"[The new regulation] requires that, in order to use the term 'gluten-free' on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims 'no gluten,' 'free of gluten,' and 'without gluten' to meet the definition for 'gluten-free.' "
So what does this mean?
2. New definition still allows for very small amount of gluten. The FDA explains that "most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten" so the new definition requires that foods labeled "gluten-free" contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Here, registered dietitian Tricia Thompson, MS, RD explains how much 20 parts per million really is.
3. Food manufacturers have one year to comply, with the new definition, from the date the regulation was published.
4. New rule not designed for people with wheat allergy. The "gluten-free" definition allows for a very small amount of gluten in a food product and should not be used to help manage a wheat allergy or other food allergy, which can be potentially fatal. Current law requires that if any of the 8 major food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans) are present in a food, they must be listed, using their common name, in either the ingredients statement or a "contains" statement.
5. We all still need to know how to read a food label. Regardless of the various claims we may read on a food package (e.g., "gluten-free," "low sodium" or "calcium builds strong bones") everyone should learn how to also read the nutrition facts panel on that food. Check out Reading Food Nutrition Labels from the American Heart Association.
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