A recent study by investigators at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) tested 22 top-selling probiotics, and found some traces of gluten in 12 of them.
Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at the time of the study, IPA executive director George Paraskevakos noted that only one product in the study that made a gluten-free claim was found to contain the protein at an unacceptably high level and that manufacturing considerations could account for the presence of gluten in others.
Despite a lack of transparency from the researchers (they refused to release any details about the products), the reports did spark some concern among DuPont’s probiotic customers and consumers, and a spokesperson for the company told NutraIngredients-USA that they have been receiving some inquiries from the market about gluten in probiotic products.
“Gluten is a key factor for some of our customers, particularly those that market specifically to the gluten-free consumer,” said the spokesperson.
As a result, the company has moved to reassure the market that its Howaru and FloraFIT probiotics are a safe choice for gluten-sensitive consumers.
“We underwent a major effort several years ago to reformulate probiotic fermentation media that would give equal or superior performance without gluten,” explained the spokesperson. “We have been gluten-free for the past 3-4 years. It was a significant challenge to remove gluten and other allergens from our probiotic raw materials, but our ability to do so reinforces the strength of our science and expertise.”
The company stated that allergen management procedures are in place to prevent cross-contamination at its probiotic production facilities that also handle gluten-containing products. These procedures similarly exclude other allergens, such as dairy and soy, from the probiotic range, said the company.
“As a leading global supplier of probiotics, we understand that many consumers with celiac disease rely on probiotic supplements to strengthen their digestive health,” said Scott Bush, global probiotics business leader for DuPont Nutrition & Health.
“For this reason, we monitor our suppliers very closely to ensure they meet our demand for non-gluten raw materials, including the fermentation media used in probiotic production.”