Author: Tricia Thompson

Morning musings about testing food for gluten & the Nima Sensor

The following is paragraph form of a tweet thread posted by @GFWatchdog to Twitter on March 21, 2019.

A few musings this morning about testing food for gluten & the Nima Sensor. Background, I have been commissioning testing of gluten-free food for about 15 years. Does this make me an expert? No. I am a dietitian fortunate to have learned from the experts—the scientists who specialize in testing food for gluten, including the late Dr. Mendez (you may recognize his […]

Confused by USDA ingredient & allergen labeling? Read the facts recently confirmed by the agency

Over the past week, two of the amazing members of the Gluten Free Watchdog community reached out regarding issues with USDA labeling. In case you sometimes find yourself in a state of labeling confusion, here are the facts recently confirmed to GFWD by USDA on March 11th and 12th, 2019.

1. ALL ingredients must be declared by their “common or usual name” in foods regulated by the USDA.

2. Certain ingredients can be declared collectively, such as
flavoring. BUT protein-containing ingredients must […]

When beer “crafted to remove gluten” is wrongly advertised as “gluten-free”: How to report to the TTB

If you come across a bottled malt beverage in the US market that has been “crafted to remove gluten” (e.g., made using malted barley but treated with an enzyme) yet is represented in advertisements from the brewer as “gluten-free” please email the TTB market compliance division at Photos representing the issue are useful to include.

The regulation of beer is not straightforward.
What follows is a primer that hopefully makes a complicated topic easier to
understand. Please read it carefully. […]

Yeast extract confusion made worse by the lack of manufacturer transparency

Gluten Free Watchdog received a consumer complaint about
Health Valley Gluten Free Café Chicken Noodle Soup. The product includes the
ingredient “flavors (including yeast extract).” Long story short, according to
the consumer who contacted us, she was told by Health Valley customer service
representatives that the source of the yeast extract was brewer’s yeast.
However, she never received a definitive answer regarding whether the brewer’s
yeast was spent brewer’s yeast.

Generally speaking, we do not advise contacting manufacturers about labeled gluten-free foods containing yeast extract. […]

This Gluten-Free Label Wins the Prize for Most Confusing EVER

Many labeled gluten-free foods contain oats supplied by
providers of mechanically and optically sorted oats. Two consumers have reached
out to GFWD regarding the labeling on Quest oatmeal chocolate chip bars. The
label includes the following:

Certified Gluten-Free mark from GFCO

Contains … wheat**

**Trace amounts are unavoidable in field grains

Oats used in this product are certified gluten-free

There are a few issues with this labeling statement that are concerning:

1. “Contains … wheat.” Contains statements are regulated under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer […]

Bakers, please stop thinking that somehow your wheat product is special and has magical powers that allow folks with celiac disease to safely eat it. They can’t. Full stop.

Whole Wheat Flour: Approx. 100,000 ppm of gluten

Wheat*: 103,000 ppm of gluten

Wheat Bread**: 104,000 ppm of gluten

Wheat Bread***: 72,000 ppm of gluten

*At the time of testing, the manufacturer of the
crushed wheat product stated the following on their website, “Crushed wheat #1 allows people with gluten
intolerance, celiac disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health ailments to eat
wheat again.”

**At the time of testing, the bakery making the
sourdough wheat bread included a webpage on their site entitled, “Sourdough for Celiacs” and stated, […]

Allergen Advisory Statements and Your Favorite Chocolates

Over the holidays we
received emails from community members concerned about the gluten-free status
of various candies, including those made by See’s Candies and Hammond’s

Focusing on See’s Candies (and
long story short), this is what their website currently states about gluten:

Allergen Information

Valid January 1, 2019
– December 31, 2019


Candies produced in See’s
Candies facilities do not contain gluten, and these products are the vast
majority of those we sell. We purchase a small amount of specialty candies made
by third parties, and these also […]

Gluten Levels in Medication: FOIA Request

It has been three years since I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FDA asking for testing data from an FDA funded study on the gluten levels in medications. FDA has yet to process my request.

Bottom line: FDA has concluded that medications are unlikely to contain more than 0.5 mg of gluten per unit dose (see Gluten in Drug Products Proposed Guidance available at This conclusion may in fact be accurate BUT it is […]

Video: Facial Misbranding of Gluten-Free Food

At the end of October, I gave a presentation on the facial misbranding of gluten-free foods at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. At the beginning of November, I gave a mini version of this presentation at the celiac disease conference hosted by the National Celiac Association. In this video I talk through printouts of the slides presented at the latter conference. The video runs about 15 minutes. Please let me know if […]

Reminder: Pick Through Your Lentils for Errant Wheat and Barley!

We continue to receive reports of errant gluten-containing grains in bags of dried lentils sold in the US. Health Canada just issued a recall on a brand of lentils for undeclared gluten. As a general reminder, under US GIPSA standards (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration), lentils are allowed to contain a certain percentage of foreign grain, including wheat, barley, and rye. As a precaution, please make sure to pick through dry lentils carefully and rinse them very thoroughly under […]