What Eden Foods means by 'Wheat Free' is that there are no wheat or wheat derivatives in the ingredients, though these foods may contain gluten.
Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat (spelt, kamut, emmer, einkorn, and Khorasan varieties included), rye, barley, and crossbred hybrids such as triticale, a cross of wheat and rye. More than 2 million people in the U.S. have Celiac disease, a disorder in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged in response to ingestion of gluten. Many more have varying levels of gluten sensitivity or gluten allergies.
Until August 2013 there was no specific U.S. food regulation for labeling of gluten-free food. Codex International Food Standards do state that food containing below 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten may be labeled as Gluten-Free and this was how the U.S. food industry functioned. However, in 2013 the FDA issued a Gluten Free Final Ruling. While the standards were kept at below 20 ppm, the FDA specifically prohibited any food, " If any ingredient is from a whole or refined gluten-containing grain (specified as wheat, rye, barley, and crossbred hybrids), then the food may not be labeled gluten-free, even if the amount is below the 20 ppm threshold."
A Gluten Free diet is a difficult challenge, because foods that contain gluten are so numerous, common, and prevalent. Eden Foods offers 301 food items that are Gluten Free. Out of the 449 items we offer, more than 65% of Eden foods are Gluten Free.
What Eden Foods means by 'Gluten Free' is:
First, Eden Foods' full disclosure practices, and complete transparency regarding ingredients, means that everything that could even remotely be considered an ingredient is listed in the ingredient statement. Unfortunately, doing this is extremely rare. In fact, we are aware of no other national brand food company that does this.
Second, before we ever say a food is Gluten Free we send a representative sample to a laboratory that is recommended by the Celiac Society. We do this in order to have credible documentation on file demonstrating Eden Foods' Gluten Free information.
Third, Eden Foods' Gluten Free information is not solely based on testing. We also rely on superb manufacturing practices and meticulous handling, being highly motivated in the prevention of allergen cross-contamination as exemplified by our food safety programs such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), AIB International audits, and BRC Global Standards.
Currently intriguing to us are gluten containing food items that are fully fermented, converting their composition back to their building blocks. This causes the gluten to transform. In these cases the proteins have been broken down by fermentation into their component amino acids, or components of the amino acids, removes the triggers of gluten sensitivity that are in gluten proteins.
An incomplete fermentation process will leave proteins whole that more complete fermentation would have broken down. Incomplete fermentation, whether by choice of the maker for desired effect, or just for shortening the process and lowering their cost, is a reason to be cautious about these foods. Only when fermentation is fully complete, does the gluten in these foods become in the undetectable range. Eden Foods has our fermented products gluten tested for absolute certainty.
An example of gluten containing food becoming undetectable through fermentation, are Eden Shoyu Soy Sauces. All Eden Shoyu Soy Sauces have tested at less than 10 ppm. Nevertheless, these shoyu soy sauces have wheat as an ingredient, a gluten-containing food. Through the process of long fermentation gliaden peptides, those that cause allergic reaction, are effectively and molecularly transformed, converting them into amino acids, primarily glutamic acid. The gluten is sufficiently converted as such that its trace presence is less than 10 ppm, as confirmed by our independent third-party analysis on multiple occasions. This fermentation process of gluten transformation, is just now becoming understood yet is still not fully appreciated.
Food containing soy sauce are specifically singled out by the FDA in their final ruling. The FDA said, "We found a small number of foods, usually made with wheat-containing soy sauce, which carried a GF claim and probably contain less than 20 ppm gluten. Our final rule will require companies to remove GF labels from these foods..."
It is possible that Eden Foods could change ingredients, suppliers, or processes that would change a food's nature and perhaps make it contain gluten when it had not previously. If this should ever occur, you can be assured that Eden Foods will immediately update our Gluten Free list and food listings to reflect that change. Eden Foods understands the vital importance of these distinctions to many people, and we take our role as a food supplier to them quite seriously. Eden Foods' staff is vigilant, and can be relied upon to perform their duties to our customers at an extremely high level of dependability.