14 May 2012
Gluten In Cheese
Factors of gluten contamination in cheese and dairy
Gluten is a protein found in foods made with wheat and related grains. It gives an elasticity to dough which helps its shape form when rising and is used as an additive to foods that are low on protein. The grains we eat today were introduced almost ten thousand years ago by people in the "Far East." Eventually the Romans brought grains throughout Europe, but it took almost a thousand years before they were affordable and easy enough to produce to be found in every kitchen. Today, grains are more glutinous than grains from past centuries due to newly developed agricultural practices. As long as gluten has been in the diet of humans, we are only now finding that it can pose a threat to the human body.
Over the past decade, there has been an astronomical push to support the gluten-free diet. It is said to be sabotaging the health of Celiac patients, and even those without the disease. There are, "...more than 300 symptoms of Celiac Disease." From abdominal pains, to depression and irritability, the gluten intolerent and Celiac Disease sufferers must be very weary of their diets. According to the Mayo Clinic, Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance, "...is over four times more common today than it was 50 years ago."
This may seem irrelevant on a blog which is generally about cheese, but in reality the question of gluten in cheese is appropriate and common. We receive many questions about our cheese and the ingredients used on a weekly basis; "Is your cheese gluten-free?" is one of the most common questions we receive. In this blog post, we will discuss different ways gluten may or may not be introduced into cheese.
One theory states that a cow fed mainly grains will pass gluten through the digestive system into the milk, similar to a human mother. The next theory claims the opposite, as bovine digestive tracts have a more complex four-stomach system that has been said to filter out any gluten. Unfortunately, there are very few [almost no] academic studies proving that gluten is indeed passed into cow's milk. One notable speculation is that grass-fed cows have little to no gluten contact due to the lack of contact with grains. This however, doesn't provide empirical evidence to the hypothesis, making it difficult for us to prove without testing. As the gluten and dairy revolutions continue to gain steam, we hope to see more public and academic studies that will answer our questions.
All of Rumiano Cheese Company's products to the best of our knowledge, are naturally gluten-free. Gluten-free isn't only a choice of diet, but a lifestyle. Due to the dangers of cross-contamination from any allergens, we always recommend that any person with a strict dietary regimen ask their nutritionist or physician before indulging in our delicious cheese.
For more frequently asked questions and answers regarding gluten and product labeling, please view the FDA page available here. More information on gluten intolerence and Celiac Disease please visit: http://www.csaceliacs.info/
This information is for educational use only. It is not to be considered medical advice.