FDA launches new gluten free rules

Aug 5, 2013

Produce aisle of grocery store
Credit File Photo / KBIA

Walk down a grocery store aisle or open a restaurant menu.

Gluten-free labels are everywhere.

Gluten is a starchy protein compound found in products made from wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives dough a chewy texture. But up until this point, there has been little oversight on what qualifies as gluten-free and what doesn’t.

"There were companies who were trying to jump on the bandwagon without really understanding the health ramifications of labeling something gluten free for something that wasn’t truly safe," said  Cynthia Kupper. She runs the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, which advocated for the new standard. The rule is meant to protect the 3 million Americans who have celiac disease, an intestinal autoimmune condition. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's rule has been years in the making, and mirrors similar labeling requirements for gluten-free products in Europe.

The FDA is giving food companies a year to make sure their labels fit the new standard.