Most of us have heard the term “catfish” by now. It is the act of deceiving someone, most publicly displayed through the Manti Te’o scandal, as well as MTV’s hit show Catfish. But, if you think about it, this type of deception occurs through many forms, not just romantic relationships.
I’m confident that we’ve all be catfished at one point along our gluten-free journey. I was the victim of a catfish just six months ago. Luckily I figured out the deception a millisecond before consumption, preventing myself from being glutened. But, if I find myself less than a second away from gluten-free deception even after I have been continually educated for nearly four years, how can the gluten-free newbie steer clear of the catfish products?!
I think the below tips can help anyone on the gluten-free diet be sure to choose a product that is indeed safe:
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Finding a new gluten-free product can be very exciting, but not all products are what they seem. A product may claim to be safe for a celiac or gluten-sensitive individual on the front of the package, but after further inspection you may find something completely different. There have been plenty of times when I’ve purchased, opened, and even consumed snacks that clearly stated “gluten-free” on the packaging, only to then read a statement on the back that puts me in panic mode – “Processed on equipment that also processes wheat,” one of the most underrated phrases in the food industry. All I hear are sirens going off in my head and an immediate feeling of regret.
An easy way to solve this problem is to make sure the production process is safe, even if a product claims to be gluten-free on the packaging.
Find the bolded letters
The bolded letters on the ingredients label have saved me more times than I can count. This required allergy statement on the label is where the consumer will find the eight major allergens listed if the product contains them. A quick check of this statement will let you know whether or not the product contains wheat, as it is one of the major allergens. The other allergens you may find in this statement include milk, egg, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soybeans.
Train your eyes to focus in on these bolded letters. If you don’t see contains wheat ingredients on the label, you are one step closer to the gluten-free safety zone.
Never let your guard down
Production processes change for companies so you can never be sure that the product you have had in the past is still safe. Whether it is a third party distributor that doesn’t have a gluten-free facility, or a component of the production process changes, you always have to be on your toes. Unless the product has a certified gluten-free seal, it’s up to you to ensure your own safety.
You have to have your own back when it comes to gluten-free products because certain companies do not put an emphasis on safe, gluten-free production.
We can only hope that in the future companies will not act as catfish with false claims, but until then we have the responsibility of conducting our own investigations. Don’t fall victim when your health is at stake.
What is your method of ensuring products are indeed gluten-free and safe for consumption?
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products,restaurants, and writes aboutgluten-free experiences on her blog, www.gfreelaura.com.Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a Guest Blogger for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, writing bi-weekly reviews on the Gluten-Free Hot Products Blog. Visit Laura onFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +