As part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, the Food and Drug Administration must establish a rule for the voluntary labeling of foods as “gluten-free” by 2008. A proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2007. To read the entire posting go to¬†http://tinyurl.com/ydwmok2

According to the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule for the gluten-free labeling of food, a food may be labeled “gluten-free” if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The food does not contain a prohibited grain, such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.

2. The food does not contain an ingredient derived from a prohibited grain that has not been processed to remove gluten, such as farina, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and barley malt flavoring.

3. If the food contains an ingredient derived from a prohibited grain that has been processed to remove gluten, such as wheat starch or modified food starch, use of that ingredient in the food product may not result in the food product containing 20 parts per million or more gluten.

4. The food product contains less than 20 parts per million gluten.

What this means

Once this rule becomes finalized, a product labeled “gluten-free” and sold in the U.S. will contain less than 20 parts per million gluten–this applies to oats, gluten-free foods made using wheat starch and wheat starch hydrolysates (e.g., wheat-based maltodextrin, wheat-based dextrin, wheat-based glucose syrup), and foods made using naturally gluten-free ingredients that may contain gluten through cross contact (i.e., contamination). This rule also applies to imported foods. If imported foods are labeled “gluten-free” they must comply with FDA regulations, including containing less than 20 parts per million gluten.

If you are curious about what 20 parts per million means, click on “How much gluten is 20 parts per million?” on the Newsletter page at www.glutenfreedietitian.com.

FDA Gluten-Free Labeling