I ate gluten tonight. Not on purpose. I'm now sitting here waiting for the inevitable consequences. And I'm feeling very mad right now, and it takes a lot to make my easy-going self this mad.
So how did it happen? Tonight I went to Target to buy some vitamins, the same vitamins I always buy because they are gluten free- Nature Made brand. They have always been good about labeling the top 10 allergens. I bought the chewable vitamin c.
I popped two in my mouth when I got home. I don't know what it was that gave me the feeling that I needed to go to their website to double check the gluten status of these vitamins, but I did. And what I saw made me very mad.
And this is why it made me mad
Notice how they take the time to label one of the other top allergens, Milk, in parenthesis in the ingredient listing. But they do not list GLUTEN in parenthesis behind the words "natural orange flavors," despite the fact their website makes it clear there is gluten in the flavoring. The FDA requires labeling of the top 10 allergens on food. So how did Nature Made get away with not labeling the gluten source, you ask?
Because only WHEAT is on the top 10 allergens list; none of the other sources of gluten are (barley, rye, oat, malt). So therefore, a company is not LEGALLY required to label the gluten source, unless it's wheat-based, although ethically and morally they should be.
This made me highly suspect of the other vitamins I bought tonight that I have not yet opened.
They labeled one of the other top allergens, SOY, but no mention of gluten.
So I ran straight to their website, too. And this is what I saw
People, I can't begin to tell you how difficult and frustrating it is to try to find safe food. For people like me with Celiac Disease, and for those others who have anaphylactic allergies to gluten, crap like this makes it almost impossible to decipher food labels. What are we supposed to do, carry our laptops to the store and check the FAQ section of each food's website before we make a purchase? We rely on the labeling, yet companies seem to always find ways around the FDA requirements. Those measures are in place to keep people like me safe.
I'm angry and I'm tired of crap like this. Companies should be required to tell us what major allergens are in our food, in plain language. Too many times I've been in the shopping aisles of a grocery store, on the phone with the 800# customer service rep for a food company, to find out if a food is safe for me to eat, because there isn't proper labeling. Only for so many of them to tell me that while they don't ADD gluten ingredients, they cannot guarantee what their raw materials suppliers use. WTF. Just an FYI, when you pick up a food item and it says GLUTEN FREE on it, that only means there aren't gluten ingredients added. It does not mean there is no gluten in it from cross contamination from machines. A gluten-free labeling still requires a call to customer service to check the cross-contamination risks, unless the product is labeled as CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE.
This diet and lifestyle isn't an option for me; it's the only management for a life-altering disease and my health pays a high price for non-adherence, even if it's accidental non-adherence.
Sorry for the rant, I'm feeling frustrated right now.