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USA Today reports that a new study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology suggests that 32 percent of restaurant foods labeled as being gluten-free actually contain gluten.

Among the items contained in the study:

• “The worst offenders were pizza and pasta, with gluten found in 53.2% of pizza samples and 50.8% of the pasta tested.”

• “The detection rate was higher at dinner, 34%, than at breakfast, 27.2%.”

• “Restaurant foods labeled gluten-free, or GF, were less likely to test positive for gluten in the western part of the U.S. than in the Northeast.”

• “Restaurants identified as fast-casual (no table service, higher quality food than traditional fast-food eateries) and casual (with table service) had lower detection rates than fast-food places.”

USA Today writes that “eating gluten, a protein found in some grains, is dangerous for some people, while for others with gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, doing so causes a range of painful and embarrassing consequences. Symptoms include abdominal bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, fatigue and gas.”
KC's View:
If I needed to avoid gluten, this would be a really scary story … because it speaks to the fact that we often cannot trust the information about our food that we are given.

My only problem with this study is that it didn’t name names - the goal seemed to be consciousness-raising rather than alarm-sounding. Maybe it is because of the business I am in, but I think a little alarm-sounding is absolutely called for.

By the way, this study shouldn’t be viewed narrowly. While it specifically is about gluten and restaurants, it adds to the perception that a lot of people have that we cannot trust institutions that we used to be able to trust.