Warning: Communion bread contains gluten

I grew up Catholic and still go to church every Sunday with my family. I remember my father dragging me out of bed every Sunday to attend mass. Then afterwards, in the true Italian spirit, we would have a massive feast with extended family, heavy on the carbs, great time.

During mass, I was never a huge fan of everyone sipping out of the same wine goblet, always found that gross, but never thought of gluten in the communion bread, especially for those with Celiac disease.

The New York Times report:

The unleavened bread that Roman Catholics use in the celebration of Mass must contain some gluten, even if only a trace amount, according to a new Vatican directive.

The directive, which was dated June 15 but received significant attention only after it was reported by Vatican Radio on Saturday, affirms an existing policy. But it may help to relieve some of the confusion surrounding church doctrine on gluten, a protein that occurs naturally in wheat and has become the subject of debates over nutrition and regulation.

The issue is especially urgent for people with celiac disease, a gastrointestinal immune disorder that causes stomach pain, diarrhea and weight loss and that can lead to serious complications, or for those with other digestive conditions that make them vulnerable even to small amounts of gluten.

Many other people who do not have celiac disease may nonetheless have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, and yet others have adopted a gluten-free diet in the belief that it is healthier — although science is far from clear on this point.

In both the United States and the European Union, the description “gluten-free” can be legally applied to foods made with wheat starch from which almost, but not absolutely, all gluten has been removed — the upper limit is 20 parts per million. The Catholic church will allow bread of this kind to be used for communion.

But it will not allow truly gluten-free altar breads made with rice, potato, tapioca or other flours in place of wheat. (The Anglican Communion has taken a similar position, while some other Christian denominations consider such breads acceptable.)

Hucksters abound: orangoutangs and gluten instead of real food safety

I learned so much from Dr. Jonny Bower, PhD’s KCRA segment on food safety for grilling.

Like preserving orangoutang habitats. Marinade to stay safe from acrylamide. Protect against gluten. Use a proprietary blend of probiotics. Add lots of spices.Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.46.38 PM

Too bad the good doctor didn’t mix in a thermometer. Or talk about cross-contamination.

I couldn’t get the video to embed, check out the full segment here.

Know where food comes from

Traceability was a popular topic when I started working for Doug last summer, with the Salmonella-linked-to-tomatoes-or-was-it-peppers outbreak. The current peanut butter-linked outbreak follows the same trends as the list of recalled products is on the rise. As a consumer, I wonder: do producers know their suppliers and where their food is coming from?

The FDA warned consumers to postpone consumption of anything containing peanut butter or peanut butter paste. This is where labeling becomes important. Not only should consumers read labels, they also need some assurance that labels are accurate.

A woman suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating a parfait in a Canadian Starbucks last week. She purchased the parfait after an employee assured the dessert was nut-free. The ingredients list also failed to mention nuts. I am pretty sure this woman will have a hard time trusting labels after this.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease a few weeks ago and I know how this feels. I have to avoid products containing gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale.

Gluten can also be found as a food additive in the form of flavoring, or as stabilizing or thickening agent. In such cases, producers are not required to include the protein on the label because it is classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA. There is also no official definition as to what constitutes a gluten-free product, so celiacs like me are recommended to buy products from trusted sources.

That Canadian Starbucks is not a trusted source.

Whether it’s because of food allergies, intolerance to gluten, or salmonella, food processors need to be aware of where their products come from and what they contain.