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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Gluten-free beer can be labeled as such under FDA
As seen in USA TODAY

When is a beer not a beer? When it's gluten-free.

And as of Monday, it's also when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates the labeling of beer, wine and spirits, handed off regulation of said cold, sudsy brews to the Food and Drug Administration.

That's good news for the nation's estimated two million sufferers of celiac disease, for whom consuming any kind of gluten can cause chronic diarrhea, arthritis, bone loss and a host of other symptoms. Their immune systems react to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, causing inflammation in their small intestine, interfering with the absorption of nutrients.

Beers brewed the traditional way, with malted barley, contain gluten. But small craft brewers and then Anheuser-Busch began making beer from malted sorghum, an African grain, and sometimes rice. Both are gluten free. That was great for celiacs but didn't fit in the Federal Alcohol Administration Act of 1935's definition of beer, which was a beverage brewed from malted barley and other grains.

So that amber, foamy and distinctly beer-tasting beverage didn't count as beer under the regs. Which is why last July 7, 2008, the FDA and TTB agreed that FDA would take over regulation.

On Monday, FDA issued its Guidance for Industry covering these non-barley beers. And to the benefit of the one in 133 Americans who can't eat anything containing gluten, these beverages can now officially be labeled gluten-free once they've been tested and confirmed by FDA.

"For the longest time I couldn't put gluten-free on the label, because there wasn't a definition" under TTB regulations, says Russ Klisch, whose Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee makes a sorghum beer, New Grist.

A friend whose father had the disease told Klisch how much his dad missed having a beer now and then, and then it turned out Klisch's brew master's father also had it. These people needed beer, they decided.

Now his New Grist is distributed in 30 states and two Canadian provinces. He sells about $500,000 worth a year and sales are growing about 35% a year.

Sorghum beer has a slightly different flavor from normal beer, with a twang that some describe as "spicy citrusy." "If you ever have a Belgian beer, this is somewhat similar to a Belgian beer," Klisch says.

Brewers of gluten-free beers have until Jan. 1, 2012, to begin adding nutrition labels to their products, including a declaration of major food allergens, which includes wheat. That's the information people with celiac disease have been waiting for.

Up until now, they couldn't be certain that a beer that claimed to be gluten-free really was. Under FDA regulations, there's a standard for it.

Gluten-free beer makes up less than 0.1% of the beer market, says Paul Gatza of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colo. The biggest players in the gluten-free beer market are Anheuser-Busch's Red Bridge, Klisch's Lakefront in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Bard's Tale from Norwalk, Conn., he says.

Celiacs have been buying these gluten-free beers for years, says Elaine Monarch, executive director of the Celiac Disease Foundation in Studio City, Calif. But accurate labels will be nice and the new FDA regulations may make it easier for European gluten-free beverages to enter the market, she says.

The only bad news for the brewers is that the IRS doesn't care what this stuff is made from — it's still taxed like beer, at $18 a barrel.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009
Van's International Foods Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Wheat, Gluten, Milk and Egg in Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes
VERNON, Calif., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Van's International Foods has issued an allergy alert and is voluntarily recalling the following product: 12.4 ounce package of frozen Van's Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes with the lot number listed below because they contain undeclared wheat, gluten, milk and egg in the product.

People who have allergies or sensitivities to wheat, gluten, milk or eggs may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The 118 cases of recalled Van's Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes may have been distributed in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Idaho and Hawaii, through retail outlets that include but may not be limited to Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant Carlisle, Sprouts and Martins. The distributors and the retail customers involved have been notified.

The product comes in a 12.4 ounce package which is beige with an orange stripe on the top and a triangular blue gluten-free call-out in the upper right-hand corner with the lot number 200060629B1 located on the side flap of the box. The "Best if used by" date is March 30, 2010 also printed on the same flap.

