FDA Sets New Rules for 'Gluten-Free' Labeling

Good news for diners suffering from celiac disease, or just wanting to cut some gluten out of their life

New regulations decide what can or cannot be labeled as "gluten-free." Photo Modified: Flickr/Julie Magro

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally published a regulation defining what can and cannot be labeled as "gluten-free," helping to standardize
 what The New York Times is reporting is a $4 billion market.

New regulations have defined the term "gluten-free" to mean a food that is inherently gluten-free, or that does not include a gluten-containing grain, or an ingredient that is derived from a gluten-containing grain that hasn't been processed to remove the gluten.

If an ingredient in a food product is derived from a gluten-containing grain, but the gluten has been removed, the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Any unavoidable gluten must also be under the 20 parts per million limit.

Other terms that must abide by these rules include "no gluten," "free of gluten," and "without gluten." This change will help the some three million Americans who have celiac disease, the FDA reports, and manufacturers have a year to make necessary changes.

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Back in 2004, Congress passed a law requiring the FDA to set standards for "gluten-free" labeling; the ruling, however, does exclude foods that fall under the USDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau jurisdiction.