Expert Postings
Oct - Dec 1998

Copyright by Michael Jones, Bill Elkus, Jim Lyles, and Lisa Lewis 1998 - All rights reserved worldwide.

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Frederik Willem Janssen--Head of the Chemistry Department, Food
   Inspection Service, a subsidiary of the Inspectorate of Health
   Protection (similar to the FDA in the USA), in Zutphen, The
   Netherlands.  His lab has an interest in the biochemical analysis of
   food proteins and contaminating allergens.  Special interests include
   modified gluten, edible packaging materials (which may contain
   gluten), and detection of hidden gluten in foods, including the
   development of improved detection methods.

Donald D. Kasarda, Ph.D.--a research chemist with the United States
   Department of Agriculture.  Dr. Kasarda has worked on grain proteins
   in relation to grain quality for 30+ years.  He has colloborated with
   medical groups working on celiac disease for over 25 years and has
   often been used as an informal consultant by support groups.

Joseph Murray, M.D.--a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota,

>>Disclaimer: Verify this information before applying it to your situation.>>

Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 18:36:47 -0700 From: Subject: Kasarda on new Oats journal article >From our friend Don Kasarda at the USDA: >I think the following abstract may be of interest to the celiac group. If >we follow our only known benchmark of 100 mg gliadin per day being clearly >harmful, and our assumption that 10 mg per day may be OK, even the one >sample of 30 examined that had more than 2.8 mg of gliadin per 100 g had >only 38 mg of gliadin. We can't really say if that one sample is harmful if >eaten regularly over a long time--it might be, it might not be. Anyway, to >me it seems the odds of 30:1 that an oat batch has a very low level of >gliadin it are not too bad. Obviously, a personal choice on the part of >celiac patients will be necessary when it comes to deciding whether or not >to risk eating oats. > >Don > > >TI- Detection of wheat contamination in oats by polymerase chain reaction > (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)| >AU- Koeppel E; Stadler M; Luethy J; Huebner P| >CS- Lab. Food Chem., Dep. Chem. Biochem., Univ. Berne, Freiestrasse 3, > CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland| >SO- Zeitschrift fuer Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und -Forschung A, 206 > (6). 1998. 399-403.| >SN- 1431-4630| >LA- ENGLISH| >PR- Biological Abstracts Vol. 105 Iss. 019 Ref. 273398| >AB- It is well established that the consumption of wheat prolamins causes > the characteristic symptoms of coeliac disease (CD) in subjects who are > predisposed to it. There is currently much discussion about the role of > oats in the pathogenesis of CD. Evidently, it is important that oats > used for clinical studies are not contaminated with wheat. In this > study, 38 oat samples were investigated by polymerase chain reaction > (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA): 30 samples > consisted of flakes or grains and 8 probes were industrially processed > oat diets. Wheat prolamin (gliadin) detection by ELISA showed that 16 > of these samples contained less than the detection limit of 0.2 mg > gliadin/100 g dry weight; 21 samples contained less than 2.8 mg > gliadin/100 g dry weight and 1 sample reached 38 mg gliadin/100 g dry > weight, clearly exceeding the allowed Swiss limit of 10 mg gliadin/100 > g dry weight for gluten-free products. Spiking experiments showed that > the wheat PCR system is about ten times more sensitive than the ELISA > system, provided that the isolated DNA is fully amplifiable. Thus, > wheat DNA could be detected by the wheat PCR system in ten samples with > gliadin contents below the detection limit of the ELISA system used. > Applying a eukaryote-specific 18S-PCR system the presence of > amplifiable DNA was verified. Only two of eight samples of industrially > processed oat products contained amplifiable DNA, the other six samples > had no detectable DNA left. One sample was wheat-PCR positive. However, > all eight samples contained detectable amounts of gliadin in the ELISA. ========================================================================= Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 23:09:07 +-100 From: "F.W. Janssen" <fwjanssen@WXS.NL> Subject: Re: Summary-Rice Syrup Olivia Kogler wrote: >Some is made from barley. (Wonder why they call it >rice syrup?) Another of life's litte mysteries. Because it is made from rice, never from barley. But some use barley enzymes to break down the rice starch to a sugar. Afterwards the enzyme is washed out, but not all of it can be. Don. The problem is that the manufacturers of these kind of syrups may not use purified barley enzymes but just a crude source of this enzyme: malted barley! This is