The term “gluten-free” has finally become a trustworthy and meaningful term as the new regulation by U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the label officially came into action from Tuesday (5th August, 2014).
With the implementation of the rule issued by Food and Drug Administration, anything labeled ‘gluten-free’ on their packets must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Until Tuesday, the term “gluten-free” had not held much meaning for manufactures. For example, while wheat is present in the ingredient list on the food packet, barley and rye are often hidden ingredients.
Prior to 5th August, food manufacturers could mention the term “gluten-free” on the labels of any edible product they wanted to. But now in order to mention the term “gluten-free” on packet they have to ensure that the product must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, otherwise it “will be subject to regulatory action.”
According to the FDA, “gluten” refers to “proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains.”
Under this rule announced a year ago by FDA, food manufacturers now had to ensure that that those products which are labeled as ‘gluten-free’ are technically free from wheat, rye and barley. Though the regulation doesn’t apply to restaurants, the Food and Drug Administration is encouraging them to obey it.
The new regulation has come as a boon for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. They can get sick from the gluten found in wheat and other cereal grains.
According to a news channel, there are approximately 3 million people in the United States who are suffering from celiac disease. A small amount of gluten can cause severe health hazards for them. Gluten causes inflammation and damages the small intestines of people who have celiac disease.
People who suffer from celiac disease may experience abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, rashes and other medical problems.
Sheenagh King, dietitian and bariatric program manager for the Center for Bariatric surgery at The Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville, believes the new labeling requirements will be very helpful to consumers.