Breaking News from Cooking2Thrive: FINALLY – A Standard for Gluten-Free Labeling!

If you’ve seen the news today, you know that The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has finally determined its definition of gluten-free. Following a previously accepted standard in Europe and consistent with the Codex Alimentarius labeling guidelines of the World Health Organization, all food labeled gluten-free in the US one year from now must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten.

While this has been a long time coming (a standard was first proposed in 2007) a uniform measurement requirement for labels is good news for those with Celiac Disease as well as the gluten-intolerant. For the next year in the US, it will still be necessary to read the list of ingredients on products displaying a gluten-free label to make sure that there are no questionable items listed. After that, less vigilance will be required to feel assured that your risk of exposure is low when consuming a product bearing a gluten-free label.

It will be interesting to see whether this labeling standard will remain in place for the long term. After using the standard of labeling any product with 200 mg gluten/kg or 20 ppm as gluten-free for over 25 years, in 2008 the European Union revised its labeling to a dual standard. The two categories are:

1)Foods containing less than 20 ppm gluten – labeled as gluten-free

2)Foods that contain 21 – 100 ppm gluten – labeled as very low gluten

As more research emerges, it may be beneficial to change our standard as well. Hopefully, having now established a definition of gluten-free will make any future revisions go much faster. For now, let’s just celebrate this progress with a big bowl of ice cream and, perhaps, a piece of flourless cake!




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