FDA Gluten Free Standards: haven’t we waited long enough?

The FDA gluten free standards were promised in 2007, but they are still unclear.  While I get that it is not always clear about what is or isn’t gluten free, I don’t think that we Celiacs or others who need gluten free for health reasons should suffer.  I love that more and more companies are realizing the need for gf, but some are also taking the issue lightly.  For example, Post has made a big deal about their Fruity/Cocoa pebbles being gf, but it wasn’t when we tried it recently.  Many companies are using the lack of guidelines to self-certify leaving Celiacs sick and many other companies make you jump through hoops to get non-specific answers.  It is like a slap in the face to see Gluten Free in big, bright letters on packages, cereal boxes, or magazine ads knowing how sick some foods have made me & my 2 youngest kids.  I hate that Gluten Free has become a fad where companies skimp on the actual gluten free part along with charging outrageous prices, but boast that it is gluten free anyways.  I don’t like trying new companies, foods, etc… unless I contact the company to find out what exactly gluten free is to them.  Gluten Free is not a choice in our house, Gluten Free is a way of keeping us thriving!  I know that some of my readers aren’t gluten free or maybe not understand how it affects our lives.  However, as a parent or anyone for that matter who can empathize with everyone deserving the basic need to be healthy.  Read below to see the unresolved progress and PLEASE whether you are gluten free or not, take the time to to let Congress and the FDA know that you want FDA to finally act on the near three year old Congressional mandate that the FDA establish a standard for “Gluten Free,” contact them today through the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

FDA Definition for Voluntary Labeling

When the definition is final and is published in the United States Congressional Federal Register, the CSA national office will post the information to the CSA website, or link to the FDA website, www.FDA.gov, for the announcement and details.

2009 –The proposed FDA definition from 2007 remains in draft form. A survey was proposed in the summer of 2009. This has evolved into three, twelve member focus groups in 2009 and 2010 rather than an extensive on-line survey.

The purposes of the survey:

The study will survey a group of 5,000 adults on their perceptions of characteristics related to the claims of “gluten-free” and its allowed variants. The survey will also gauge perceptions of claims such as “made in a gluten-free facility” or “not made in a facility that processes gluten-containing foods”. The study will also assess consumer understanding of “gluten-free” claims on foods that are naturally free of gluten. Finally, the study will gauge consumer reaction to a product carrying a gluten claim along with a statement about the amount of gluten the product contains.

6,000 respondents will be screened. A pretest will be conducted with  140 respondents. 5,000 adults will complete the study. This will include people with celiac disease and people who do not have celiac disease. The data will be collected over the Internet and the FDA estimates that it will take a respondent about 10 minutes to complete the survey.

Comments were solicited on the design of the survey.

2008 — The proposed FDA definition from 2007 remained in draft form.

2007 — The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a regulation that defines the term “gluten-free” for voluntary use on product labeling.

  • In summaryas of April 23, 2007

    The proposed FDA definition specifies that a food labeled “gluten-free” does not contain any of the following:

    • An ingredient that is any species of the grains wheat, rye, barley, or a crossbred hybrid of these grains (collectively referred to as “prohibited grains”)
    • An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has NOT been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat flour)
    • An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat starch) if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm or mg/kg) or more gluten in the food
    • 20 ppm or more gluten

    A food that bears the claim “gluten-free” in its labeling and does not meet these conditions would be deemed misbranded. Foods that are inherently or naturally free of gluten would also be deemed misbranded if the claim does not refer to all foods of that same type (e.g., “milk, a gluten-free food” or “all milk is gluten-free”)

    A food made from oats and labeled “gluten-free” must contain less than 20 ppm gluten.

    According to the FDA, establishing a definition of the term “gluten-free” and uniform conditions for its use in the labeling of foods is needed to ensure that individuals with celiac disease are not misled and are provided with truthful and accurate information with respect to foods so labeled. The proposed definition is in response to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA)

  • please note: this is information from http://www.csaceliacs.org

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  1. I can understand your frustration as my family also has dietary limitations and things are not always labeled as to what is in them. This has made me move to almost 100% whole food diet. Can’t trust processed food!

  2. Shame on companies that mislead about gluten-free ingredients!

  3. Thank you for stopping by from the SSBH I am now following you back !!!!
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  4. Shame on these food companies and the FDA.
    Very informative post!
    I’m a new follower from the blog hop!
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  5. I’m a friend from the Purex Insiders! First of all, new follower and I LOVE the new look and domain name.

    I really can’t help but agree. I work with students with dietary restrictions and it’s so important for us to pay attention to what is being required and allowed by law. I’m glad you are writing and linking to organizations for change on this issue.

    Michelle @ Things Sent My Way
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