The comment period is now closed on the matter of the gluten-free labeling rule. Back in August, the FDA reopened the comments on the gluten-free food labeling rule. The comments were open for a period of 60 days to allow consumers to weigh in on this important subject. Now comes the waiting.
The problem is that there is a lot of information to consider. Are levels below 20 ppm low enough to ensure those with Celiac Disease are safe? If it is decided that those levels aren’t low enough, then what is low enough – 5ppm, 10ppm? Are there reliable tests to detect levels that low? I have been doing a lot of reading on this and it is enough to confuse anyone. It seems as if part of the issue is that it many not be the concentration of gluten in a product, but the daily consumption. For example, If a piece of bread is “gluten-free” with levels of gluten falling below 20 ppm, but one consumes 6 pieces of bread/day, is that too much gluten? So does that mean that the labeling needs to specify that each serving contains less than 20 ppm? To read more about the issues that need to be addressed, click here. The FDA hopes to publish a rule within 3 months of the comment period closing.
It will be easier to decipher labels in the grocery store if there is a rule finalized by the FDA. It will also be easier for those new to the gluten-free diet to learn the ropes. But, bottom line is that those with Celiac Disease need to stick to a gluten-free diet. It is easy to get caught up in what “gluten-free” means. Some people feel comfortable eating foods from mainstream manufacturers that don’t have any added gluten ingredients, while others only feel comfortable eating foods that come from a manufacturer with a dedicated gluten-free facility. Another option is to eat only whole foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits, vegetables and unprocessed meats.
What are your thoughts on this?