also customary e.g. in beer production where the starch splitting activity of the malt can be exploited by adding all other kinds of starch containing cereals to the mash, for example corn or rice. The starches from these cereals are then broken down to sugars by the excess starch splitting activity of the malt. It is almost impossible to wash out the enzyme because the enzyme (which is not a gluten like protein) and the sugar are both water soluble! The only way to get rid of the residual gluten from the malt is to wash the product with e.g. 70% alcohol and this would be too expensive! The only solution for this kind of products would be to use an enzyme from microbial origin. Frederik Willem Janssen ========================================================================= Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 00:01:41 +-100 From: "F.W. Janssen" <fwjanssen@WXS.NL> Subject: genetically modified wheat Some days ago Gwynneth Thomas expressed her concern about possible introduction of allergens by genetic engineering. The example she gave was the introduction of genes from brazil nut to soybeans. The possible adverse effects of this modifications was however detected in a very early state and the production of this kind of soy was suspended. The topic of genetically modification is of great concern, especially in Europe where many consumers react quite outrageous to the idea of having to eat (without knowing) genetically modified food. That is why the European Commission has made labelling of any genetically modified food or ingredient compulsory. Twere are two scenario's, the bad one and the good one! The bad one first. Most genetic engineers are working on the improvement of the functional properties of wheat, especially the breadmaking properties. Because this property is strongly related to the amount and structure of high mol-weight (HMW) glutenin, most work has been done with the aim to increase the level of this HMW-glutenin fraction. Though celiac-toxicity is predominantly attributed to the gliadin fraction of gluten (i.e. the alcohol soluble wheat protein fraction) there is actually no proof that glutenin (which is the fraction of the wheat proteins which is not soluble in water and neither in salt solution, nor in alcohol) is harmless. In addition, it is also not exactly known which fraction is causing IgE mediated intolerance (i.e the true wheat allergy). Though it is generally believed that mainly the albumin/globulin fractions of wheat are responsible, quite recently some Japanese scientists discovered that glutenin (especially the low mol weight fraction), as well as alpha gliadin and gamma gliadins are very reactive with sera from known wheat allergic persons and they suspect glutenin to be a strong allergen. Though one might reason that increasing the amount of glutenin is harmless because wheat allergic people are so sensitive to wheat that an increase of glutenin would not make any difference, this might be too simple. If in the future food industry will be forced to pay more attention to avoiding contamination of foods with "edible extraneous" material like wheat, their task will be more difficult if wheat is becoming more toxic than it is now. By consequence there is a good reason for testing these genetically engineered wheat cultivars to get information about a possible increase in celiac-toxicity/allergenicity! And the good one! It might be possible to remove the toxic amino-acid motifs by genetic engineering e.g. by silencing the genes expressing the proteins involved. The big challenge is however to delete these proteins without affecting the functional properties of the wheat. This perhaps could be an impossible task as long it is not exactly known which peptide motifs are exacerbating the toxic effect. But gliadins, probably the most toxic proteins for celiacs are also most probably less "functional" as glutenins. So it might be possible perhaps to silence gliadin expressing genes or to modify the aminoacid sequence. But it could end also in adisillusion: to quote a saying attributed to Donald Kasarda (heard from Dr Wieser): "genetically modified wheat... we do have that already...we use to call it maize!". The findings of Maruyama et al. are promising because in fact LMW glutenins are not known as the most "functional" proteins (anyway less functional than high mol weight glutenins) so their silencing could result in less allergenic but still functional wheat. At the moment the only possibility to prepare hypoallergenic wheat is to extensively hydrolyse the wheat proteins. This inevitably destroys functional properties. Whether the de-toxification scenario can be applied to celiac toxicity has to be awaited. There is a big chance that the German government will endorse (and will make funds available) to develop a genetically modified wheat with the toxic amino-acid motifs removed. If this project succeeds it will be a big step forward! Lit: 1) Altpeter F., Vasil V., Srivasta V., Vasil I.K., Integration of and expression or the high-molecular weight glutenin subunit 1Ax1 gene into wheat. Nature Biotechnology 14 (1996) 1155-1159 2) Blechl A.E., Anderson O.D., Expression of a novel high molecular-weight glutenin subunit gene in transgenic wheat. Nature Biotechnology 14 (1996) 875-879 3) Barro F., Rooke L., Bekes F., Gras P., Tatham A.S., Fido R., Lazzeri P.A., Shewry P.R., Barcelo P., Transformation of wheat with high molecular weight subunit genes result in improved functional properties. Nature Biotechnology 15 (1997) 1295-1299. 