Sunday, June 5, 2011

Is it really corn free?

I heard a report that "For those with corn allergies, it may help to know that Authentic Foods makes a corn-free xanthan gum. It's fermented from a bacteria harvested from plants in the cabbage family."

I posted this information on Avoiding Milk Protein's Facebook wall, I expected some conversation from the corn allergic, little did I know how much conversation I would get.

At the time Authentic Foods web site did have their xanthan gum listed as corn free. They have now removed the "corn free" status on their website.

Nicole From Corn Freedom joined in the conversation, on Facebook, as she had her concerns with Authentic Foods "corn free" claims. She posted on her blog the letter she got from University of Nebraska Food Allergy Research Resource Program here on her blog.

U of Nebraska told Nicole that they never heard of Authentic Foods nor do they do any testing for corn. Nicole said that Authentic Foods claimed to her, that Authentic Foods products were tested by U Nebraska in their conversations.

Those of you who are Avoiding Milk Facebook friends can read the debate on my Facebook Wall. Thanks to all who joined in.

Authentic Foods was tagged in the comments but did not join the debate on my Facebook wall, they are still welcome to comment on my blog or comment on my wall post.

Connie Sarros author of six gluten-free books, continued the debate with her Gluten-free Newsletterette by saying:

Corn-free Status of Xanthan Gum

Friends on Facebook or members of the St. John's Listserv may be aware of the concerns that have arisen regarding the corn-free status of xanthan gum. It's a long, involved tale to tell, but I'll skip the investigative details and jump to the conclusion.

Authentic Foods has advertised their xanthan gum as being corn-free. I spoke with Steve at Authentic Foods; he explained that people allergic to corn will not have a problem with his xanthan Gum. "To produce xanthan gum, bacteria is fed a sugar solution (glucose). Sometimes this sugar syrup is made from corn which contains no corn proteins. It is corn proteins that trigger allergic reactions. Because this corn syrup has no corn proteins, people allergic to corn will not have a reaction. After the bacteria has replicated, the sugar syrup (glucose) is then washed away by filtration. The remaining bacteria is then killed by pasteurization leaving it to go through a series of reactions to extract the outer cell wall of the bacteria producing xanthan gum."

NOW Foods replied: "Xanthan gum is USA sourced. Though not tested it is considered gluten free." They state that the growth medium used contains soy bean protein, corn starch, calcium carbonate, and yeast. They added, "Despite this fermentation base, our supplier indicates the product to be corn free in their allergen statement to us."

Bob's Red Mill replied: "Thank you for your inquiry. Our Xanthan Gum isn't considered corn free, as the manufacturer uses corn in processing. This item is produced in both Austria and France."

Essential Depot said their xanthan gum is processed from corn and is not corn-free (though it is gluten-free).

TIC Gums, makers of Ticaxen Xanthan Gum, says, "We do not test for corn as part of our routine tests as most customers do not require this." They added that they do not consider their gum corn-free.

Individuals wrote to me with their personal experiences and companies wrote to me sending me the data they had on xanthan gum. Using gluten as an example, Dr. Fasano stated that 20 ppm is a reasonable amount of gluten for "most" people. Some celiacs are highly sensitive and this amount of gluten affects them adversely. This same principle holds true for corn allergies. or any allergies for that matter. Some people can tolerate more than others. Each person with a corn allergy has to look at the facts and make up their own mind as to what products they will use.

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