Package UPC: 0-89947-60604-9
Description: Van's All Natural Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes, 12.4 ounce
Lot #: 200060629B1
Best if used by date: March 30, 2010

"Our customers have trusted Van's with their special dietary needs for more than 20 years, and their health and safety are our first priority," said CEO of Van's International Foods, Eric Kufel. "Van's has immediately implemented advanced quality procedures above and beyond what we already have in place to ensure the continued safety of our products."

The voluntary recall was initiated immediately after a packaging operator error, limited to one shift, was discovered. The company has immediately reinforced its Quality Assurance and Packaging procedures and believes that the problem was a one-time incident. Consumers who are allergic to or have sensitivity to wheat, gluten, milk or eggs, should not consume this product. Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund or send the box top with the printed lot number to the address below to receive five free coupons for any Van's waffle, pancake, or French toast stick product 12.4 ounce or smaller.

Van's International Foods, Inc.
Attn: Wheat Free Pancake Product Recall
3285 East Vernon Avenue
Vernon, CA 90058

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (303) 848-6013 or via email at . For more information on this recall, please visit for details.

The Food and Drug Administration has been notified of this voluntary recall.

Media Contacts:
(817) 329-3257 (24-hours)
Suzanne Miller,
Alexandra Elliott,
Tracy Aiello,

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Celiac Disease on YouTube
This is an older video, but I think the information is really good and presented clearly.

Can bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust make you sick? For 1 out of 100 people in the U.S. the answer is yes. For this group, Celiac disease, a frequently misdiagnosed digestive condition, is the cause. UCSD's Wm. K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease presents several experts including: Martin F. Kagnoff, M.D., one of the country's leading authorities in Celiac Disease research, discusses how this disease affects the body. Gregory S. Harmon, M.D., Gastroenterologist, covers diagnosis and treatment. Susan J. Algert, Ph.D., Nutritionist, shares how to keep the disease under control with a gluten-free diet. [11/2007]

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Gluten-Free Cupcakes to Go in NYC
Cupcakes are all the rage in NYC, but there are limited gluten-free options. Babycakes is one of the better known gluten-free cupcake bakeries and my birthday favorite. A few months ago a cupcake truck started appearing on the streets of NYC. The lines for the Cupcake Stop truck showed that cupcakes are extremely popular and in high demand. My coworker, a former baker, said it was too bad that I couldn’t jump on the cupcake bandwagon like everyone else since the truck didn’t sell gluten-free cupcakes. I agreed that this was disappointing.

Last week, I heard a rumor that there were gluten-free cupcakes now available but today it was confirmed. Every Tuesday the Cupcake Stop will sell gluten-free cupcakes made by Everybody Eats, a 100% gluten-free facility in Brooklyn. This is awesome news for the gluten-free community in New York City. It may be trendy, but again this is a trend I welcome. It will be nice to be able to stop by and get cupcakes to go that are safe for me to eat.

Here is the email I got today from Everybody Eats.

Cupcake Stop

Did you know there is a cupcake craze sweeping the country? Here in New York City there are lines every day and at almost every hour in front of several bakeries who specialize in them. is a company which puts a truck selling cupcakes in the busiest business neighborhoods of Manhattan. Flocks of office workers stop for a cupcake treat on the way back from their lunch hours.

Everybody Eats is proud to announce that on Tuesdays only for now, will be selling Everybody Eats' gluten free cupcakes from their truck. We're starting with very standard yellow cake topped with vanilla and chocolate frosting, and we're hoping to move into more exotic "designer cupcakes" such as chocolate mocha, piña colada (pineapple-coconut), and creamsicle (orange and vanilla).

If you live in NYC, you can access and find which cupcakes are being offered that day and where the truck will be.

You can also follow Cupcake Stop on Twitter to find out their daily location:

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Thursday, August 13, 2009
Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Coupons

As seen on Celiac Disease and, Betty Crocker is now offering coupons for one free box of their new gluten-free mixes.

I called today and they ran out of coupons!! This is so sad, but it just goes to show you that these new gluten-free mixes are in high demand. I hope that General Mills opens up this offer for free coupons again. I also hope this helps to increase the gluten-free product offerings from General Mills in the future.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Own a Gluten-Free Bakery
I got an interesting email today. Have you ever dreamed of owning a gluten-free bakery? Do you live in or near California? Here are the details...

