The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced a new definition for the use of the term “gluten-free” on food labels. The new definition is meant to provide a consistent meaning for those with gluten allergies and the three million Americans estimated to have celiac disease.
“Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner. “The FDA’s new ‘gluten-free’ definition will help people with this condition make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health.”
The new official definition requires that foods labeled “gluten-free” contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten and less than 20 mg of gluten per kilogram. Foods labeled with the phrases “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” will also have to match the new definition of “gluten-free.”
Food companies will have one year from the publish date of the new rule to comply and, if necessary, modify their food labels. The FDA stated that many of the foods branded “gluten-free” already meet the standard set by the new rule.
“We encourage the food industry to come into compliance with the new definition as soon as possible and help us make it as easy as possible for people with celiac disease to identify foods that meet the federal definition of ‘gluten-free,’” said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the FDA.
(Image courtesy Martin Lewison under Creative Commons License)