I received a note that's worth sharing with all of you. In my article "How Much Gluten Is Too Much?" I explain that even bread labeled gluten-free has a small amount of gluten in it. In most parts of the world, regulations say that to be labeled gluten-free, a product can contain up to 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten (equivalent to about 20 mg per kilo).
Here's where a reader -- registered dietitian Nanna Mossberg from the Scandinavian gluten-free bread company Fria Bröd AB -- pointed out an important fact. I had written that based on the 20 ppm limit, a slice of gluten-free bread contains slightly more than ½ milligram of gluten. Nanna says:
As I work for a company that produces gluten free bread I would like to let you know how we in the industry of gluten free foods think in this matter...
We (Fria) guarantee that our products (bread) do not contain more than 20 ppm gluten (20 mg/kg). If the assumption then is that the bread actually contains 20 ppm, then it is correct that a slice of bread would contain a little over ½ mg of gluten. But we would never dare to have a product so close to 20 ppm. What if it would be 21 ppm when the authorities decides to do a control?? No, we have to be well below 20 ppm to dare to guarantee that our products do not contain more than maximum 20 ppm gluten, because there is always a variation that we have to take into account.
So I would say a slice of gluten free bread contains maximum a little over ½ mg of gluten, but probably less!
Of course I cannot speak for other producers of gluten free foods, but I would be surprised if their thinking is much different from ours. It might be the end of a company if a control test would find more gluten than allowed in a gluten free product.
So to be more accurate, I've changed the text in my article to say that a slice of gluten-free bread can theoretically contain around ½ mg of gluten, if the manufacturer is close to the 20 ppm limit.
To learn more (and especially if you're tempted to cheat on your gluten-free diet), see How Much Gluten Is Too Much?