4) Maruyama N., Ichise K., Katsube T., Kishimoto T., Kawase S., Matsumura Y, Takeuchi Y., Sawada T., Utsimi S., Identification of major wheat allergens by means of the Escherichia coli expression system. Eur. J., Biochem. 255, 739-745 (1998) Frederik Willem Janssen, Zutphen, The Netherlands ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 21:58:59 +-100 From: "F.W. Janssen" <fwjanssen@WXS.NL> Subject: Codex Alimentarius There seems to be a general lack of knowledge about what is happening on the international level to harmonise legislation on gluten-free products. These work is being done in the framework of the Codex Alimentarius and the results may of importance in international trade. In fact it may be difficult for a country to reject imports if the product complies to Codex standards. In that case the recieving country should proof that the food are not safe, which might be very difficult (compare the difficulty the European Union has to ban the US hormone treated beef!). Please... when reading the following, take into consideration that the proposed Codex Styandard on Gluten-free food will only apply to food products labelled as "glutenfree" and not to normal food (which may contain hidden gluten as a constituent of an ingredient) and to contamination of common food with wheat flour. Now about Codex... Codex Alimentarius is a world wide forum in which more than 160 member countries participate. Codex is jointly run by the WHO and the FAO and its mission is to exchange information on food safety and international trade and to establish standards which are instrumental in facilitating international trade. The most important role of Codex lies in the framework of the World Trade Organisation WTO in which Codex Standards are important references to settle international trading disputes. Codex has two types of committees: general subject committees, dealing with aspects like food labelling, food hygiene, methods of analysis and sampling etc. and commodity committees - of which many have adjourned sine die - like the committee on cereals, pulses and legumes, edible ices, sugars etc. Standards to be adopted proceed through an eight step procedure which provides optimal occasion for national countries and interested parties to comment on a subject. The elaboration of a Codex standard for gluten free products is a task of the Codex Committee of Nutrition and Food for Special Dietary Uses, CXNFSDU. The first Standard on gluten free food was adopted in 1981 (Codex Stan 118-1981). It defined the cereals which are toxic to celiacs (wheat, rye, barley and oats and crossbred varieties) and set a limit for the maximal amount of gluten allowed in flour to be used as raw material in the production of GF food. Because at that moment no convenient method was available to measure the gluten content of flour directly, this limit was set at 50 mg nitrogen/100 g. This limit was not dictated by patient need but by the wheat starch industry. In some countries the wheat starch industry at that time did not have the equipment and facilities to produce wheat starch with a lower nitrogen level, and by consequence lower gluten content. One should emphasize that this 50 mg nitrogen/100 g cannot be "translated" into 312,5 mg gluten/100 g (using a conversion factor protein/nitrogen of 6.25) because most of the protein present in wheat starch is present as so called starch granule protein (SGP), a wheat protein fraction which envelopes the starch granule and which is not related to gluten. With techniques enabling the direct determination of gluten it has been found that the gluten content of starch with 50 mg nitrogen/100 g is approximately 25 mg gluten / 100 g, i.e. 250 ppm. A revision of this GF standard is now well under way. During its twentieth session, at the meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Food for Special Dietary Uses in 1996 it was decided to proceeded a draft standard to step 5, which implies that it will be send to governments and international bodies for comment. The most striking differences between the old Codex Standard and the proposed new standard are that whereas the old Standard is restricted to ingredients to be used in the preparation of GF food and not to end-products, the proposed new standard applies to