifestyle can benefit?  And I quote you again here,  “any gluten you take in, whether you get sick or not, ends up in some way damaging the intestine. It’s obviously not something you want to do either for short-term reaction or long-term health.”

Hmm, maybe you just don’t think that you can make a good tasting , truly Gluten-Free beer.  If that is true, then maybe sir , you are in the wrong business.

Change starts one person at a time and we are that change.  I have had people say to me, “I am only one person, what can I do?” or “the companies have to much money and the government is looking out for them not us, so again, what can I do?”  You can start by not buying those products and tell a friend not to buy those products and so on and so on.  Start a twitter feed or Facebook page and blog about it.

Change does not happen overnight, it usually is a long arduous uphill battle, but it does come.  The best way to fight companies is through your pocketbook and through your words.  If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem and you don’t get to complain about how bad things are if you are not willing to do something about it.

Martin Luther King says:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge.”

It is up to us to pave the way for our future, the future of our children and our children’s children.  Take a stance, be the change.

Sources:

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069.htm?gclid=CMjimNyFsLkCFVFp7AoduRgAiQ
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2013/06/pressing_the_case_of_omission.html
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/547107
http://www.glutenfreegluten.com/cheesecake-factory-2013/
http://www.godiva.com/customer-assistance/faq,default,pg.html
http://omissionbeer.com/f-a-q/
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Comments

  1. Reply

    Kirsten, just wanted to give you an update about the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. It took several phone calls today to find out that the cheesecake does not contain wheat husk. Maybe it did at some point in the past, but it doesn’t now. At first, I was told that it contained GF wheat! I informed the very nice lady I spoke to at the corporate office that GF wheat does not exist. She did some further research, and it turns out that they have a disclaimer because the snow on top of the cheesecake is manufactured in a shared facility, so there might be a risk of cross contamination. I ran across your blog post when I was doing research for my review, so I thought I would share what I learned. They do regularly test the cheesecake to make sure that it is below 20 ppm, and Godiva does make chocolate for the cheesecake that they consider to be GF. I was told that cross contamination in the restaurant in the display case is also a possibility. I also learned that the cheesecakes are made in NC, and arrive in the restaurants individually wrapped.

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much for the update and great information. Love the comment, “contains GF wheat”, wow!

  2. Reply

    When I read posts like this it makes me kind of glad I can’t eat most of the GF food anyway because I’m allergic to dairy and corn and soy. I guess that’s the positive side of having multiple food allergies and celiac disease–I don’t get “glutened” as much as others with the disease. 🙂

    • jmk
    • September 6, 2013
    Reply

    I don’t get how being “free” of something has turned into “just a little” of something. So, if one was freed from jail, does that mean they still have to spend 20 dpy (days per year) behind bars? Free should mean Free.

    • Tonia Biggs
    • September 5, 2013
    Reply

    Great post! This is so hard when even GF doesnot mean GF. My latest frustration is flying on an airline and trying to make sure the food is GF. Because it is not an international flight they have no ability to handle a special meal. When traveling and through airports what food can we have through security? How do we eat safely when we travel? American had no phone number for the food company for me to talk to and ask questions. So hard…

    1. You bring up great points. I always bring my own food when traveling just in case because I regret it when I don’t. I haven’t had a problem getting food through security only liquids but you might want to call airline just in case.

    2. I had a reader email me because they were offered a GF meal but the ingredients on the back said wheat… It is a problem. The more we educate the quicker we bring change.

  3. I ate a few bites of a bar today that had the certified GF label on it. I was SO sick instantly. Checked later and saw the small print that it was made in a shared facility. So was it just under 20ppm? Or are their bars not checked regularly? How often do they test to have the GF label on it?

    So frustrating.

  4. Reply

    I love this post, and in complete agreement.There should be no gluten derived ingredients (gluten removed or not) in my GLUTEN FREE food.

    Oh, and the guy from Omission. He is totally contradicting himself, and that’s scary. I’ve never tried their beer and I never will.

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Hi, I’m Kirsten

I am a Gluten Free Nutrition Consultant who’s goal it is to make the lives easier and healthier of those with Celiac disease and those that choose to live the gluten free lifestyle.

Living the gluten free lifestyle is not an easy one and can be very overwhelming: from testing to grocery shopping, to eating out and deglutening your own household, I am here to walk you through the process from beginning to end.  With tips, tricks, humor, healthy recipes and sometimes just an understanding ear, I will guide you seamlessly through.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2010, so I understand completely the trials and tribulations of living gluten free.

 

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