Gluten-Free Certificat​ion Laws

Image Source: Gluten-Free Pittsburgh

“Gluten-Free” has become a bit of a buzz phrase in the last few years, owing to increased awareness of celiac disease and other types of gluten intolerance, along with savvy marketers looking to find a way to position their product. When it comes to labeling regulations, however, the classification starts to get a bit fuzzy. The FDA implemented a set of suggestions in September 2011 designed to restrict the use of the phrase “Gluten-Free” and its synonyms but as of yet there are  no concrete laws.

While gluten-conscious shoppers have been thrilled to see the abundance of options recently, some nutritionists and doctors are more wary. The website Celiac.com points to a number of areas of concern including cross-contamination and an unwillingness by some companies to participate in fair labeling. The federal suggestions maintain that a Gluten-Free product should have traces of gluten less than 20 parts per million, but testing is currently optional.

Until the FDA catches up to Australia, Canada, and the European Union it seems it’s best to carefully examine products using the Gluten-Free phrasing and refer to trusted sources.

Celery Mash: A Mashed Potatoes Alternative

Image Source: NourishNetwork.com

Source: Spark Recipes

Though this recipe comes to us via Spark Recipes, we were inspired by the absolutely outstanding Brooklyn restaurant Five Leaves, funded by the estate of the late actor Heath Ledger.

Celery mash is a gluten-free, healthier and much more fun spin on mashed potatoes, with only a few ingredients required.

INGREDIENTS (4 servings):

  • Approx. 1 lb of large celery root
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Dashes of salt & pepper

Peel your celery root and chop into one-inch cubes. Toss cubes I medium saucepan with water and boil for 10 minutes, or until they’re soft. Drain cubes and mash until smooth. Stir in your butter and season with dashes of salt and pepper to taste.

 

Gluten-Free in the News: Starbucks

 

Image Source: Starbucks.com

Looks like Starbucks stores in New York haven’t quite figured out how to cater to gluten-free folks, as they’ve recently discontinued selling their gluten-free orange Valencia cake after only three months of poor sales numbers. Though they’ve replaced the cake with the much healthier Kind Fruit + Nut Bars, not everyone seems to be pleased, especially with the somewhat abrupt yanking of the item. Previously in 2007, Starbucks had come under a little bit of fire for brownies of dubious origin they’d been marketing as gluten-free; they’ve since stopped selling those as well.

Though it’s great to see Starbucks catering to the gluten-free, we wish they wouldn’t have been so discouraged by the Valencia cake after such a short period of time, as options are certainly a welcome experience for those with strict dietary restrictions.

Sources: About.com, Celiac Disease & Gluten Free NYC: Story #1 and Story #2