foodstuffs as well as ingredients having been processed especially to meet the dietary need of persons intolerant to gluten. The proposed draft revised standard presents a tiered definition of "gluten free" according to the following groups: - those gluten-free foods that consist of ingredients which do not contain any prolamin from wheat or Triticum species such as spelt, kamut or durum wheat, rye, barley, [oats] or their crossbred varieties with a gluten level not exceeding [20] ppm - those consisting of the above ingredients which have been rendered "gluten-free" with a gluten level not exceeding [200] ppm - a mixture of the two ingredients listed above with a gluten level not exceeding [200] ppm. (The meaning of having oats between [] is that in the opinion of the Codex Committee there is not yet sufficient information to decide on its status. Pending the adoption of an appropriate method the limiting values were also placed between []. In the subsidiary definitions gluten is defined as the protein fraction of wheat, rye, barley [oats] or their crossbred varieties and derivatives thereof and that is insoluble in water and 0.5M NaCl. This is in fact the old Osborne definition which dates back to 1888. In a further subsidiary definition the prolamin content of gluten is set (by default) at 50% (which is in general correct). This prolamin fraction is regarded as the most toxic fraction to celiacs. It is stated that the product should be prepared with special care under Good manufacturing Practice (GMP) to avoid contamination with prolamins. In September 1998 the CC NFSDU had a meeting in Berlin to discuss the draft. I will communicate the conclusions of this meeting asap in a separate posting. Frederik Willem Janssen, Zutphen, The Netherlands ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 18:10:12 +-100 From: "F.W. Janssen" <fwjanssen@WXS.NL> Subject: Codex Alimentarius meeting in Berlin About a week ago I promised to post info about agenda item 4 (Gluten Free Food) as dealt with at the meeting of Codex Alimentarius NFSDU (Nutrition and Food for Special Dietary Uses) which was held in September in Berlin Germany. As usual this meeting starts on Monday and continues till Wednesday, Thursday is a day off (time for the secretariat ro draw resolutions) and on Friday these draft resolutions are discussed. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay till Friday. However, the resolutions as discussed on Friday were handed to me afterwards however and I pass them with some corrective changes accepted during that day. For those of you who have no interest in reading this clerical stuff I summarise: The proposed limits (20) for food glutenfree by nature and 200 for food "rendered glutenfree" will stay between square brackets (so no decision has been made). The same holds for oats, awaiting further toxicological data about its celiac-toxicity it should be considered as toxic. The main obstacle for finalizing the standard is the lack of an appropriate method of analysis. Progress has been made but still not to that extent that enforcing agencies can be satisfied. Maybe we will see some progress in the next 2 years! Frederik Willem Janssen, The Netherlands ALINORM 99/26 DRAFT REVISED STANDARD FOR GLUTEN-FREE FOODS (Agenda Item 4) 31. The Committee recalled that the Twenty-second Session of the CAC adopted the Proposed Draft Standard for Gluten-Free Foods at Step 5 while recommending that comments on methods of analysis and on amounts of gluten in gluten free foods should be taken into account when finalising the standard. The Committee noted that without an appropriate method of analysis it was not scientifically justified to advance the Draft further. 32. The Delegation of Sweden introduced their recent study on gluten determination in foods by an enzyme immunoassay using a monoclonal antibody against omega-gliadin (CRD 33), noting that the detection limit of the method (ref. AOAC 991.19) was about 20 - 40 ppm and the repeatability was acceptable. Some Delegations pointed out that the method presented raised some technical concerns: it was performed only on wheat and due to this, uncertainty exists as regards its applicability to other cereals. There were also concerns about the reproducibility of the method. It measured only omega-gliadin and other gliadins should also be taken into account. The need of further improvement was raised. Spain expressed concern about setting units where no method of analysis is available and not all the different types of gliadins can be detected. 33. The Committee noted that in some cases a proprietary method was the most specific way to detect an analyte, such as in the case of gluten detection. Since Codex had not endorsed these techniques as methods of analysis of Codex, the CCMAS (Codex committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling) should consider this problem. 