Schar, a European maker of gluten-free foods, is set to release its newest product in March: gluten-free croissants. These croissants contain certified gluten-free wheat starch, which the FDA now allows (new labeling law as of August 2014) as an ingredient in gluten-free foods, as long as it registers under 20 ppm. According to the Schar website:
Certified gluten free wheat starch has been used in Europe for many years. The safety has been documented in several research studies where individuals with celiac disease consuming wheat starch had comparable results to those consuming a naturally gluten free diet. There was no adverse effect of adding certified gluten free wheat starch to the diet of individuals with celiac disease.
Also according to the Schar website, the process by which starch is made from the wheat removes the protein that effects people who suffer from Celiac. For this reason, it’s supposedly complete safe for Celiacs and other gluten-intolerant people. Gluten-free wheat starch apparently gives gluten-free foods in which its used an improved texture and quality.
You can read more about certified gluten-free wheat starch in this article on glutenfreeliving.com.
Despite reassurances from the people at Schar, I believe I will skip the products that contain wheat starch. I share the reservations of some of the experts in the article on Gluten Free Living’s website, who worry about the ingredient being truly gluten-free. Right now, barley malt extract is appearing in some products labeled as gluten-free. Apparently, some Celiacs and gluten-intolerant people can actually tolerate barley malt (although conflicting information exists concerning the gluten-free status of this ingredient). Unfortunately, I accidentally ate some potato chips that contain barley malt (unknowingly given to me by a well-meaning loved one who is usually SO very careful about my gluten-free needs) last week. Less than forty-eight hours before the Freescale ATX Marathon, I was glutenized and thus ended up with an extremely difficult and disappointing race. In fact, it was so bad an experience that I shall say nothing more about it. I didn’t recover from my gluten-poisoning until Tuesday. Luckily, I had eaten only a handful of the chips. When I developed symptoms, the cause was easy to trace. The chips were the only food I had eaten that day, over which I had had no control. I bring it up simply to note that if someone with Celiac can have such a serious reaction to controversial barley malt extract, just think of the reaction she may have to wheat starch, even if it is supposedly certified gluten-free. I’ll let other brave Celiac souls be the proverbial guinea pigs!