FDA One Step Closer

The FDA announced recently that they are having the final meetings before they make their ruling on the restrictions for labeling something “gluten-free.” If you haven’t heard, the FDA back in 2004 made a ruling in their Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 that by the year 2008 they would need to provide manufactures and consumers a definition of gluten and the legal requirements for a product to be labeled “gluten-free.”

If you did not know, currently in the United States manufacturing companies can label something “gluten-free” yet there is no legal definition of what that specifically entails. Usually, companies will label something ‘gluten-free’ if the gluten content is less than 20 ppm (particles per million). There is still disagreement on what gluten really is and how far something has to go before it’s actually gluten free.

The proposed restrictions force companies to only label something as gluten free if it meets the following requirements:

1. Contains none of the “prohibited grains” which includes wheat (e.g., durum wheat, spelt wheat, or kamut), rye, barley or their crossbred hybrids
2. Contains no ingredient (e.g., wheat flour) that is derived from a “prohibited grain” and that has not been processed to remove gluten
3. Any ingredient (e.g., wheat starch) that is derived from a “prohibited grain” must have been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 micrograms or more gluten per gram of food,
4. Can contain no more than 20 micrograms or more gluten per gram of food.

There seems to be split opinion on how this ruling will work in real-life application. Some people believe that many products that companies label now as ‘gluten-free’ will no longer be labeled as such because of the extra cost in testing that will be required. Personally, I welcome any regulation and think that this ruling will play out very similarly to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 with companies having to label allergens. But we will have to see! I will post again once they actually make the ruling official.

If you want to read more, please check out the following links:

FDA Website

Celiac Central

DC Gluties

The Hub

1 comment:

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Great post and I am with you, I welcome knowing that what I purchase really is gluten free - better than waiting for a reaction.