Fabulous location (a jewel - approx 1000 sq. ft.; designed by A&E, no less!) near trendy downtown Culver City in West Los Angeles, 1/2 mile from the 405. Nice neighbors, helpful vendors, INCREDIBLY WONDERFUL clientele - inspirational, in fact! Current licenses and health-dept permits included.

Truly a TURN-KEY business, this bakery includes all necessary equipment, recipes, staff, and wholesale + retail customers to make your new enterprise profitable right away. The previous owner needs capital immediately and must sell. Our loss is your gain as the gluten-free market is one the few industries still experiencing double-digit-growth in 2009.

The ideal new owner will have background in the natural-food baking profession &/or with the gluten-free marketplace. Asking price is $147,000. Owner will consider financing for qualified buyer. For more information please contact:

Abbye Freiman Williams
A Freiman Consulting

Voice 310/370-5448
Fax 310/793-7954

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Sunday, August 9, 2009
Rest in Peace, Gluten Free NYC
Rest in Peace, Gluten Free NYC
David and I at the Paul Taylor Celiac Disease Fundraiser in March 2009.

I received some very terrible and shocking news on Friday. David Marc Fischer, of Gluten Free NYC, passed away on Thursday due to an illness in New York City. This is a tremendous loss to the gluten-free and national Celiac Community.

I met David about four years ago at a local gluten-free event through the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group. We started chatting that night and immediately became friends. David and I quickly learned that we had more than just Celiac Disease in common. We both grew up less than one mile from each other, we went to the same high school, and we both thought Plainview, NY was a gluten-free mecca.

Over the years, I became a huge fan of David's blog Gluten Free NYC. In 2007, when I started writing this blog it was David who was one of my biggest supporters. His encouragement and support of all things gluten-free helped me kick-off my blog. It was always great to get comments and feedback from David, even if our views on Celiac Disease didn't always match up. The great thing about David is that he could always back up his comments, so I never really had a good argument against him.

In the summer of 2007, David helped the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group attempt to spin off an organizers sub-committee. Although the group didn't pan out, David was a strong contributor to ideas for future events. David's passion for the gluten-free community in NYC was obvious. He could always be seen at Columbia University Celiac Disease Center events, NFCA events like the cooking spree, and even at community board meetings supporting bars like Heathers (serving gf beers) to help avoid getting them shuttered for good. He blogged regularly and I was always quite envious at his dedication and time to blog since I couldn't keep up with my own blog.

David and I had many amusing conversations over the past few years. As some of you might know, there is sometimes drama in the gluten-free community. Read any message board, attend any organizationally-tied event, write a blog with opinions... gasp! We both had our run-ins with "haters" but we always got a good laugh about it. Being the organizer of the largest Celiac Disesase Meetup group in the country, I have dealt with enough lame gluten-free drama over the past few years but David always let me vent to him even if I knew he really just wanted to roll his eyes. After our meetup events, David and I would always take the long route back to the subway to chat about the most recent event. He gave me advice, made suggestions for future events, and just chatted with me about life. It was obvious to me that David was a loyal person that was respected by his friends and family. I am happy I could call David my friend.

David has been a huge force in the gluten-free community for many years now. His blog has given many people tons of information about gluten-free living, restaurants, and products. His unwavering support for the Celiac community goes beyond David having Celiac Disease. He became an advocate for our gluten-free lifestyle which went above and beyond blog writing. His enthusiastic debates with the members of the NYC Celiac Disease always made for the most exciting message threads. David's support of both awareness and advocacy was obvious from his presence at my Celiac Disease events. His death and absence from these events will be quite a huge loss to us all.

David, you were a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration to me and the Celiac Disease community. I am so sad that you are gone and even sadder that I didn't get to say goodbye. I will miss you.


