While I was researching my trip to Prague, I came across a random article about special dietary requirements. I bookmarked this article and I am glad I did. One paragraph in particular caught my eye:
The symbol for gluten free is a wheat stalk with a cross through it, but this does not actually guarantee that it is completely safe – wheat starch is allowed in these products, so bring your reading glasses and check those labels to be absolutely sure!
WHAT??? Wheat starch is allowed in gluten-free products!? This worried me big time. Not only did I have to worry about finding gluten-free foods, but now I had to worry about foods being labeled gluten-free but having wheat starch in them.
wheat starch: pšeničný škrob
Luckily, I only came across one “gluten-free” product in the Czech Republic that had wheat-starch on the label. Thank goodness I had my translation cheat sheet with me to confirm that indeed I was seeing pšeničný škrob as the key ingredient. It was a bread produced in the Czech Republic. I didn’t buy it.
This week, there have been discussions of “safe” wheat and “gluten-free” wheat starch at the 14th International Coeliac Disease Symposium 2011 in Oslo, Norway. I don’t know about you, but this is just scary to me. I don’t think I could knowingly ingest wheat after 30 years of avoiding it. I would be too nervous
Keep your eyes out for wheat starch in the Czech Republic and other European countries when traveling gluten-free.
Safe gluten-free travels!