I was reading an article today on Apple News on old wives tales regarding health. One of them was not exactly “old”.
There are dozens of foods being labeled as gluten free every single day, even if they wouldn’t even contain gluten in the first place-deli turkey, for instance, sometimes has a gluten-free label on it!”
This article was written by a “health writer”. I am thinking that she has never been gluten free.
Granted, there are foods labeled gluten free that never contained gluten so that the companies that make them can cash in on the gluten-free craze. However, not all lunch meat is gluten free. Yes, it is becoming more common for companies to remove gluten-containing ingredients, such as fillers, but not all have done so. It is also becoming more common for those companies to list allergens on their labels, but assuming something does not contain gluten, or another allergen, can be hazardous to your health. It can even be deadly.
The assumption that “turkey deli meat” does not contain gluten coming from a “health writer” makes me very angry. It makes me angry because people who are newly diagnosed with celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, might assume she knows what she is talking about. They won’t know how to read labels or what to look for. And they will get sick. And it makes me sick just thinking about it.
I write this blog to educate those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease on what to look for and how to find safe foods. Hidden gluten is everywhere. It might lurk in things you would never think it would. Like potato salad. Yes, deli potato salad can have wheat in it. So can turkey deli meat.
I decided to Google “deli turkey meat gluten free”. I found this article on the site glutenfreeliving:
Myth: cold cuts contain gluten because most companies use fillers
We can’t say outright that cold cuts are gluten free, but we have reviewed numerous lunch meat labels and found very few with any ingredients with the potential to contain gluten. The other complication is that meats are regulated by the USDA and are not required to follow Food and Drug Administration allergen or gluten-free labeling laws. Plain meats are gluten free, but lunch meats can contain other ingredients so they don’t fall into that category. Despite not being required to follow allergen labeling laws, the USDA says about 90 percent of companies do so voluntarily, calling out wheat when it’s used.
But like all foods, you have to know what’s in lunch meat — not always an easy a task at the deli counter. Fortunately, the growth of the gluten-free market has caused lunch meat makers to realize their products are already gluten free and label them as such.
Thumann’s is certified by the GIG. Boar’s Head has 500 gluten-free meats, cheeses and condiments. Esskay, Applegate Farms, Carl Buddig and Kroger products are gluten free. Hormel, which also makes Jennie-O Turkey store meats, has a long list of gluten-free products. In case you think only higher-end grocery stores sell gluten-free lunch meats, Di Lusso Deli products, sold in Wal-Mart grocery stores, are also gluten free and BJ’s Wellshire Farms brand includes many gluten-free options. When we researched deli meats, we found that whole lines of products were gluten free. Two Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh products that did contain gluten have been discontinued. All Kunzler products except Ham Loaf and Macaroni and Cheese Loaf are gluten free.
At least they say “we can’t say outright” but again, it is not a “myth”.
So what can you do to avoid hidden gluten at the deli counter?
- I say it all the time, and I will say it again: ALWAYS READ LABELS!!!!!!!
- avoid getting fresh sliced deli meats at the deli counter. The person behind the counter will probably not know what is in them. Buy pre-packaged if you can
- Avoid deli salads. Again, the person behind the counter will probably not know what is in them. A recent encounter at a fast food chicken place proved this. The lady behind the counter didn’t know that butter has dairy in it
- Use Google to your advantage. The internet is a great thing. Most companies list ingredients under nutrition information.
- If you can’t find the ingredients in a product, try to contact the company. Most times they will be very helpful. You might even score coupons!
- If you are not sure if a food is safe-DON’T EAT IT!!!
Lastly and most importantly, don’t believe so-called experts. Even myself. Always do your home