VIDEO: World-renowned celiac expert urges caution after cross-contamination study

Researcher, scientist and leading authority on celiac disease Dr. Alessio Fasano has responded to a recent study claiming to find no significant gluten transfer when kitchen appliances and utensils were used for both gluten-free and gluten-containing foods.

In a brief video (see below) posted on YouTube, Fasano, who directs the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, says the study poses some thought-provoking questions. However, he warns that other factors should be considered.

“There is a cumulative effect of cross-contamination that may eventually break a tolerance…with all the consequences that come with that,” Fasano says in the video.

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The study was conducted by Children’s National Hospital and appeared in the journal Gastroenterology. The authors tested three scenarios where it was thought that gluten transfer could be high enough to pose a gluten exposure risk for someone with celiac disease—in general, greater than 20 parts per million (ppm) or .002%. It found less gluten transfer than expected in several everyday kitchen scenarios.

Fasano, who wrote the landmark 2003 study that established celiac disease affects one in 133 Americans, noted the recent study was not a large one. He stressed that the results should not justify a relaxation in current food preparation guidelines for people with celiac disease. 

“I think it’s very provocative,” Fasano says of the new study in the video. “I think it’s opened up questions that we never ask ourselves, but I personally believe that we have to have a word of caution.”

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