34. Several delegations suggested that the Committee should ask FAO and WHO to convene an Expert Consultation to address the issue of the level and the method of analysis. Other delegations proposed to consult the CCMAS on this issue. The Secretariat informed the Committee that on the request of the CCFL (Codex committee on Food Labelling), JECFA (Joint expert committee on Food Additives) was prepared to consider the question of hypersensitivity at its 53rd Session (June 1999) and the intolerance to gluten might be discussed in this context. The Secretariat recalled that the role of the CCMAS was to endorse methods of analysis proposed by specialised Committees and the CCNFSDU needed to specify the method. 35. Several delegations and the Observer from the AAC (Association des Amidonneries Cooperative) proposed that the discussion of this draft should be adjourned until a reliable method of analysis became available. Other delegations were in favour of continuing work on it in order to meet the urgent need of the patients suffering from coeliac disease and proposed to advance the proposed draft for a single level of 200 ppm to step 8. Taking into account the absence of an appropriate and accurate method of analysis, it was proposed to maintain the gluten free level at 200 ppm for all foods and to include a new preamble suggesting the a revision of the standard when a method of analysis or new scientific evidence became available. 36. While concerning the proposed definition of "gluten-free" foods, several delegations wanted to point out that the current approach was confusing and misleading the consumer and that the level should be uniform for all foods. However, other delegations and the Observer from AOECS stressed the need for two levels with regard to the naturally gluten free foods and the products which had been rendered gluten free. The Committee noted that the proposed term "gluten-free" might mislead the consumer and recognised that the term "low or reduced in gluten" should be considered. 37. The Observer from AOECS, supported by some delegations, expressed the view that the level of 200 ppm for all gluten-free foods was too high to protect coeliacs and the gluten level should refer only to the end product for better consumer protection. 38. The Delegation of Finland proposed to remove the oats from the list as scientific studies showed that oats can be tolerated by celiacs and allows to provide dietary fibres for coeliacs. The Observer from AOECS, supported by some delegations, stressed that the square brackets on oats should be removed as oats might have negative impact on the health of coeliacs and that the medical experts had not reached consensus on this issue. 39. The Committee recognised that the development of reliable method of analysis of gluten was the key point of this discussion and that the development of the method should be encouraged by all means. Status of the Draft Revised Standard for Gluten-Free Foods 40. The Committee agreed to leave the text of the draft as it was in CX/NFSDU 98/4 and to return it to Step 6 for further consideration. The Committee also agreed that the question regarding the proprietary techniques should be raised to the CCMAS as a general matter. The following documents were discussed during the meeting: CX/NFSDU 98/4 - Add 1 (Comments from Australia, Spain, UK, AAC, ISDI); CX/NFSDU 98/4 - Add 2 (AOECS); CRD 3 (Uruguay, ISDI); CRD 13 (USA); CRD 21 (Spain); CRD 33 = CRD 42 (Sweden); CRD 44 (India); CRD 51 (Norway). ========================================================================= Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 21:43:28 -0400 From: Debbie Resch <dresch178@EARTHLINK.NET> Subject: Low Blood Pressure ListMembers, This was Dr. Murray's response to a personal message I had sent to him regarding a recent incident with low blood pressure: Debra Resch New Jersey ----------------------------------------------------------------- This is not medical advice. The blood pressure may drop following the gluten ingestion in a treated celiac for any one of several reasons. The most likely is third spacing of fluids. This a common happening in patients who develop a gastroenteritis or inflammation of the gut. Greatly increased amoints of fluid are lost into the gut lumen leading to loss of fluid from the blood and tissues. This leads to a drop in blood pressure and effective dehydration. Acute diarrhea may occur with the loss of fluids into the toilet and consequent dehydration. Other possible mechanisms could include the direct effects of inflammatory messengers on the blood vessels leading to dilation of the blood vessels and pooling of blood again with a drop in blood pressure. Other possible causes could include the effect of pain on blood pressure, the inability to eat due to gut symtoms leading to dehydration. This is not medical advice Joseph Murray MD
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