How Much Gluten Is Safe For Me?

FDA Calling for Consumer Comments on “Gluten-Free Safety Zone”

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving closer to creating a gluten-free safety zone for consumers of gluten-free products. Until October 2, 2011, the FDA is soliciting comments from consumers about its proposed safety level of not more than 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in foods labeled as “gluten-free.”

So what should an educated consumer of gluten-free foods say about this proposed standard?  Here’s some helpful information from Pam Cureton, RD, LDN, registered dietitian at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research in Baltimore, Md.

“Multiple studies have shown that an exposure of 10 mg per day (equal to 1/8th of a tsp of flour) of gluten is a safe level for the majority of people with celiac disease.

“How does this translate into the total amount of food eaten in a day? If a gluten-free food has a contamination level of 20 ppm, a person could include up to one pound (16 oz or 448 grams) of those food products before the consumer reaches the safe level of 10 mg.

“Let’s look at some examples:

A slice of gluten-free bread is approximately 28 grams or 1 ounce. If the bread has a gluten level of 20 ppm, you have to eat 18 slices of bread to reach 10 mg (18  x 28  = 504 grams).

Rice cereal is 27 grams or approximately 1 ounce per cup, therefore you could eat 18.5 servings (27 x 18.5 = 499.5 grams).

Gluten-free pasta is 55 grams or approximately 2 ounces per ½ cup serving, therefore you could eat nine servings before reaching 10 mg of gluten (9 x 55 = 495).”

A daily total consumption of gluten-free food would look like this:

2 slices gluten-free bread57g / 2oz
2 cups rice cereal54g / 2oz
One 9″ personal gluten-free pizza175g / 6.25oz
30 gluten-free pretzels45g / 1.6oz
4 gluten-free cookies56g / 2oz
1 cup gluten-free pasta110g / 4oz
TOTAL497g / 17.75oz
497g = less than 10mg of gluten

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