Well, it's official! The gluten label law is here!
One year ago today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set out a final rule about which foods could and could not use the "gluten-free" label. Now that a year has passed, all foods bearing the label "gluten-free" must meet the requirements set forward by the FDA.
So, what are the "gluten-free" labeling rules?
The FDA defines "gluten-free" in two parts. Either the food is inherently gluten-free or it does not contain an ingredient that...
- Is a grain that contains gluten.
- Is derived from a grain that contains gluten, which in turn has not been processed to remove that gluten.
- Is derived from a grain that contains gluten that has been processed to remove the gluten, and the use of this ingredient results in the presence of 20 ppm or more gluten in the food.
Moreover, there must be no more than 20 ppm of gluten in a product, and that amount is only permissible if the presence of gluten is "unavoidable."
Which products must comply with these rules?
The gluten labeling rule applies to all packaged foods that are regulated by the FDA.
It does not apply to foods regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
The final rule does apply to dietary supplements.
Do all foods that meet the standards have to have a "gluten-free" label?
In a word, no. This final rule only establishes what the requirements are for the voluntary use of gluten-free claims. If manufacturers don't want to label foods that meet the requirements with a "gluten-free" label, then they don't have to use it.
Is there more information about this new rule available?
Yes! The FDA has released a comprehensive guide to the gluten-free labeling rule, and you can find it at: Questions and Answers: Gluten-Free Food Labeling Final Rule.
For more resources about understanding gluten sensitivities and promoting allergy education, check out the materials below...
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.