Buyers, no longer beware! The FDA is prepared to issue a standard label for gluten-free foods, meaning those suffering from celiac disease can finally breathe easy at the grocery store.
Currently, there is no definition in place for what constitutes "gluten free" foods, so manufacturers are left to their own devices when it comes to labeling, and it turns out they're not always so honest (just ask this guy). “There’s no way for those with celiac to know if that brand of crackers they’re buying is really gluten-free,’’ dietician Linda Antinoro told the Globe. “'A company can define it as 100 parts per million,’ a high enough level to trigger cramping, diarrhea, and intestinal inflammation in some celiac sufferers."
Under the new guidelines, officials are proposing that products (think cookies, breads, pastas, etc.) that claim to be "gluten free" contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten, a level small enough that it can't be detected by standard lab tests. The new labels are expected to be put into effect next year.
Although gluten labeling measures have been proposed before, this marks the first time the FDA has done much of anything for the legions of celiac disease-sufferers across the country. Go forth, gluten-intolerants, and purchase your Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers with confidence!