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FDA: Spelt is Wheat

It seems like just about every week someone offers me bread or crackers and says, “don’t worry it’s spelt.”

These well meaning friends of mine know that I’m gluten intolerant and don’t eat wheat, yet have been lead to believe that spelt is ok for people with celiac disease and gluten allergies.

Each time this occurs, I explain to my friends that spelt contains gluten and that this grain is a very close cousin of wheat.

In fact, the two grains share such a similar genetic structure that the FDA recently declared that all spelt products must now be labeled as “wheat.” Hopefully, this will clear up some of the confusion for people that are newly diagnosed celiacs on information overload.

The new labeling regulation results from the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), passed in 2004, enacted into law last year (2006).

posted on May 21, 2007, 3 comments

  1. Wow, I just stumbled upon this post! Thank you!!! I did not know this, so am glad to now know that I need to steer clear of this flour. I will be more careful now with it!

  2. Stephanie

    It’s definitely a wheat-cousin, and certainly not okay for celiacs. However, as a wheat-allergic individual who can tolerate spelt just fine, the requirement that it be labeled as “wheat” is not so helpful to me! I get many more “can you eat this?!” comments than usual. I’m also worried that manufacturers may decide it’s find to mix spelt and wheat without mentioning it, since you’re “warned.”

    Perhaps manufacturers should have to put a “(gluten)” notation rather than “(wheat).”

    • Barb B

      My husband has a wheat “sensitivity”. It is similar to an allergic reaction, but not a full-blown celiac reaction. It affects his respiratory. Our Pastor and a friend are also wheat sensitive. All three tolerate spelt without a problem. I buy spelt products and bake with spelt. I usually mix it with little lighter flour like rice when I bake, but not always. Since allergies, sensitivities, and celiac disease are all different, a person should probably try spelt before completely crossing it off an alternative list of flours.

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