What is the difference between “gluten-free” and void of gluten-containing ingredients?

In the world of food service, the difference between products with a “gluten-free” claim or certification, or that are void of gluten-containing ingredients can be confusing. What is the difference, and why does it matter?

What is a “gluten-free” claim?

Foods allowed to carry a gluten-free claim have been specially processed or formulated to meet the needs of individuals following a gluten-free diet for health reasons, including people who suffer from celiac disease. In other words, foods bearing a “gluten-free” claim have been prepared with good manufacturing practices to avoid potential cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients (below the safe threshold of 20ppm).

What is the “gluten-free” certification?

The Canadian Celiac Association designed the Gluten-Free Certification Program to differentiate manufacturers of gluten-free foods and other products from the increasing amount of gluten-free claims in the marketplace. This certification adds a layer of safety and assurance with its foundation based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems, addressing gluten as a potential hazard. A qualified, trained, and approved third-party auditor ensures compliance on an annual basis. When you serve foods bearing the Canadian Celiac Association “gluten-free” certification logo to celiac guests, you can be ensured that these foods are both safe and gluten-free.

LUDA offers an extensive array of gluten-free certified products, from our classic soup bases to our rich gravies in addition to our exotic Boosters. New and tasty gluten-free products are continuously being added to our list. Click here for a complete list of our certified gluten-free products.

Void of gluten-containing ingredients

A food product or a recipe that is void of gluten-containing ingredients may or may not be safe for celiac guests. To assure safety, steps must be taken to avoid any potential cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients where the food is manufactured, packaged, and prepared. In your kitchen, you can avoid cross-contamination by ensuring that the counter space, utensils, and tools you use to prepare gluten-free foods are freshly washed and free from crumbs or flour. See below for more resources on how to avoid cross-contamination in your kitchen.

Why “gluten-free” matters

According to a rough estimate from the Canadian Celiac Association, there are about 1 in 133 Canadians who suffer from celiac disease. This medical condition is characterized by the damage caused to the small intestine by gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and any foods that contain these grains. This damage results in a poor absorption of nutrients that are essential to a good health and the optimal function of the body. To date, the only effective treatment is the strict adherence to a gluten-free diet for life. The statistic stated above does not take into account the number of Canadians who suffer from other gluten-related disorders (i.e., dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia, wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity) and feel better when on a gluten-free diet.

Offering gluten-free menu options makes your food service accessible to a greater range of guests and could increase your sales. Furthermore, taking preventive measures to avoid cross-contamination protects the health of your clientele and increases their satisfaction. Guests who suffer from celiac disease will likely opt for food service establishments with gluten free options when they go out with their friends and family, which means that adding gluten-free options on your menu also makes you appealing to the entourage of people who suffer from celiac disease.

Gluten Free Menu Solutions

  • Hungarian Style Stew
  • Asian Soup
  • Lentil Soup with a Kick
  • Moroccan Baked Eggs
  • Brazilian Fish Stew
  • Corn Salsa
  • Roasted Breakfast Potatoes
  • Moroccan Chicken
  • Sweet Potato Soup
  • Potato and Sundried Tomato Frittata with Italian Hollandaise

Resources:

We love hearing from you, let us know what you think of this article!

Marilyne Petitclerc, P.Dt.
Culinary Marketing Specialist at LUDA Foods

References

Canadian Celiac Association (2016), https://www.celiac.ca/ [page viewed on November 28, 2016]

Health Canada (2012), http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/cel-coe/gluten-position-eng.php#a4 [page viewed on November 28, 2016]

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