Way #34: Remember, It is OK to Politely Ask A Vendor or Manufacturer About the Ingredients of Her/His Product while one is choosing whether or not to buy.

  Since the Gluten-Free Labeling issue is NOT yet resolved with real power by U.S. A. policymakers, it is up to consumers to defend themselves and their loved ones from hidden sources of gluten in otherwise desirable products.  There have been international Standards since “In July 2008, the Codex Alimentarius Commission” made its decision.  The U.S.D.A. and the other agencies have hosted question and answer forums and welcomed proposals and clearly struggled with these issues.  It can be confusing as this Wikipedia entry demonstrates:

“Requirements for proper labeling are being formulated by the USDA. It is currently up to the manufacturers of “gluten free” food items to guarantee such a claim. “A final rule that defines the term gluten-free and identifies the criteria that would enable the food industry to use that term” is scheduled to be released by the FDA on August 2nd, 2008. Many so-called gluten free products have been found to have been contaminated with gluten (such as chicken bouillon, corn cereal, caramel ice cream topping.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten-free_diet

And still there are concerns, and more concerns from may concerned advocates.  As we are finding thanks to folks like Celiac Chicks, Gluten-Free Fraud is still possible and some are watching carefully.  As absurd as it may seem, some even feel that Gluten-Free Labelling Laws could cause a rise in Gluten-Free food prices.

   So it is still largely up to consumers such as you and me to handle this on our own. 

  As was noted in another set of suggestions, there are ingredients to watch out for that may indicate that the product contains Gluten.

  But what about at restaurants and places where there is no list of ingredients to read as one chooses?

  One can always ask prior to making each purchase.  But there are likely to be many many times when the server simply cannot tell you. Also, though this may be necessary at times, this can get very old.

  Another method is to watch for certain characteristics in the product that may indicate that it has gluten in it. This may not always work, but it can help to some degree.
  Things to watch for:

  • Soup and Sauce thickeners
  • Liquids of colors other than their natural color or clear
  • Fancy Vinegars and Salad Dressings containing Vinegar, Tomato or Mayonnaise 
  • Liquors and Beers
  • Stuffed Items
  • MSG, Soy Sauce, Tenderizers, and Condiments
  • Crusts on anything

  Certainly there are versions (some popular) of each of the above items that are made without Gluten. If that is the case, then simply ask the server, “What type of soy sauce do you use?” or whatever the product is. Then if it matches those you know to be gluten-free you are home free.

  Meantime, remember, it is perfectly fine to politely ask questions about that which you are about to put into your mouth and body. Isn’t it?

  There are some really super wonderful things about a Free-Market Economic System as is ideally found throughout the U.S.A.:

  1. I can choose NOT to buy from certain vendors, and
  2. A vendor can choose NOT to sell to me.

    Therefore, it is perfectly OK to Politely Ask A Vendor or Manufacturer About the Ingredients of Her/His Product When One Is Trying to Attain Gluten-Free Simplicity.