I just got back from King Soopers and arrived home with a gluten free item that was new to me; a soup from Kettle Cuisine. I always come home from shopping hungry, so as I was unpacking the groceries, I popped the Organic Mushroom and Potato Soup in the microwave for 4 minutes. Then I re-read the packaging just to be totally sure I was safe from gluten contamination. And there it was, the dreaded disclaimer about it being processed in a shared kitchen. My heart sank. I recently was contaminated from a “gluten free” item from a shared kitchen and DID NOT want to repeat that experience. Then I decided to look it up online and was so happy to discover FAQ # 9:
How do you ensure that your gluten free soups are really gluten free?
“All of our gluten free soups are cooked in our USDA inspected kitchen in Chelsea, Massachusetts. We have instituted strict cooking procedures so that all of these soups are safe to eat for those with gluten allergies and intolerances. We carefully segregate cooking of all gluten free soups and only begin cooking soups containing gluten once gluten free cooking is complete. In addition, we test every batch for less than 5 parts of gluten per million, which is well below the FDA’s proposal for 20 parts per million. As a result of these practices, we are proud to be officially certified as a gluten free manufacturer by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO).”
I heard the microwave ding and I was delighted that I was going to able to eat my lunch! I trust the CSA’s certification the most which I believe tests for less than 3 ppm gluten, and can guarantee 5ppm, so I think I can handle 5 . . . hopefully! The soup was delicious and I wish I had bought more. I will stock up next time.
As I finished off the last bit of soup I started to reflect on the latest celiac question that I am struggling with: How much gluten is ok? For celiacs the answer is simple; none!! BUT, (isn’t there always a but?) how many celiacs still eat food items with a few parts per million at least, I suspect a lot!! Most food labeled gluten-free have trace amounts of gluten even if they are certified. Each certification allows different amounts of gluten to be present. I start to wonder where I should draw the line . . . I try to eat foods that are naturally gluten free or are from dedicated facilities (my local favorite is Sweet Escape Pastries in Longmont) as much as possible, but that is proving more difficult than I had thought.
More on this later . . . just some food for thought.
*For those of you that are in Longmont, I found it at the Kingsooper on South Hover in the freezer section.