On August 2, 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially ruled on gluten-free food labeling. As of August 5, 2014, all manufacturers of FDA-regulated packaged food making a gluten-free claim must comply with the guidelines outlined by the FDA.
So what does it mean when a food product is labeled as "gluten-free?"
Under the new rule, if a food carries a gluten-free claim, it either:
- Inherently does not contain gluten (i.e. a bag of raw carrots or bottle water)
OR meets the following criteria:
- Does not contain an ingredient that is a whole, gluten-containing grain (i.e. wheat, barely, rye or crossbred hybrids of these grains)
- Does not contain an ingredient that is derived from a gluten-containing grain and has not been processed to remove gluten (i.e. wheat flour)
- May contain an ingredient that is derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (i.e. wheat starch) as long as the food product contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten
- Any unavoidable gluten in the food due to cross-contact (commonly referred to as cross-contamination by the gluten-free community) or migration of gluten from packaging materials is less than 20 ppm gluten
*It is important to note that manufacturers must comply to this rule by August 5, 2014.
Where to Find Additional Information
On September 18, 2013, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) hosted the first free webinar in a two-part series explaining the ruling: "Understanding the FDA's Gluten-Free Labeling Rule Part 1: What You Need to Know." Following the webinar, NFCA addressed frequently asked questions about the ruling with the help of webinar panelist Tricia Thompson, MS, RD; The Gluten-Free Dietitian, Nutrition Consultant Celiac Disease, Founder Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC.
To download the slides and watch the webinar, visit NFCA's Webinar Archive.
Keep an eye on NFCA's webinar schedule for the announcement of the final installment in the two-part webinar series (tentatively scheduled for December, 2013): "Understanding the FDA's Gluten-Free Labeling Rule Part 2: Focusing on Compliance"
Understanding Gluten Testing Methods
In July 2012, NFCA hosted the free webinar, "Setting the Record Straight: Dispelling Gluten-Free Manufacturing and Production Myths," also featuring Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, The Gluten-Free Dietitian, Nutrition Consultant Celiac Disease, Founder Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC.
NFCA has created an abridged version of this presentation to focus on explaining the assays used to test foods for gluten and why testing is needed to ensure foods labeled gluten-free are truly gluten-free. Download the abridged slideshow
<< Back to the main FDA page