If you are celiac, you know the dangers and outcomes of digesting even the smallest amount of gluten. Anything and everything is being labeled “gluten-free” these days because it is a common buzz word and no one wants to be left off the “money train”. Just about any manufacturer will jump on board to snag a piece of the market. I recently had a friend who posted a picture of doggie treats with the label “gluten-free” on the front of the bag! You may laugh, but that does solidify my point on potential allergic reactions. Some people are so highly allergic, they can’t even hold a doggie treat that contains gluten without having an allergic reaction. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) recently ruled on what defines food being labeled gluten-free, free of gluten, and no gluten.
One part of the FDA ruling on gluten-free foods states that all products labeled “gluten-free” must contain less than 20 parts per million. Most people with celiac can handle that tiny amount of gluten, but there still remain some who are so highly allergic, that even the minutest amount may trigger a reaction. I guess my main concern for ruling in this way is how the FDA will regulate the 20 parts per million. Will every product consistently be checked for gluten? Are products allowed to be made in a non-dedicated gluten-free facility and still be labeled gluten-free?
The other rulings for labeling a food gluten-free are that they must not contain any of the following:
- an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
- an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
- an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten
All producers of gluten-free products have one year from August 5th, 2013 to comply with the ruling. And don’t get me wrong, this is a great step in the right direction. There have been no regulations defined up to this point, so those with celiac or gluten-intolerance may be more assured than in the past, that the foods they are purchasing will be safe to eat.