Defining Gluten-Free

In 2004, Congress told the FDA it had until 2008 to officially define the meaning of “gluten-free.” Well, it’s 2011, and the FDA still hasn’t defined what it means to be gluten-free. So what happens when you miss a Congressional deadline? Apparently not much, because I haven’t heard anything about Congress punishing the FDA for its lack of regulatory guidance. However, the lack of gluten-free regulation may be dangerous to the millions of Americans with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, as some food companies are labeling their products as gluten-free even though they contain small amounts of gluten. While there is no official definition from the FDA, the agency does provide a “Questions and Answers” page about gluten-free labeling.

Photo by Kirti Poddar on Flickr


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