Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Testing Food for Gluten

Lessons Learned from 16 Years of Testing Food for Gluten

This video presentation with audio is about 30 minutes long. The focus is on lessons learned from 16 years of testing food for gluten. The positive news is that the vast majority of the hundreds of foods tested through GFWD have tested below 20 parts per million of gluten. There have been a few unwelcome surprises over the years, including the level of cross contact in lentils and the number of products impacted by facial misbranding. We’ve also learned through direct experience that testing for gluten is far from straight forward. As we go through all of these issues in detail—gluten levels, cross contact, facial misbranding, and testing–please don’t get discouraged–most manufacturers of gluten-free foods are doing it right. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Comments (10)

  • Donna T Reply

    I didn’t understand the part about two pieces of bread and the bags of 20ppm grains. The bread falls under 1/2 oz. so is safe? Eating more pasta takes you over 20ppm? Is it accumulative if you eat over 1/2 oz. of a 20ppm gluten food? Will that affect your digestion?

    Thank you for this presentation.

    November 21, 2020 at 3:01 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Donna, The section on parts per million is included to provide a visual of the amount of various products that would have to be eaten to take in 1/2 milligram of gluten if each product contained a level of gluten of 20 parts per million. Each 1 ounce amount of any product containing a level of gluten of 20 ppm contains about 1/2 milligram of gluten. In the US, 10 milligrams of gluten is considered a safe daily threshold. In other parts of the world, 50 milligrams is considered safe. Gluten intake should obviously be kept as low as possible.

      November 21, 2020 at 3:10 pm
  • Doris Schapira Reply

    Excellent presentation.
    Thank you.
    I will send it to the person who heads a gluten free support group to which I belong.
    Hopefully she will share it with the mailing list.

    November 21, 2020 at 6:32 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thank you, Doris.

      November 21, 2020 at 9:37 pm
    • C. Bryce Reply

      OMG, You rock!!! Thank you! I agree, you are a rock star!

      I too am a little confused; I’m no good with numbers. So, does that mean we can have small amounts of gluten, like the amount, or less than what you showed, in the bag of noodles?
      And does it mean we don’t have to worry about buying gf spices? And how about one slice of bread, how much gluten is there in one slice of bread? I’ve been so very strict being gf. It would great if I could lighten up.

      Thank you ever very much for this help!!!

      December 1, 2020 at 6:24 pm
      • Tricia Thompson Reply

        Thank you for your kind words. As far as the section on parts per million, no, folks with celiac disease should not think that it is okay to have a little bit of gluten. The amount we are talking about as being a safe daily threshold–10 milligrams of gluten–is a tiny amount. This is the amount that might be eaten while eating gluten-free foods that have a level of gluten of less than 20 parts per million. Keep in mind what this means–a 1 ounce portion of a food with a level of gluten of 20 ppm contains about 1/2 milligram of gluten. It isn’t that you don’t have to worry about spices but that it is far more worrisome to me when a food that is eaten in large amounts–bread, pasta, breakfast cereal contains a level of gluten over 20 ppm than when a spice contains over 20 ppm. This is solely because of the weight amount consumed. This is a confusing concept. Hopefully this helps a bit.

        December 1, 2020 at 6:42 pm
  • Catherine Hess Reply

    Excellent video. You are a superstar for the gluten-free community!

    November 21, 2020 at 7:59 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Catherine. Glad you liked the video.

      November 21, 2020 at 9:38 pm
  • Michael Orton Reply


    Thanks so much for the video. The information and the way it was presented have helped me on this journey of trying to eat gluten free. I have celiacs and the work that you do is greatly appreciated.


    November 21, 2020 at 9:34 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Michael, It is so good to hear that you found the information helpful.

      November 21, 2020 at 9:39 pm

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