On Aug. 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a new regulation defining the term “gluten-free.” The purpose of the rule is to provide a uniform standard definition for voluntary food labeling.
The FDA reports that as many as 3 million Americans have celiac disease, a serious disease that can be managed only by eating a gluten free diet. The new rule helps those with the disease “make food choices with confidence” to better manage their condition.
Gluten refers to particular proteins that can occur naturally in a number of grains, including wheat, barley and rye. The FDA reports the protein can trigger production of antibodies that attach and damage the lining of the small intestine in those suffering from celiac disease.
Under the definition, to be labeled “gluten-free” a food product must meet certain conditions, including containing less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Food industry labels claiming that a product has "no gluten," is “free of gluten” or is “without gluten” also must meet the “gluten-free” definition.
The effective date for the rule is Aug. 5, 2014.
The news release announcing the regulatory action (”FDA defines ‘gluten-free’ for food labeling,” Aug. 2, 2013) is available at www.fda.gov.
A link to the full regulation is available within the news release.