Gluten labeling of products in ethnic stores

Hello! I have been recently diagnosed with celiac disease, but I don’t suffer from intense symptoms or reaction to gluten. I believe I’m what is called a silent celiac. I’ve started to follow a gluten free diet, but because I don’t have strong reaction to gluten, I struggle to know if food/ingredients are contaminated with gluten. I normally buy products at ethnic shops because they have a lot of variety and tend to be cheaper. They have many naturally gluten-free flours produced in Asia, but of course they don’t state in the label that is gluten free. However, the same flour packed in the UK will have a label with allergen advice “Product is packed & produced in an environment that handles wheat, gluten, nuts, peanuts, mustard, sesame seeds & soya” and then states, “Applies in the UK only”. The way I read this is that the product may contain traces of gluten, and the allergen advice is to comply with UK regulations. I have contacted the producer but have received no response. I was wondering if you have any advice/recommendations or experience with products from ethnic shops. Thanks!

Lise svarer

Naturally gluten free products from ethnic shops, or any other shops for that matter, can be contaminated by gluten containing grains and may contain traces of gluten. If it is not tested and labelled, we really do not know. I Norway we have not tested these products, but they have done so in for example Italy – and found very little traces of gluten. Click here for link to an article you might find interresting. 

Contamination can happen in the fields, during harvesting and/or processing. Grains like oat and buckwheat are more prone to contamination from gluten containing grains than for example quinoa and amaranth, because oat and buckwheat are being cultivated in the same geographical areas as gluten containing grains. So, the chances that for example quinoa and amaranth are contaminated are small.

If you buy naturally gluten free products in supermarkets, health food stores or at online stores there are better chance to find the tested and labelled ones.