Saturday, May 19, 2007

Gluten Poisoned

I may not have mentioned it on here before, but I do not eat gluten. That makes life difficult for me - I cannot eat out at restaurants and I have to cook all my own food, despite not being a very good cook. Because I always live with (messy) people, I usually get gluten contaminations anyway. The result is that I am constantly sick - that's no exaggeration. You can't really understand what it's like to be severely gluten intolerant unless you are gluten intolerant. However, some days are worse than others, and it can take weeks to recover from the damage of one bad day.

Today I went to an organic supermarket which claims to cater to gluten-free people and had a meal. There were signs proclaiming "wheat-free", but the problem is that I, like all wheat-allergic people, am allergic to wheat, rye, barley, and oats. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 really fuckin' ignored the people who were allergic to wheat. It's really astonishing, and it would be so easy for food manufacturers to put down whether there is any gluten containing ingredients.

For some reason they abstained from that in order to clarify the rules on labeling products "gluten-free." The problem with labeling something gluten-free is that it is very expensive to test, and nearly everything has some amount of gluten in it. The rest of the world fixes this by having two standards: one stating that there is "less than a certain amount of parts per million" (Codex is 200, Canada is 20, ect) and one for products which have zero gluten (I think). The FDA is looking to allow producers to label their products as gluten free if they have "less than 20 parts per million."

That dishonesty sickens me. It should be criminal to label your items as gluten free if they are not assuredly gluten free. But I suppose that should just remind me not to ever eat out or buy packaged foods. (Although I do like this authentic little Mexican place down the street from my house - real soft corn tortillas! I can't even buy those things in the supermarket!)

Today I was glutenated by either that deli meal (a wok bowl made with "wheat-free sauce"), the trail mix that I bought, or somehow the mashed potatoes, rice, crab, and applesauce I had for dinner. Ugh.

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