With the implementation of a rule issued by Food and Drug Administration, anything labeled ‘gluten-free’ on their packets must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. That amount is low enough so that consuming of this amount of gluten will not harm those who have celiac disease.
Until now, 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.
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.
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.
“For someone who is trying to eat gluten-free, regardless of the reason, knowing that if the product says it’s free of gluten and less than 20 ppm, it’s really going to help someone as a consumer,” she said.
This new regulation would come as a boon for people who suffer from celiac disease. They can get sick from the gluten found in wheat and other cereal grains.
People who suffer from celiac disease may experience abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, rashes and other medical problems
According to the FDA, “gluten” refers to “proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains,” Reportedly; around 3 million people in the U.S have celiac disease, where gluten triggers antibodies that damage the small intestine.
Praising this move by FDA, Steve Hughes, CEO of Boulder Brands, which owns leading gluten-free food companies Glutino and Udi’s, says his company’s products have 10 parts per million of gluten, that is less than the new standard.
“If consumers can’t have confidence in the products long-term, it’s going to hurt the overall trend,” he said.