New FDA Definition of “Gluten-Free”

According to the researcher Packaged Facts, the gluten-free food market in the USA will grown from $4.2 billion in 2012 to $6.6 by 2017. Although less than 1% of Americans have the disorder that would require a completely gluten-free diet, close to 1 in 3 people will abstain from gluten according to the trend watcher NDP Group. An analyst at Rabobank, a Dutch bank that is a global leader in Food and Agri-financing, has commented that, “Consumers, rightly or wrongly, have made a connection between gluten-free and healthy..Grain companies are hoping this trend crashes and burns sooner rather than later. But any trend is a marketing opportunity.”

Up until now an official definition of what qualifies a food item as gluten-free hasn’t existed. The Food and Drug Administration has now created an official definition to make those suffering from celiac disease and others who try to abstain from gluten products easier to identify. Packaged foods will be considered gluten-free if they contain less than 20 parts of the protein per million per kilogram; this is the smallest quantity that can be measured reliably and the FDA claims 95% of food that is labeled as such meets this criterion. This rule, however, does not apply to alcohol or beer, nor does it apply to restaurants but the FDA is trying to encourage more and more restaurant chains to meet the specific standards of a public-health service.

There is no new logo or FDA label for the gluten-free products that manufacturers have to use, it suffices that a variation of the words “gluten-free” appear on the FDA approved package. To read more about how the new FDA definition of gluten-free products will impact manufacturers and consumers alike, click here


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