August 02, 2013
1 min read

FDA establishes standard definition for gluten-free foods

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The FDA has published a standard definition for the phrase “gluten-free,” to be applied to voluntary food labeling in the United States, according to a press release.

The universal definition requires that food labeling containing the phrase must have fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten. Foods labeled as “free of gluten”, “without gluten” and “no gluten” also must meet this criteria. The definition is the result of a directive from the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.

“Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, said in the release. “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.”

While some foods may already fit this definition, the FDA is allowing food manufacturers 1 year from the rule’s publication to become compliant with the new standard.

“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,’ ” Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in the release.