You type in a food item, for example: College Inn Chicken Stock and it brings up a photo of the chicken stock with a bold symbol indicating its gluten status (there are four possibilities based loosely on color-coded traffic signals):
- Check Mark: Labeled gluten-free
- Question Mark: Appears to be gluten-free (not labeled as such, but Zeer.coom experts have examined the product and determined it appears to be free of ingredients containing gluten)
- Caution Sign: May contain gluten (some products get this labeling if there's concern about cross contamination)
- Stop Sign: Contains gluten
If your favorite chicken stock contains gluten, Zeer.com recommends gluten-free alternatives. You can also search for gluten-free foods by categories, such as "cereal" or "snacks." There's a drink category, which includes beer and spirits. You can also create gluten-free grocery lists and share them with friends and family directly from the website.
What to know about Zeer.com:
- Every product in the database has a "last confirmed date." While products are updated regularly and all "last confirmed dates" are within the last twelve months, you can vote on products you want updated in an expedited fashion.
- They have an impressive staff of celiac experts and nutritionists reviewing the status of every product. At least two people code each statement for wheat, rye, barley, and oats. If there is any disagreement about the coding, it is reviewed by a third expert at Zeer.com.
- They highlight and box key ingredients such as "Carmel Color" and "Modified Food Starch" and provide detailed explanations about why they are gluten-free or gluten-containing. You can learn a lot from Zeer.com.
All this gluten-free expertise and organization isn't free though. To get full access to Zeer.com, you need to subscribe for $14.95 a month. (note: you can get Zeer.com as an iPhone app). In the future they may offer quarterly or annual subscriptions. They're also working on enhancements like being able to join multiple communities at once, for example, joining both the gluten-free and dairy-free communities so that those with both gluten and dairy intolerances can filter searches for products meeting both their dietary restrictions. In addition, they may add over-the-counter drugs and health and beauty grocery items to the database. The convenience may soon have many of us "zeering it."