May is Celiac Awareness Month! This month is a time to recognize those who have been diagnosed with this disease and raise awareness. There are currently 1 in 133 people in the United States with Celiac Disease (source).
What is Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that can be present at any age. This disease is hereditary. If a family member has it, there is a higher risk of any first-degree relative developing the disease as well. “When people with Celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small finger-like projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. (Celiac Disease Foundation)”. This response can cause a variety of symptoms.
At this time, the only treatment for Celiac Disease is following a strict gluten-free diet. This can be difficult as there is always a risk of cross-contamination when a person has not prepared their own food. Furthermore, there are non-food items containing gluten that can also pose harm (depending on the severity of one’s sensitivity).
A few online resources are Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond Celiac, and National Celiac Association. There are more than 200 known symptoms of Celiac Disease. In contrast, some individuals will have no symptoms but can still test positive (source). For information about certified gluten-free products use the Gluten Free Certification Organization. This organization certifies “companies and manufacturers worldwide using the strictest standards for certification at 10 ppm or less.” (gfco.org).
We would like to direct our customers to another great resource for all things gluten-free: Simply Gluten Free! Their website includes tons of tips, recipes, and ideas for gluten-free living. They create helpful monthly recommendations of products for their customers. With over 20 years of gluten-free living, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Carol Kicinski is one of the most knowledgeable in her field .
We would like to be straightforward about our products and practices regarding our gluten-free items. As always, questions are welcome and can be submitted through our website.
We create all of our products in a US FDA inspected plant. However, manufacturing does not occur in a dedicated gluten-free facility. We have a requirement of a thorough wash down of all equipment between production lines to prevent cross contamination. Quarterly, we send samples of our gluten-free products to an independent lab for testing. StarLite Cuisine products are tested for less than 20PPM. Please check with your medical adviser if this is a safe limit for you to consume. Our gluten-free products are Taquitos (all flavors) and Enchiladas (all flavors).