Gluten-Free Manufacturing: Myths and Facts Final

Written by Glen Call

December 9, 2020

When you jump into the world of manufacturing gluten-free products, it can be a bit overwhelming. Celiac disease affects 1% of the population, but many others have an intolerance to gluten. This means it affects entire households, restaurants, and foodservice. It should be taken seriously because gluten can cause serious health issues However, there are false reports and speculation when it comes to gluten-free manufacturing. As a company with a dedicated gluten-free facility, 11 years of experience, and a family that suffers from celiac disease, we took it upon ourselves to set the record straight. Here are the biggest myths and facts when it comes to manufacturing gluten-free.

Myth #1: Gluten-free products are harder to manufacture

Gluten-free products are not harder to make. The same processes are used whether you’re making products with or without gluten. The biggest difficulty is in keeping your product gluten-free. This is why many manufacturers and co-packers have dedicated gluten-free facilities. A dedicated gluten-free facility eliminates the risk of cross-contamination and ensures your products will not contain gluten. You can make those same products in a facility that isn’t dedicated gluten-free, but you need extensive cleaning between runs to ensure the facility and equipment are completely absent of any particles containing gluten. That takes a lot of time and effort, which means less time for equipment to be profitable by making products. For this reason, dedicated gluten-free facilities are in high demand. 

Myth #2: Gluten-free products can’t taste good

This is certainly a myth and one we like disproving. There are many gluten-free products out there that you wouldn’t even know were gluten-free unless you looked at the label. There are dozens of options for flours and other ingredients that can take the place of gluten-containing ingredients that will produce an amazing product consumers will love. If you’re making a gluten-free product, keep experimenting with different flour combinations to get the right consistency. Look for gums to help with elasticity and texture. And if you feel like you’re stuck, there are resources for getting you to the best product your customers will love.

Fact #1: Some gluten-free products can still contain gluten

This one is unfortunately true. The FDA requires that when testing for gluten, testing only be done with a maximum of 20ppm. This means that some “gluten-free” products may still contain gluten in them. For those with more sensitivity to gluten, that’s a big deal. It’s one of the reasons we use GlutenTox testing. GlutenTox can test for 5-10ppm, making it much safer for those who are more sensitive to gluten.

Fact #2: Gluten-free manufacturing requires more diligence.

This one is true. When you’re protecting a subset of the population that can have dangerous side effects when consuming gluten, getting everything right to keep gluten out of your products is crucial. It starts with the sourcing of ingredients, manufacturing to reduce cross-contamination through cleaning equipment and keeping ingredients in designated areas, and ensuring that products don’t come in contact with gluten through the packaging process. There are a lot of checks and verifications to ensure products stay gluten-free.

Gluten-free manufacturing is still improving

No matter whether you’re just starting or you’ve been doing it for a while, there’s always more to know to make your gluten-free manufacturing successful. By staying up to date on the latest practices, you’ll ensure your products taste great while protecting your customers from gluten contamination.

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