Before the rule there were no federal standards or definitions for the food industry to use in labeling products “gluten-free.” An estimated 5 percent of foods formerly labeled “gluten-free” contained 20 ppm or more of gluten.
In August 2013, the Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule that defined what characteristics a food has to have to bear a label that proclaims it “gluten-free.” The rule also holds foods labeled “without gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “no gluten” to the same standard.
Manufacturers had one year to bring their labels into compliance. As of August 5, 2014, any food product bearing a gluten-free claim labeled on or after this date must meet the rule’s requirements.
This rule was welcomed by advocates for people with celiac disease, who face potentially life-threatening illnesses if they eat the gluten found in breads, cakes, cereals, pastas and many other foods.
Andrea Levario, executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, notes that there is no cure for celiac disease and the only way to manage the disease is dietary—not eating gluten. Without a standardized definition of “gluten-free,” these consumers…
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