This is the second in a three-part series about certification in food and why it matters. Today we cover our Certified Gluten Free distinction, administered by The Gluten Intolerance Group.
Gluten comes from the Latin word for glue. It is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley that makes things sticky. It’s what makes foods like bread and cookies chewy and delicious.
Our small intestines have finger-like protrusions called the villi that help us absorb nutrients from the food (or at that point, glop that used to be food) that is passing through. When someone who has Celiac Disease eats gluten, it damages the villi and they can’t absorb the nutrients.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease include all sorts of uncomfortable things from bloating to diarrhea to tissue damage in the small intestines.
Some people have a wheat allergy or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which can be just as painful, but doesn’t cause permanent intestinal damage.
Because gluten-free products lack gluten, it can sometimes be difficult to make them taste good. This is not the the case with Maxine’s Heavenly! We’ve found delicious gluten alternatives to make our cookies soft and delicious.
We use brown rice flour in our cookies instead of wheat flour. Brown rice flour is made from whole grain rice, which contains bran, and has more nutrients than white rice flour. It is also more flavorful, adding a sweet and slightly nutty flavor to our cookies.
We also use gluten free oats. Oats themselves are gluten free, but many commercial oats are contaminated by wheat and other products that are processed in the same facility. They are also often grown next to wheat in fields. We use Grain Miller’s gluten free oats, which are themselves certified gluten free as well.
Certified foods go through rigorous testing to prove that all ingredients contain 10 parts per million or less of gluten.
Yes. “Gluten free” is somewhat misleading. Food can be certified gluten free and still contain trace amounts of gluten. Everyone’s body reacts differently, but typically products with less than 20 parts per million of gluten will be fine for people with Celiac, which is why companies are legally allowed to label their products gluten free if they have 20 parts per million or less of trace gluten.
We chose to get certified so that people who are gluten intolerant or are suffering from Celiac Disease can enjoy our cookies without the worry.
As we said in our blog about our vegan certification, for us, certification shows that we agree to abide by a required standard and do our part to prove to our community that we aren’t just saying something, but are holding ourselves accountable for the claims we make.