Now, thanks to the FDA's decision, in order for companies to use the term "gluten-free" on a food or food product label, the food must meet all the requirements of the definition and contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This applies to similarly worded claims such as "free of gluten," "without gluten" and "no gluten."
"Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "The FDA's new 'gluten-free' definition will help people with this condition make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health."
A recent survey conducted by Glutino (the 2013 Glutino Survey for Gluten-Free Labeling) revealed that one in five Americans lives, or know someone who lives, a gluten-free lifestyle, and 86 percent of consumers have seen gluten-free products offered in their supermarkets. Glutino and Udi's are gluten-free brands owned by Boulder Brands. "We are thrilled by the FDA's decision to regulate gluten-free labeling, something Glutino and Udi's have been supporting for several years," said TJ McIntyre, executive vice president for Boulder Brands.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine's lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients. This can cause reactions like bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, pain and other symptoms.
The FDA notes that up to 3 million Americans have celiac disease, which is only managed effectively by eating a gluten-free diet.
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