One of my readers sent me this article (The Cross Contamination Myth Buster by Dimitrios Douros) and boy did it make our blood boil. It was originally published in 2014 but was reposted yesterday, and some Celiacs online are responding positively to it. I urge you to read it and while doing so know that it is 100% bull****.
A look at just a few of the MANY issues that I had with this article:
- He claims that we should be able to wash gluten off of any surface because proper washing can get rid of bacteria such as e. coli and salmonella.
Gluten is not bacteria. It has different properties. Gluten has a very odd sticky texture that is notoriously difficult to get rid of, especially on porous materials or equipment like colanders that are difficult to clean anyway.
- Using “first grade arithmetic” Douros has attempted to calculate the number of mg of gluten that may be left behind on a washed wooden spoon and the amount of flour in the air that might land on a pizza. He then claims that a once-glutened-then-cleaned wooden spoon and airborne flour would still make any affected food test to less than 20ppm.
How does he know how much flour this is? Has he measured what 1/5 of a grain of wheat looks like? This is a very complex, truly scientific topic that needs thorough laboratory testing done. What is his source? Can that source be trusted? I know many people who get sick from both of these things, and those migraines, stomach aches, and trips to the bathroom are not figments of their imagination.
- In reference to gluten free products that claim to be produced on the same equipment as wheat – “The only chance of cross-contamination is in the first few batches of the product to go through the line, batches that most, if not all, manufacturers test and discard if found to be cross-contaminated.”
Haha, that’s funny. Most manufacturers test for gluten? NOT A CHANCE! I talk with many companies that claim their products are gluten free, are made on shared equipment, and they DO NOT TEST AT ALL. Many other companies simply do not care because they are not targeting the Celiac market, so no, they will not discard products that they find perfect acceptable. They have a warning label on the package to cover their butts
- “You ask for your salad without the gluten item. And wouldn’t you know it when the salad comes you see a big pita wedge right on top!….I will remove the pita or pick around the croutons and eat the salad without a worry about getting ‘glutened’….During baking, the gluten is completely bound up in that pita or in the croutons—it is not going to come loose just to contaminate me.”
Okay NOW he claims that gluten is sticky??? This is when I wanted to throw my computer across the room. This is Celiac Disease 101. Gluten is completely bound up in the pita? Crumbs don’t fall off? Here’s an idea – take a paint brush, dip it in red paint. I’ll tell you that the paint is completely bound up in the paint brush, so swiping that brush all across your face won’t do a thing. Go ahead. Try it.
This guy should also watch my video “What is 20ppm?” to see how little it takes to cross contaminate a food.
It is 100% IRRESPONSIBLE, DANGEROUS, and DAMAGING to the Celiac community to tell them that cross contamination isn’t a big deal, that it’s okay to pick croutons off a salad, that all manufacturers have high quality cleaning practices and test their products.
We all have different sensitivity levels when it comes to outward symptoms. However, I know many many Celiacs who react to less than 20ppm. Shared utensils, flour in the air, croutons in salads – all of these things have made many of us sick. This guy doesn’t seem to be that sensitive. He is not a myth buster. He is writing about his sensitivity in the gluten free world. He does not represent us as a whole and should not be publishing an article like this claiming that he does.
Some Celiacs out there will read this article and trust it because they want it to be true. They want life to be easier. And then they will go to a restaurant and tell their friends and the waiter that cross contamination isn’t a big deal. And that hurts all of us. That creates more people who will tell me that I’m crazy or overreacting, when in reality I’m right and desperately trying not to get sick. This article and its assumptions are insulting to the Celiac community.