As everyone may have heard, last month the Food and Drug Administration finally defined exactly what gluten-free means. A long-time coming, this definition comes after a six-year delay and is great news for all of our friends who suffer from Celiac disease. In 2004, Congress instructed the FDA to set the standard as part of a law that required food packaging to list the top eight major allergens. The official ruling of gluten-free products was delayed due to the agency evaluating what standard was the correct one. It’s crazy to think it took this long to define gluten-free. Now that there’s an official definition, what does it really mean?
According to the FDA, products labeled gluten-free do not have to be completely free of wheat, rye, barely and their derivatives, but they do have to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This amount is low enough that those with Celiac disease won’t get sick from eating the products. Manufacturers have until August 5, 2014 to comply with the rule, but they have been encouraged to adjust their packaging immediately.
There is currently no rule that requires gluten-free foods to be labeled as such, however, any food that is labeled gluten-free must meet the definition. To enforce the new regulations, the FDA will perform inspections of food manufacturing facilities, review food labels, follow up on complaints reported to the agency and occasionally perform gluten analyses on food samples.
Gluten-free advocates can rejoice now that Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are finally being taken seriously. Change is coming for the good and we are all happy to hear about the new FDA support for gluten-free!
Check out full line of certified gluten-free products below!