By Susi Kraemer-Berkman, NOW QC
The use of wheat flour and gluten in foodstuffs is extremely common because of their heat stability and useful effects on texture, moisture retention and flavor. Gluten is a mixture of prolamin and glutelin proteins present in wheat, rye, and barley.
Celiac disease is a permanent intolerance to gluten that results in damage to the small intestine that is reversible when gluten is avoided in the diet. NOW carries many gluten-free products for those individuals who have special dietary concerns associated with foods that contain gluten. In fact, most NOW products are made from gluten-free ingredients.
In 2007, FDA proposed to allow manufacturers to label a food “gluten-free” if the food does not contain any of the following:
- an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
- an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
- an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten
- 20 ppm or more gluten
NOW products labeled as gluten-free meet or exceed these standards. Additionally, NOW products identified as being gluten-free as well as a few that contain gluten were blind tested. A sandwich enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) method was used to identify the presence of gliadin, which is a prolamin of wheat. Prolamins are defined as the fraction from gluten that can be extracted by 40 – 70% ethanol.
The tests showed that wheatgrass and barley grass products tested positive for the presence of gluten. On the other hand, the products that were known to be gluten-free met the FDA Standards for Gluten Free (less than 20ppm), including Gluten Digest™.
This confirms that these products, which include Stevia Extract Packets
, Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
, Raw Energy Nut Mix
, Organic Flax Seed Meal
, Chlorophyll Liquid
, Spirulinia Powder
Grown in the USA, D-Flame™
, Tapioca Flour
, Guar Gum Powder
, All Purpose Flour- Gluten Free
, Alfalfa Juice Powder
, Xylitol Pure
, Kelp Powder Pure
have been confirmed in sensitive tests to be gluten-free and safe for consumption by individuals with gluten intolerance.
The results also validate our cleaning procedures, since at NOW Foods we sometimes use the same equipment to manufacture different products. Strict cleaning procedures ensure that there is no cross-contamination between products, which protects gluten-intolerant individuals from unintentional cross-contamination.