Last week Triumph Dining sent me a copy of their Gluten Free Grocery Guide.
Since moving to the US from the UK I’ve often wondered why there was no equivalent to the Coeliac UK Food and Drink Directory here in the States. It’s something I use constantly back home. The small book is the perfect size to keep with you at all times and it’s filled with information on products which are safe for celiacs. As the information is relevant for the whole country, it’s great for Â gluten free trips to Scotland, England and Wales.
I was pretty excited to check out Triumph Dining’s Grocery Guide. This is something that celiacs living in or travelling to the United States are very much in need of. In a country where there is currently no gluten free labelling legislation, it is difficult for celiacs to know which products are safe for them to eat. Some companies label products as ‘gluten free’ but what does this mean? Without a country wide legal definition of the term ‘gluten free’, gluten free consumers have no idea what they are getting. Products labelled as ‘glutenfree’ in Europe for example must contain less than 20ppm of gluten. In the US this is not the case. This is why this book is great. It helps gluten free consumers to make more informed choices regarding the products they are buying in stores throughout the US.
The Gluten Free Grocery Guide covers 30,000 products and is divided into colour coded sections such as ‘Dairy and eggs’, ‘Beverages’, ‘Canned and Packaged Foods’ and ‘Bread, Cereal, Pasta.’ to make it easy to find the type of product you’re looking for.
Most of the products in the book are those which the company reported to be gluten free but no further context was provided. This isn’t surprising due to the lack of gluten free labelling legislation in the US but consumers buying these products must be cautious and contact manufacturers for further information on what they mean when they say their product is gluten free.
Some of the products in the list have a symbol next to them meaning that some clarification has been given by the company on the product’s gluten free status and the first
page of the book includes a symbol summary explaining what these mean. In some cases procedures to mitigate cross contamination are in place, in others gluten testing has been performed. In very few cases the product has been made on a gluten free line or in a gluten free facility where there is no chance of cross contamination. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for more of these products in the near future.
This book is great. It enables celiacs and other folks required to follow a gluten free diet to make more informed choices when grocery shopping. It is unfortunate that a high percentage of the products included within this book provide no more clarification than the company reported they were gluten free but this is not the fault of the book’s writers who have done an amazing job, but rather the US companies themselves who are unwilling to provide further insight.Â If you’re living in or travelling to the US and you’re on a gluten free diet, this book is useful as a starting point in figuring out what’s safe for you to eat.