McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 2, 2013

“Gluten-Free” Standardized on Food Labels

By LaDell Emmons
OSU Extension Educator

McALESTER — Well, it’s official.

The Food and Drug Administration has finalized the definition of the term “gluten-free” and is regulating its use on food labels.

No longer can manufacturers simply slap that label on their foods without following proper guidelines first. 

According to the FDA, “the term ‘gluten-free’ now refers to foods that are either inherently gluten-free or foods that do not contain any ingredient that is a gluten-containing gran.

This is food derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat flour). 

It is also derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat starch), if the use of the ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million or more gluten in the food”

Foods that contain an unavoidable bit of gluten must keep that presence to less than 20 ppm.

More than three million Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease, an immune reaction to gluten.  Countless others are facing gluten intolerances and sensitivities.

This labeling guideline will make it easier for them to find foods that they can eat safely.

Since there are no pharmaceutical cures or treatments for celiac disease, the only way to live with the disease comfortably is to avoid all gluten.

These guidelines will help make that easier for everyone who cannot eat gluten.

Manufacturers will have one year to get everything up to speed and comply with the regulations.

These guidelines only apply to FDA-regulated foods and dietary supplements.

Note that this new rule does not apply to foods labeled by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

For more information, visit www.fda.gov or in Pittsburg County, call 918-423-4120 or log ontowww.oces.okstate.edu/pittsburg.

LaDell Emmons is the Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for the Pittsburg County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service contact her at ladell.emmons@okstate.edu.