Whilst information about the ingredients in food products has become much more readily available in recent years, the same cannot be said for the ingredients of cosmetics. This is hazardous for those with coeliac disease and gluten intolerance, who may use a product unaware that it contains gluten, and risk a reaction.
A study, presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 76th Annual Scientific meeting, led by Dr Marie L Borum and Dr Pia Prakash of George Washington University, has looked at the top ten cosmetic companies in the US to evaluate the available information on ingredients in their products, and the production of gluten-free items. The study was prompted by the case of one of Dr Borum’s patients, who, suffering an exacerbation of her coeliac symptoms when using a body lotion, recovered when she stopped using the lotion. Dr Borum and her patient experienced great difficulty in determining whether there was gluten in the lotion, which highlighted the problem that all coeliacs must have in determining which products may be safe for them to use.
Dr Borum focused on the websites of the ten companies, searching for gluten or gluten-free products within the website and using an independent website. She found that only two companies offered detailed ingredient information, but no gluten sources were identified. The independent website found five companies who offered detailed ingredient information, four companies for whom none was available, and none of the ten offered any specifically gluten-free products.
Whilst smaller companies may specifically advertise gluten-free alternatives, the bigger companies need to start indicating whether their products can be safely used by those with gluten sensitivity.
Source: American College of Gastroenterology
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