There are many naturally gluten-free grains including, but not limited to, rice, corn, millet, buckwheat and sorghum. Oats can be grown to be gluten-free, but only when great care is taken to properly prepare the soil where it’s planted. Also the storage and transport methods used for the harvested oats matter when it comes to keeping the oats truly gluten-free. Since commercially produced oats usually contain gluten due to the growing, storage and transport methods associated with them, they were not considered safe for those on a gluten-free diet for health reasons.
Just this week, celiac nutritionist Tricia Thompson posted some disturbing news on the the celiac listerv. She and several other researchers did a study on naturally gluten-free grains and found that several of them actually contained more gluten than is considered safe for people who can’t tolerate the protein. Below are the findings in the study. Obviously, the findings indicate that we need to be looking for gluten-free labels on such products. That might be easier said than done.
Excerpt from the diet.com website:
- Millet flour/305
- Millet flour/327
- Millet grain/14
- Millet grain/25
- White rice flour/8.5
- Buckwheat flour/65
- Sorghum flour/234
- Soy flour/2,925
- Soy flour/92
Since we usually buy mixes from companies that test and certify their gluten-free products, this news won’t affect us much. However, I know that many people prefer to buy a zillion different flours in order to bake gluten-free foods. I think this unsettling news about these naturally gluten-free grains being contaminated with gluten might be enough to change a few peoples’ minds about what they purchase for their gluten-free baking needs.
Bob’s Red Mill makes many gluten-free flours and several years ago suggested that people that can’t consume gluten only buy their certified gluten-free products. Instead of buying their rice flour from the normal line, the company wanted people to buy rice flour that carries their gluten-free label. Now that policy makes perfect sense. Obviously, the company didn’t want people to get sick and their policy was not about them making more money off people – it was about them trying to protect the health of their customers.
Before anyone panics and throws out perfectly safe products, consider this. If you buy items from companies like Gluten Free Naturals, Gluten-Free Pantry, 123 Gluten Free, Jules Gluten Free and many other trusted brands – there is no reason for concern. Those companies all test their products routinely to ensure the flours they use to blend their products are perfectly safe for us to consume. Therefore, is you have a product at home that contains soy or millet flour (or any of the above listed flours), and the product carries a gluten-free certification label – they are considered truly gluten-free.
This news about contaminated grains does mean however, that people who love buying rice flour for only $.99 a bag from their local Asian food store might want to rethink that type of purchase. There seems to be good reason for people to spend the extra money on truly safe products. My guess is that if people switch to buying only tested and truly safe flours, the cost effectiveness factor of making their own flours will go out the window. This news makes me really glad that I’m such a lazy baker. Give me a certified gluten-free mix I can add eggs and canola oil to and I’m good to go!