For those of you who would like to make a donation to the Celiac Disease Center in memory of David – here is the info:

Go to:
At Select a School or Division: use the "Select a School or Division" drop down box, and select
Celiac Disease Center
Enter Gift Amount
Click on NEXT
When at the next page, select "In Memory"
In the Honoree Information box that pops up, enter Honoree name: David Marc Fischer.
There is also a box to enter reason for gift and contact information.

Donations can also be mailed:

Please make checks payable to: Trustees of Columbia University
Please note on the memo line that the donation is in memory of David Marc Fischer
Mail to:
Cynthia Beckman
Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
Harkness Pavilion
180 Fort Washington Avenue
Suite 934
New York, NY 10032

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Thursday, August 6, 2009
Celiac Disease Provides Clues To Solving Autoimmunity
Researcher Alessio Fasano reports new findings in the battle against chronic illnesses, Celiac disease

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- According to an article published in Scientific America, a study of potentially fatal food-triggered disease has uncovered a process that may contribute to many autoimmune disorders.

The epidemiology of celiac disease that once was thought to be in the rage of 1 in 10,000 is now known to be in the neighborhood of 1 in 133, although not all individuals with the disease face the same set of symptoms that makes celiac and other food-related conditions so dangerous and widespread.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, Medical Director with the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center, has attributed gluten intolerance to classic gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, bloating, and indigestion and leading to disruptions in nutrient absorption. For example, failure to properly absorb iron may lead to anemia, whereas failure to absorb folate may lead to a variety of neurological conditions. Malabsorption of specific nutrients may lead to such diverse conditions as osteoporosis, joint pain, chronic fatigue, skin lesions (eczema, psoriasis), epilepsy, dementia, schizophrenia, depression, and seizures. In addition to the above conditions, the following diseases or conditions are considered autoimmune in nature: diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, acute ischemic heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

As researchers have elucidated the precise mechanisms involved in the cascade leading to what is considered autoimmune disease (where the body actually attacks its own tissues), it is apparent that both proteins from foods as well as several genetic components are involved.

"A growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body, a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut," said Dr. Fasano.

The crux of the process involves a leaky gut where partially digested food proteins (the environmental factor) pass or leak through the gut to interact with genetically-sensitive elements of the immune system setting off a cascade of immune reactions.

Fasano has identified a specific protein, zonulin, involved in controlling the spaces at the tight junctions in the gut wall, which is partially responsible for the leaky gut syndrome. He and other researchers are looking for drug therapies to prevent the initiation of the autoimmune cascade.

Since this cascade is triggered by a number of food proteins, another viable and proven approach is to identify the offending culprits and eliminate them from your diet. Cell Science Systems has developed a laboratory technology, the ALCAT Test, involving whole blood which is incubated with various foods to identify specific foods that trigger food intolerance. The solution then involves not eating those offending foods.

Cell Science Systems has hundreds of examples of individuals who have successfully reduced or eliminated autoimmune disease symptoms by simply avoiding certain foods for a specified period of time.

Annette, an ALCAT tester, suffered from multiple sclerosis symptoms for decades. "It was as if I was drunk but I do not drink. Turning over in bed was nearly impossible to do," said Annette. After taking the ALCAT Test and following the recommended rotation diet, her symptoms immediately began to subside. Before long, she realized it had been over a month since her last spell of symptoms. According to her husband, "It was like being married to someone else's wife."

Fasano, Alessio (2009, July 27). Celiac Disease Insights: Clues to Solving Autoimmunity. Scientific American, Retrieved on August 2, 2009 from

About Cell Science Systems

Cell Science Systems (CSS) is a life sciences company and the worldwide market leader in food sensitivity testing as the maker of The ALCAT Test . ALCAT identifies cellular reactions to over 300 foods and chemicals. These inflammatory reactions are linked to chronic health problems like obesity and diabetes, as well as skin, heart, joint, and digestive disorders. Located in Deerfield Beach, Florida, CSS is a FDA-inspected and registered, cGMP medical device manufacturer and operates a CLIA-certified laboratory.

For more information, please call 1-800-US-ALCAT or visit

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