A few weeks ago, I had my very first Brazilian churrascaria experience at Fogo de Chão in San Jose, California. Churrasco is a Spanish and Portuguese term for grilled meat or more commonly barbecue. Many Americans have come to know a churrascaria to be a Brazilian steakhouse. I have to admit, I was very wary at first since American BBQ isn’t always celiac-friendly, but I was interested in learning more about Fogo de Chão and their gluten-free offerings. I also would LOVE to go to Brazil one day, so for the time being this is how I will fulfill that Brazilian food fantasy!
Last week was the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I was never into soccer (known as football everywhere else) until I moved to Astoria, Queens. Astoria is probably one of the most diverse neighborhoods in all of New York City. This means there are World Cup fans from around the globe watching the games alongside of me. I get really caught up in the excitement of the games and try to see as many as I can during the tournament. New York City has some really amazing venues to watch the World Cup and I am spending the next month cheering on the teams and rooting for the world!
This year, the World Cup is in Brazil. While I have never been, Brazil is very high on my Gluten-Free Globetrotter bucket list! As with most places, I love doing research about eating gluten-free in that country. It looks like Brazil has a national Celiac organization with many small support groups across the country. Additional, there are labeling laws that have been in place since 2003
According to Brazil Law 10,674 of 16/05/2003, it “requires that all food products marketed to report on the presence of gluten, as prevention and control of celiac disease.” Brazil was TEN YEARS ahead of the United States in their gluten-free labeling laws! The law currently does not set the maximum PPM of gluten in a product. There is a group called PROTESTE that is working to set the maximum amount of gluten in “gluten-free” products at 10ppm or less. I am impressed by the country-wide support of such laws.
Remember, Brazilians speak Portuguese NOT Spanish. I recommend you bringing a Brazilian Portuguese translation card with you if you are traveling to Brazil.
Here are some Brazilian Celiac Associations and links that will give you more information about living as a Celiac and being gluten-free in Brazil.