What we’ve learned from 15 years of testing food for gluten & 8 years running Gluten Free Watchdog
The vast majority of manufacturers of gluten-free foods are doing it right!
87% of labeled gluten-free foods commissioned for testing through Gluten Free Watchdog test below 5 parts per million of gluten (the lowest level that can be quantified using the R5 ELISA Mendez Method).
96% of labeled gluten-free foods commissioned for testing through Gluten Free Watchdog test below 20 parts per million of gluten.
4% of labeled gluten-free foods commissioned for testing through Gluten Free Watchdog test at or above 20 parts per million of gluten.
When foods do test out of compliance with the gluten-free rule most of them come from one category of food
Grain-based foods (foods containing oats, millet, buckwheat, etc.) account for 79% of foods testing at or above 20 parts per million of gluten (as tested through Gluten Free Watchdog).
Oat products account for 45% of the grain-based foods testing out of compliance (as tested through Gluten Free Watchdog).
There have been a few unwelcome surprises…
Lentils, as compared to other legumes, appear to have a higher risk of cross contact with barley and sometimes wheat. This observation is based on errant grain in bags of labeled gluten-free lentils from a variety of manufacturers (as reported to Gluten Free Watchdog).
Barley malt and wheat-based soy sauce continue to be used as ingredients in foods labeled gluten-free (as reported to Gluten Free Watchdog).
Please take comfort in the fact that most manufacturers get it right BUT please also…
Continue to read ingredients lists.
Choose grain foods from trustworthy gluten-free sources.
Choose oats from trustworthy gluten-free sources (e.g., those manufacturers sourcing oats from suppliers following a robust gluten-free purity protocol and testing process).
Pick through and rinse all dry legumes (lentils in particular).
Note to manufacturers of gluten-free foods: It also is important for you to follow the above recommendations—check supplier ingredients for malt and wheat-based soy sauce, source your gluten-free grains from suppliers who provide certificates of analysis for gluten; source oats from suppliers who follow a robust gluten-free purity protocol, and visually inspect legumes for errant barley and wheat.
Our research published in 2018 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Full free text available at http://rdcu.be/JRM0
Testing data on rinsed lentils https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/reminder-pick-through-your-lentils-for-errant-wheat-and-barley/
Listing of oats produced under a purity protocol https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/