Starting August 5, 2014, the FDA put out a ruling officially defining the Gluten-Free labeling we see on food. Legally it will mean less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten added intentionally by the manufacturer or cross contamination that might happen during the processing or handling of the product.
The labeling rule only applies to those companies that want the “gluten-free” label on their products. It’s important to know that meat, poultry, fish and eggs do not fall under this ruling. You must continue to check the labels before buying them. Prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, make-up, personal care products and cleaning products also are not covered.
It is important to note that there were no specific testing requirements outlined. At this point, the FDA does not have plans for specific factory inspections nor require companies to keep records of their testing results. The manufacturers are responsible for testing.
While this is a step in the right direction, some people still react to foods that do contain even smaller amounts of gluten. There are a variety of independent gluten-free organizations which have been certifying products as gluten-free and the ruling doesn’t affect them at all. These include:
- CSA Recognition Seal through the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA)-food must test under 5 ppm
- Gluten-Free Certification Organization (CFCO) through the Gluten Intolerance Group- under 10 ppm
- QAI Gluten Free Certification through Quality Assurance International (QAI)- under 10 ppm
While this ruling is a great first step, it is best to keep manufactured gluten-free foods to a bare minimum and focus on naturally gluten-free, nutrient dense, real food including fresh produce, local (if you can) meat and poultry, unadulterated fish and seafood and healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats.