European gluten-free thresholds are working to protect coeliacs, study finds

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

A threshold of 20ppm is producing 'very safe' foods for coeliacs
A threshold of 20ppm is producing 'very safe' foods for coeliacs

Related tags Gluten-free diet Coeliac disease

A maximum threshold of 20 mg of gluten contamination per kilogram of food marketed as gluten-free has been successful in protecting coeliac consumers in Europe, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The threshold for gluten-free foods was introduced across the EU on January 1, 2012, in an effort to reduce the cumulative effect of low-level gluten presence for those with coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder with symptoms triggered by gluten, the major protein found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt.

Under the legislation, foods can be labelled as ‘gluten-free’ if they contain less than 20 mg of gluten per kilogram, and can be labelled as ‘very low gluten’ if they contain less than 100 mg per kilogram.

The researchers behind this latest study measured gluten traces in gluten-free foods in four countries – Italy, Spain, Germany and Norway – and assessed the probability of adverse effects for people with coeliac disease (CD) consuming these products.

“Because a minimal degree of gluten contamination is difficult to avoid in the daily diet, the concept of a “daily tolerable intake” of gluten has received special attention,”​ they wrote. “According to recent systematic reviews, a daily intake of 10–50 mg gluten is unlikely to cause significant histologic abnormalities. First, this threshold should not be exceeded by the consumption of GF wheat substitutes specifically marketed for CD patients.”

They assessed 205 commercially available gluten-free foods, including pasta, bread and flour, and found that 99.5% of these contained less than 20 mg of gluten per kilogram. In addition, 94% had a concentration below the limit for quantification (5 mg/kg).

The researchers concluded that the risk of damage to the intestinal mucosa through consumption of gluten-free products was “very low”, even in the modelling of a worst-case scenario, at which the researchers calculated that 0.47% of those with coeliac disease could be at risk of an adverse reaction.


Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Published online ahead of print. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.047985​.

“Might gluten traces in wheat substitutes pose a risk in patients with celiac disease? A population-based probabilistic approach to risk estimation”

Anna Gibert, Astrid G Kruizinga, Susanna Neuhold, Geert F Houben, Miguel A Canela, Alessio Fasano, and Carlo Catassi

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The True Gluten Threshold Story

Posted by Tim Lawson,

This story is not based in medical fact only supposition or beliefs. There has been little to no testing with people in the US that have Celiac's Sprue. There are 4 types of Celiac's Disease. 1 Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, 2. Non-Refractory Celiac's Disease, 3. (RT1) Refractory Type 1 Celiac Sprue 4. (RT2) Refractory Type 2 Celiac Sprue. Within the US it is illegal to do medical testing on a person know that it is a life threatening illness and will cause death. Celiac's Disease is not an eating disorder. Its a life threatening Auto-Immune Disease. It is my belief from all the medical research and references I have done that Celiac's Disease is progressive in nature. The final Stage of the Celiac Journey is Refractory Type 2 Celiac Sprue. Once it gets to this stage the Auto-Immune response doesn't stop until all the mini-villi are gone in your GI track. At that point your organs will not get the nutrition needed to support your major organs and they will begin to shut down, slowly and painfully. I know since I have RT2 Celiac Sprue. According to the MAYO Clinic there is nothing that can be done for me now that the Celiac's Disease has become progressive. In my Company New Grains we do not accept any product to be tested above the current min. consistent standard of 5 ppm. This is the max sensitivity that can be consistently tested at this point. All our products were tested to be undetectable. which means they are all below 4-5 ppm. This is the only threshold that we as members of Celiac's Disease should ever accept. Refractory Type 2 Celiac's Sprue is 10 times more prevalent in Europe than in the US or Canada. The obvious reason is because Europe is slowly poisoning the people with Celiac's Disease every time they eat. It is the only logical conclusion. In addition until Jan 2012 Europe stated that the "SAFE THRESHOLD" is 100 ppm. Now they say 20 ppm. Let's all take a minute to call this what it is. A lie being perpetuated for Capital Gain. To guarantee that the New Grains products are below detectable levels of 4-5 ppm it costs more. If we here in the US allow off shore Manufacturers to flood our country with Gluten-Free products that are not truly Gluten-Free we will be accomplishing 2 things. 1st we will knowingly harm millions of our citizens that count on us to do the right thing and protect the integrity of the labeling process. 2nd we will directly challenge the basis of what this Great Country was founded on and how true quality control is accomplished,Free Enterprise. Don't sell out to international corporate interests that only care about the money they are making rather than the health and welfare of those that truly are suffering with this disease. For your consideration!

Timothy W. Lawson CEO/Founder
New Grains

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Over a long period of time --Still Damaging!

Posted by Gary Garfield,

I am Celiac, so how much gluten intake can our colon take before cancer or the removal of the colon is necessary?

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