What To Expect From Gluten-Free Labels

Gluten FreeLast week, the Food and Drug Administration defined 20 parts per million as the gluten limit found in products, which have the gluten-free label. The purpose of the new ruling was to protect consumers, suffering from celiac disease and this limit the FDA agreed to implement was close to the level Canada and the European Union previously enforced. Zintro experts discuss how the new ruling will affect consumer confidence.

According to health and wellness brand manager, Heidi Diller, gluten-free labels were unregulated for a long time, putting those that need it the most in danger. “It’s about time! Up until now, many people were confused on what constituted a gluten-free claim. I found that some food manufacturers thought that gluten-free just meant wheat-free, and many were unaware of how cross contamination at the production facility could produce a risk to the gluten free shopper,” Diller explains. “Even at the grocery store, we found it was important to merchandize gluten-free products away from the normal baking products aisle as many sensitive gluten-free shopper were afraid of even touching packaging that could have ‘flour dust’ on the product from nearby bags of flour.” On the other hand, Diller suggests third party lab support to test manufacturers’ products, which will guarantee food safety. “The new regulations will keep celiac disease and gluten sensitive consumers safe, but education is needed. We will need to educate food manufacturers and consumers what this really means. How will it be regulated? What labs are available to ensure the rules are being met,” adds Diller. “This new certification will help not only make gluten-free shopping easier for the consumer, but it will also raise the bar for gluten-free manufacturers to produce a clean product, thus increasing consumer confidence in the end.”

Consultant dietitian, Catherine M. Des Ruisseau is very excited about the recent FDA standard for gluten free labeling. “When a client suffers from celiac disease, it is sometimes life threatening if they consume too much gluten. They must know exactly how much gluten is contained in the food they eat. The new ruling will significantly lower the amount of gluten exposure,” notes Ruisseau. “For those suffering from celiac disease, who have to spend numerous hours reading labels, investigating ingredients and sometimes calling food manufacturers, the new ruling will reduce the amount of time spent on selecting foods and also give them the confidence that the food will not worsen their health. As for a dietitian, it is also reassuring to know our clients will experience fewer symptoms and have better control of their gluten intake.”

As registered dietitian, Grace Farfaglia highlights, the new rule for gluten-free labeling was welcome news throughout the celiac community. “Currently, shopping for someone with celiac disease or a wheat allergy is so difficult and when you mistakingly get ‘glutened’, it can lead to several days, or in some cases, months of poor health,” Farfaglia explains. “Hopefully, food companies who will certify their products to put the gluten-free designation on the label will enrich their products with iron and B vitamins. That will be a big boost to the health of the gluten intolerant consumer.”

By Idil Kan

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