FDA announces 'gluten-free' labeling guidelines

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2013 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today published uniform standards for “gluten-free” food labeling. The regulation sets a threshold for gluten of less than 20 parts per million in foods labeled “gluten-free,” “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten,” FDA said.

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The labeling will be voluntary, meaning manufactures producing gluten-free products will not have to disclose on a label. All those making gluten-free claims, however, will have to comply with the new guidelines.

Food manufactures will have a year to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirements.

FDA was directed to issue the regulation by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), which requires food manufacturers to label for the presence of common food allergens.

“While gluten is not one of the major food allergens identified in FALCPA, Congress specifically directed FDA to set guidelines for the use of the term ‘gluten-free,'” FDA notes.

The rule excludes those foods whose labeling is regulated by USDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), including meats, poultry, certain egg products, and most alcoholic beverages.

The labeling will be helpful to the 3 million Americans with celiac disease, a digestive and autoimmune disorder that can be managed through a gluten-free diet.

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