Product manufacturers that claim their product is gluten-free will often add a disclaimer on their label that says the product is manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat and perhaps other allergens such as soy, dairy, and tree nuts. The purpose of this disclosure statement is to let consumers know the full range of products their facility produces so they can make a well-informed decision about whether to buy the product or not, as well as to limit the manufacturer’s liability. So, is the product safe? The product itself can be naturally gluten-free or made with all gluten-free ingredients, but the statement acknowledges the possibility of crosscontact with gluten.
Some manufacturers will take every precaution necessary to thoroughly clean the equipment that processes ingredients containing gluten before they switch over to process the gluten-free product. Some manufacturers may not be as careful. To help answer how safe or tolerable this “gluten-free” product may be for you, you need to know your level of gluten sensitivity. If you are highly sensitive and may have a reaction to something as small as gluten-particle dust, you may decide not to buy the product. But if you can get away with a minute trace of gluten without a reaction, you’re probably okay.
It is not uncommon for natural food stores to put this disclosure statement on foods like dried fruits and grains that they have purchased and repackaged, many of which are by nature gluten-free.
Therefore, to define the product’s level of safety for you, consider calling the product manufacturer or store directly to ask them whether and how they clean their equipment before making or packaging the gluten-free product, and whether they can tell you what their gluten ppm is in random batch testing. Based on their answer, you can choose whether to buy the product or not.