Are we eating what we think we're eating? According to a new study conducted by Gluten Free Watchdog, some products that say they're gluten-free may still have small amounts of gluten in them.
This should frighten anyone who is on a gluten-free diet either out of personal choice or because they have to.
"In our research, the use of an allergen advisory statement for wheat on products not labeled gluten-free but appearing to be free of gluten-containing ingredients was not a useful predictor of gluten content," said lead study author Tricia Thompson, founder of Gluten Free Watchdog, according to Reuters.
To conduct the study, researchers tested 100 U.S.-sold foods, most of which (87 to be exact) didn't have gluten, but were not labeled as such by the food manufacturers. Therefore, many consumers may have assumed it was gluten-free.
Of the 87 food products that didn't have gluten-free labels, researchers found gluten in 15 percent of the items.
"Allergen advisory statements are voluntary and not currently defined by any federal regulations," Thompson said. "Some manufacturers use these statements to alert consumers to processing practices that may result in cross contact with allergens; many manufacturers do not."
In the U.S., a food labeling revolution is currently taking place. The federal government has required food manufacturers to make their labels more consumer-friendly. How this will be done is still up in the air at the moment, but the new labels will provide consumers with much more in-depth knowledge about the food they're eating.
For the moment, however, this study should concern gluten-free people. As a food manufacturer, it's important to be transparent about whether or not your products could contain possible allergens.