Health and Science
Fri September 28, 2012
Expo for Gluten Free Products
Groups representing those with celiac disease have pushed for "gluten-free" labelling on food for years. The FDA is currently finalizing such rules. Foods made without the wheat protein are becoming more common. A product show in West Bend Saturday, September 29th will feature some of them.
Gluten free products used to be limited to specialty stores in urban areas. Julianne Karow of Minocqua remembers when her husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease five years ago. He could no longer eat proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. "Being in a small community we were not aware of the products he could enjoy. So, we looked around and didn't find many options, so we decided to put an expo together."
Last year, the Gluten Free Expo in Washington County Fair Park she organized drew 750 people from five Midwestern states. Karow says there are an increasing number of products for those who have food allergies. "The grocery stores just in the last couple of years have just blossomed in to carrying the gluten-free, the soy-free, the dairy-free, the nut-free, all the products that are needed by a large amount the community."
One percent of the Americans are diagnosed with Celiac disease. Others who have never been tested consider themselves gluten intolerant; and some just want to avoid gluten under the belief it will help them lose weight. Many manufacturers have sought to capitalize on this growing market by offering gluten free products.
Dr. Alessio Fasano points out that there are no federal standards in place yet. Fasano heads the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. "Now this is the draw of the luck at this point because it all depends on the voluntarily compliance to the gluten-free guidelines from the [food] industry."
He says global companies have to comply with gluten-free standards in other countries so they are more likely to be safe for those with Celiac disease to consume.