Friday, July 29, 2011

Article in Number 2/11 of Gluten Free Living Raises Serious Concerns

Article entitled “7 Reasons Why a Farmer’s Market Is a GF Paradise” is misleading and greatly concerns me. Trusting people new to the gluten free scene or those without my educational background can easily be falsely led into innocently believing that all products sold at farmer’s markets are free of gluten or wheat. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and here is why.

Although farmer’s markets are wonderful sources for fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked or prepared food products sold by individual vendors just may not be such a good idea for those eating gluten free. With no regulations or oversight into how or where goods such as soups, sauces and more are produced and labeling non-existent, unsuspecting consumers looking for something prepared to feed their gluten intolerant family can be easy prey for folks looking to boost their profits by diversifying their offerings to include homemade goods.

Cross contamination during the food preparation process is (or should be) a major concern for the gluten intolerant. Consumers have no way on knowing what precautions are taken to ensure cross contamination did not occur. Even if the person making the dish included no wheat, they most likely do not know of hidden wheat sources, such as soy sauce, cream soups, etc.
When you run across cooked food items at a farmer’s market, here is a list of questions to ask:
1. What are the ingredients?
2. What is the origin of the ingredients?
3. Were the items prepared in a health department approved and inspected facility?

4. Were the items prepared in a kitchen that also prepares products containing wheat, oats, barley or rye?
5. If the products were prepared in a facility that also prepares products containing wheat, oats, barley or rye, ask what precautions are in place to guard against cross contamination?

When protecting the health of loved ones, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and read carefully all labels available. Keep in mind that no one will protect your loved ones the way you do. They are depending on you.

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