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Gluten-Free Cracker Causes Stomach Upset

April 12, 2011

Question:

I recently ate some crackers that were labeled gluten-free, but I became violently ill. I vomited and had diarrhea. This was the most sick I have ever become from inadvertently eating gluten. The packaging said the crackers contained millet, which I have read is gluten-free. Any thoughts?

From,

Cynthia

Answer:

Hi Cynthia. Millet is a gluten-free grain, but it could have become cross contaminated with gluten during the growing, transporting or manufacturing process.  I’m not sure what the manufacturing processes are of the product you ate, but if the product wasn’t produced in a dedicated facility or tested for gluten amounts, there is the possibility you ate a product tainted with gluten.

A recent study was published that tested gluten-free grains to see if had become cross contaminated and contained gluten. The study found several samples of gluten-free grains that did contain gluten levels above the 20 parts per million standard proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Keeping this study in mind, it is a good idea to purchase products from manufacturers that test their products for gluten levels, so you know that what you are eating is safe.  Products that carry a certified gluten-free label from a certifying organization can be trusted, as well as products where the manufacturer states that they test their products and/or manufacture in a gluten-free facility, meaning no gluten-containing ingredients enter the facility.

If the product you ate was certified gluten-free and/or the manufacturer was sure of its safety, there is the possibility you reacted to another ingredient in the product. It is a good idea to write down all of the ingredients in the product you got sick from, so if you get sick again in the future you can see if there were any similar ingredients in the products.

Sincerely,

Rachel Begun, MS, RD



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