How much of this can we eat?

A little tidbit found its way to my inbox the other day. It’s fairly poorly documented, so it could be a fluke: but in case it isn’t, I wanted to share.

According to the website of the Packaging Business Review, legislators in Ukraine have introduced a draft that proposes labeling of gluten-free food. The revision was suggested by Ukrainian Parliament member Viacheslav Perederiy (who is of the BYT-Batkivschyna faction). According to the article, “food products free from gluten can be marked as ‘gluten-free’ on labels, if it does not exceed 20mg per 100gm of the product weight.”

So, first of all: awareness! Labeling! Yay!

Second of all: what does 20mg per 100gm mean? Is this actually a good bill?

Turns out, 20 milligrams per 100 grams is actually 200 ppm. So, if and when the bill passes — buyer beware of Ukranian gluten-free items.

We’re very used to seeing ppm as the standard measurement here, but you’ll often see milligrams per kilogram if you dig around more. The conversion between these two is 1:1: a kilogram has a million milligrams in it (a gram has 1,000 milligrams, a kilogram has 1,000 grams).

So, if Ukraine sets the limit at 20 milligrams per 100 grams, it’s really saying 200 milligrams per kilo, or 200ppm. Much higher than most of us would like.

Please note: this is currently a draft and a draft only, so it has no impact on items you might find in Ukraine now — which, if they were produced and packaged abroad, should bear the standards of their country of origin. For example, Schär lists 6 places in Ukraine (mostly in Kiev) where their gluten-free items are available.

If you’d like to bring a little gluten-free Ukraine to your own table, might I suggest the following:

  • Amazon.com has a cookbook entitled “Ukrainian Cuisine with an American Touch and Ingredients-Gluten Free” available as both a Kindle book and a paperback. There are quite a few dozen recipes in here, ranging from sweet to savory, with and without yeast.
  • Borscht is arguably the most typical dish imaginable, and there’s no reason it can’t be made gluten-free. Here’s a recipe and video from Thriving With Celiac that combines beets with your choice of meat, cabbage, onion, potato, dill, peppers and all sorts of other yummy things.
  • If it isn’t borscht, it’s probably perogies (or varenyky). Because these little dumplings have to withstand frying and/or boiling, it can be tricky to get the dough right — but this recipe from Wheat Free Mom (technically Celiac Teen‘s) looks pretty goshdarn tasty.
  • And if it isn’t varenyky? Well, then it’s stuffed cabbage, or golubtsy. Check out Smitten Kitchen for a naturally gluten-free option guaranteed to warm your insides on a cold day.