How Does FDA Define ‘Gluten-Free’?

On August 2, 2014 the FDA announced the definition of Gluten Free.  This will help people suffering from Celiac Disease by requiring all products labeled “Gluten Free” to operate under a uniform definition.

The following was reprinted from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

How Does FDA Define ‘Gluten-Free’?

In addition to limiting the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm, (parts per million) FDA now allows manufacturers to label a food “gluten-free” if the food does not contain any of the following:Wheat 2

  • an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the      food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten

Foods such as bottled spring water, fruits and vegetables, and eggs can also be labeled “gluten-free” if they inherently don’t have any gluten.

Under the final rule, a food label that bears the claim “gluten-free,” as well as the claims “free of gluten,” “without gluten,” and “no gluten,” but fails to meet the requirements of the rule is considered misbranded and subject to regulatory action by FDA.

According to Felicia Billingslea, director of FDA’s division of food labeling and standards, consumers should know that some foods labeled “gluten free” that are in the marketplace may have been labeled before the rule’s compliance date of August 5 2014.

Some of these foods, like pasta, have a longer shelf life and may legally remain on the shelves a little bit longer. Therefore, it is possible that stores may still be selling some foods that are labeled “gluten-free” produced before the compliance date of the final rule.

If consumers have any doubts about a product’s ingredients and whether or not the product is gluten-free, they should contact the manufacturer or check its website for more information.


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