Certified Gluten-Free Wheat Starch??? HHhhhmmm.

schar

Image from schar.com

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!
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4 thoughts on “Certified Gluten-Free Wheat Starch??? HHhhhmmm.

  1. I made myself a guinea pig unknowingly; I’d previously had good experiences with Schar’s products (they’re not healthy by any stretch, but some days I just want to eat a baked product that seems ‘normal’, ie not so different from the wheat version) and bought the croissants without realising they’re made of wheat.

    So, I ate two Scar gluten-free croissants last night.

    I’m celiac, diagnosed by blood tests, strictly gluten-free for almost a decade.

    Result: extreme diarrhoea this morning.

    Not happy, Schar!!

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    • Gosh, Sara! I’m so sorry you were glutenized! Now you’ll be quite a while feeling better. I have misgivings about wheat starch as I have misgivings about Omission beer, the beer that supposedly has the gluten filtered out during the brewing process. Thank you for taking the time to comment and let the rest of us know about your experience. I wish you had not been sickened by Scharr, but now the rest of us can just put our curiosity to rest and get to work creating gluten-free croissants that we can eat without being poisoned. But I totally relate to desiring a “normal” baked product from time to time. Sometimes one just wants to eat something that seems like the real thing, and not a gluten-free version wanna-be. I hope you feel better soon!!!!

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  2. Even though I don’t have a lot of access to packaged gluten-free carbs with the exception of Schar, I’ve always been very sceptical of their products for no rational reason apart from the fact that I’m not entirely convinced! What is your opinion on the products as a whole?

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    • Hi, Catgoodden I share your general distrust of Schar products, especially the company’s use of wheat starch. I’m not a scientist, and thus don’t have a complete understanding of the process that removes the starch from the wheat without some of the gluten remaining in the starch, but I believe its best for people with Celiac or gluten-intolerance to just avoid any foods related to wheat in any way. I’m tempted by the thought of eating a gluten-free croissant that is much like the gluten-containing croissants I enjoyed before my Celiac diagnosis, but I just can’t fathom eating anything that contains wheat starch.

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