What Do You Mean By GlutenFree?

  • No Wheat!
  • Made in a GlutenFree Facility.
  • Made in a GlutenFree Facility that also processes nuts.
  • Made in a GlutenFree Facility that also processes grains.
  • Gluten Free.
  • No Wheat. Not Gluten Free.


So, you’ve noticed all the variants on all the packages….What does the CookieFed consider GF? Basically if they make a stab at it and label it GF and it doesn’t make us sick we’ll consider it GF. I can’t say that I have come across any GF labeled stuff that made me sick, but I have eaten a number of things that did not have any ingredients containing gluten that did make me sick (various cerials, frozen dishes, ice creams etc.).

But my favorite confusing label is the last one listed above. Why bother saying no wheat if you have the gluten? Are there really many people avoiding just wheat aside from Folk w/ celiac who are avoiding Gluten which years ago people commonly explained to be in Wheat, which everyone kinda recognizes as a pervasive ingredient. I’m just sayin’…


6 Responses

  1. bs”d

    Ahh. A fellow celiac. Well, I’m in the midst of tests. And on a high gluten diet, aka “gluten challenge.” Blech. (burp)

    My best guess as to the reason for a label
    “No Wheat. Not Gluten Free” as far as I can surmise anyway, is that some people have a wheat allergy, but have no problems with the gluten-like proteins in barley (hordeins), rye (secalins) and maybe oats, depending on who you talk to or what research your reading. They don’t process the product on equipment that is specifically free from those proteins.

    Someone who reacts to wheat as an allergy may have a sudden asthma attack, very itchy eyes, break out in hives or suffer from contact dermatitis. They may be able to save themselves in the case of an anaphylactic attack with an “Epi Pen” similar to when someone who is allergic to nuts or bee stings comes in contact with those allergens and suddenly has trouble breathing or feels their throat or lungs close down. The sensation is a cramping, painful sensation in the lungs and the throat can hurt too, but sometimes it’s very, very itchy. A closed down throat can sometimes be preceded by lots of coughing.

    The reactions in allergies, whether they be wheat or anything, come from a different mechanism in the immune system. An allergic reaction is an over-reaction by the immune system. Celiac disease is not an allergy to gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune response, akin to Juvenile diabetes, Addison’s disease, some thyroid diseases. The body doesn’t over-react. It attacks itself and damages it’s own tissue.

    Someone with celiac disease can also have a wheat allergy, or any allergy, of course.

    So, those people with an allergy to wheat, but not the other proteins from rye or barley would need to know that there is wheat in the product. The term “gluten” can be a kind of catch-all term for the proteins in wheat, barley and rye, even though botanically speaking, it is incorrect.

    Wheat allergies and celiac disease can be confused easily because some people mischaracterize celiac disease as an allergy, sometimes in order to avoid “over-explaining” their condition at restaurants etc. See this comment as an example of over-explaining.

    Hope I haven’t bored you.

    Ellie Katz

  2. Thanks Ellie for the post.

    Do you happen to know what sort of stats there are for people with just wheat allergies?

    In my dealings and talking with people over the last ten years I have found that people who start out thinkin’ wheat is the problem learn either that they have celiac or that they really don’t have a problem. Many folk seem to jump into the GF thing thinkin’ its a new diet or something for weight loss or fashion. Soon these folk learn how much work the GF life is and realize they don’t need to follow it…

    Good luck with your tests…mmm biopsy.

  3. Ellie, that was most informative! Now, if I can memorize it, or parts of it, it’ll help the ol’ communications.

  4. bs”d

    No I don’t know the stats. It’s tough to figure out food allergies. The tests for food allergies don’t seem to be as reliable as needed. I don’t know a lot about food allergies. I was just guessing as to why that last label would be on food. I know from what I’ve read on CD that wheat allergies are totally different than CD. IgE levels are tested instead of IgG and IgA. I may be saying that wrong. I think I understand CD better than immunology.

  5. […] frustrating, and apparently I am not the only one.   Cohort at Gluten Free Cookie Federation has shared thoughts on this very subject: So, you’ve noticed all the variants on all the packages….What does the CookieFed consider GF? […]

  6. bs”d

    A statistic just came to my attention via a CD listserv email I received today. This person has speculated that up to 75% of Americans are either CD, gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy. I am not clear on where this person arrives at this very high number…but it was somewhere in this person’s reading on the subject.

    According to a video I watched and have posted on my site, the epidemic of various problems with wheat probably man-made to a large degree, although there were probably always small numbers of people with a wheat intolerance or some sort/ allergies.

    We have, over thousands of years, the Romans having accelerated the process, selected strains of wheat that are higher and higher in gluten. Gluten and casein (milk) are some of the most difficult to digest proteins in our food supply. In fact, gluten simply isn’t totally digested by anyone.

    Additional to our selecting higher and higher gluten in wheat (it’s fluffier that way) we have, in the last hundred years or so, dramatically changed the way we grow, harvest, and store our grains, and the way we make bread. This all has a huge impact on the nutritional value and digestibility of said grains. For an indepth understanding of these changes and their impact, I recommend reading “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D and/or visiting http://www.westonaprice.org/. The principles put forth by Weston A. Price and carried forward by The Weston Price Foundation are based on solid research, not mere theorizing.

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