Gluten is the main storage protein in grains and consists of gliadin and glutenin occurring in the same ratio. Persons suffering from intolerances, including celiac disease, must avoid foods containing gluten or products containing wheat, barley, and rye. Accordingly, gluten detection is of high interest for the food safety of celiac patients. This study was designed to determine the concentrations of gluten in foods labeled “gluten free” available in the United States. Seventy-eight samples labeled gluten free were collected and analyzed using a gliadin competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The gluten content was calculated based on the assumption of the same ratio between gliadin and glutenin. Forty-eight (61.5%) of the 78 samples contained less than the limit of quantification of 10 mg/kg for gluten. In addition, 14 (17.9%) of the 78 samples labeled gluten free contained less gluten than the guidelines established by the Codex Alimentarius for gluten-free labeling (20 mg/kg). However, 16 samples (20.5%) did contain gluten levels of ≥20 mg/kg, ranging from 20.3 to 60.3 mg/kg. In particular, five of eight breakfast cereal samples showed gluten contents higher than 20 mg/kg. These results may be of concern, as gluten sensitivity is known to vary among celiac disease patients.

This content is only available as a PDF.