LYNDHURST, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE) — On August 2, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a new regulation that defines the term “gluten-free” in terms of voluntary food labeling. The law requires that any product labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million gluten. Dr. Schar USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Italy-based Dr. Schar AG/SPA, the global leader in gluten-free food, and the gluten-free community are fully supportive of such regulations and applaud the decision.
According to Donna George, President and COO of Dr. Schar USA, “Most importantly, the regulation works toward protecting the health of the core consumer we serve, those with special diets that require gluten-free food.”
To fully understand the impact of the new FDA regulation and communicate its implications, Dr. Schar, USA consulted with its own Director of Nutritional Services, Anne Roland Lee MSEd, RD, LD, who is an expert in the field and who herself has celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disease that can only be effectively managed with a 100% compliance to a gluten-free diet.
Anne has carefully studied the recently published regulation and is an invaluable resource in breaking down what it really means to the estimated 1 in 100 Americans who have celiac disease. The following are answers to some frequently asked questions she has recently received from consumers:
Q.Anne, what does the FDA Gluten Free Labeling Law mean to you?
A. The new FDA ruling is a big step forward in protecting the safety of the gluten free consumer. The FDA law requires any product labeled gluten free to be under 20 ppm which is the level the scientific community has determined is safe and measurable.
The law will regulate that any food or product labeled gluten-free now has a national standard to meet. But as with any new law, there are always questions and concerns on how the law will directly affect the foods you purchase.
Q.What foods will be covered by the new FDA law?
A. Any manufactured food product regulated by the FDA (those regulated by USDA are not covered) as well as any dietary supplements and any imported FDA regulated foods.
Under the regulation naturally gluten free products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, sport drinks, and canned fruits or vegetables may be labeled gluten-free.
Q. Does the new ruling require manufacturers to test their products?
A. While the new law does not specify which test to use, nor require the testing of ingredients or the finished product to be labeled gluten-free, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to assure the safety of their products for their consumers. Many manufacturers, like Schar, already test their raw ingredients and finished product and will continue to maintain this level of safety for their consumers.
Q. Will I need to look for a certification or specialized label?
A. No the simple label of “gluten-free” is all the consumer needs to look for on a product. But remember that manufacturers have until August of 2014 to comply with the new legislation, so until then continue to read ingredient labels and look for products manufactured in dedicated facilities to assure the gluten-free safety of the product until the ruling is enacted into law.
For more information on the FDA’s announcement, visit: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069