The FDA's new gluten free labeling standards took effect today. Now, if a product is labeled "gluten free," that label will actually carry some weight.
Twenty parts per million of gluten: that's the maximum amount that a particular packaged food can contain and still carry the label of "gluten free" under the FDA's new definition.
"Well it really just sets a standard," said Jennifer Gorman, a Dietitian and Wellness Manager at United Supermarkets. "You've got people kind of monitoring this with food manufacturers, so they are going to have to uphold that standard."
For people with Celiac disease, foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, can severely damage the small intestine. Now, with the new labeling regulations, people that suffer from Celiac disease can feel a bit safer at the supermarket.
"Before, if it said gluten free, it could contain 200 or 300 parts per million which is not deemed safe," explained Stacey Geer, the Coordinator of the Wichita Falls Gluten Free Expo. "So it's nice to know that if I go to the grocery store and it says gluten free, it does meet that requirement."
The rule also mandates foods with the claims "no gluten," "without gluten," or "free of gluten" to meet the definition for "gluten free." and even though this measure has taken a while to materialize, Geer says the FDA definition is a major breakthrough.
"I think its still a huge step, for people on a gluten free diet that we finally do have a standardized labeling. Its taken years to get this far, and a major petition campaign to get the FDA to even address it, so I think it's a huge step."