Although I’m always skeptical of the FDA and their labeling practices, perhaps they’re headed in the right direction. It was announced on Friday that after nine years of deliberation, the FDA has finally set a legally binding requirement as to what foods can be called gluten free, to take effect next year.
While many products already carry a label, there’s never been an official standard for exactly how free of gluten such foods have to be. Most companies go by the standard of less than 20 parts per million of gluten in order to label their products gluten free. Anything less than 20 ppm, gluten can’t be detected reliably and only very rare individuals would react to it.
However, there are some that use a gluten free label without considering certain elements. I know of a grocery store brand that sells “gluten free” whole grain chips, but they contain oats and the package doesn’t specify as to whether or not they’re gluten free certified, which makes me hesitant to buy them even though they look delicious and cost less than other all natural/organic brands.
With the FDA officially settling on less than 20 ppm to determine what can be gluten free, this measure should help many food manufacturers expand to a greater audience and provide more gluten free individuals (especially if they’re celiac or extremely gluten intolerant) with a more comfortable shopping experience beginning in 2014. And not just people with the afflictions–people who shop for individuals with the gluten affliction should have an easier time helping to provide their friends/loved ones with safe foods. Until then (and even after the label takes effect,) remember to read labels carefully and stick with what you know–fruits, veggies and most meats and cheeses are definitely gluten free!
What’s your take, LivLunatics? Is the FDA headed in the right direction, or are you afraid they’re going to screw this up, too?