WILL FDA GLUTEN FREE LABELS LEAD TO MISGUIDED TRUST?

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Celiacs and Gluten Free folks around the country rejoiced this week when the FDA finally defined rules for the term “Gluten Free” under petition.

This past week, the Federal Food and Drug Administration released official guidelines to regulate the use of the term “Gluten Free” on strictly voluntary labels on foods and drugs regulated by the FDA.

Will this lead to more problems than it solves?

A reliable source in the gluten free community points out that blind belief in labels is dangerous.

“The idea of a product being mis-branded in today’s day and age is commonplace and rampant. There is hardly any policing, and this can lead to bigger issues when it comes to your health,” says this well known doctor who asked to remain unnamed.

The same cat and mouse game played between manufacturers and the government with all labels, will most certainly exist with this labeling law too.

The big problem boils down to rule routing and enforcement. As with all FDA Label Laws, it’s all on the honor system and the fear among industry thought leaders is that this will lead to mislabeled products, and ultimately rampant “glutening” through “misplaced faith in a broken system.”

Let’s consider some talking points.

1) The FDA rule does not apply to any foods that are not regulated by the FDA, and imports are rarely checked.
2) The rule makes no requirement for gluten testing of products on store shelves.
3) The rule does not cover cosmetics, unregulated supplements, drugs, and other personal care products.
4) The rule does not define any advertising, promotional materials or web sites.
5) The rule is very vague on the matter of cross contamination.
6) The rule doesn’t apply to restaurants in the same way.

Let’s also consider how mis-labeling is handled.

The FDA’s enforcement arm is generally involved only if a specific number of people are seriously injured in a specific, short time frame. To make matters worse, in the world of Celiac, it’s possible to argue that contamination was entered at any point beyond the rule’s definition, such as a consumer accidentally ingesting gluten from a different source.

As with all FDA Labeling laws, there is a complaint system in place, however it could be very difficult to prove validity of complaints.

Further, in order for the FDA to do anything about a mislabeled product, it must first make a determination that mislabeling has occurred. This is a lengthy and tax expensive process that can take several years provided no death has occurred.

The process goes a little something like this.

1) Complaints are collected.
2) If complaints regarding a product pile up, the FDA will send the company a letter notifying them of the complaints, probably with a small threat for a reply.
3) If the FDA is satisfied with the response, the buck stops there, possibly with a warning issued.
4) If complaints continue to pour in and the FDA decides to investigate, they now have the burden of proof on their shoulders.
5) The FDA will purchase the product from a specific number of sample sites (stores around the country) and they will test the product themselves.
6) If the product is deemed misbranded, they will again contact the company and request voluntary action from the maker. Such as issuing a statement, changing practices, offering refunds and the like. This could possibly come along with a small fine, but not always.
7) The FDA still has no right to pull products from store shelves. In order to do this, the FDA must go to Federal court and PROVE that any product causes immediate grave bodily harm or death, a process that can take years.

With The FDA under fire this year, having misbranded cases vacated by the 2nd Circuit courts in 2013 and a $3 Billion Dollar penalty imposed by the FDA tossed right out of the window. It was aptly said to be “death knell for label enforcement” as the legal underpinnings were called into serious question.

With multiple legal and civil lawsuits in the “billions of dollars” range, it might be tough to call further attention to any gluten-free issues.

In the meantime, one mislabeled gluten free product could have adverse effects on thousands of people country wide.

As one of the gluten-free thought leaders in the United States, I personally would encourage you to continue to investigate products and companies alike on your own, and use your very best judgement skills that you have already developed. We all know that once Big Corporate thinks they have you in a comfortable spot of faith in the system, they can begin to wildly abuse it.

The companies that are “doing it right” currently, will of course remain the ones “doing it right” in the future.

And this is in no way a bash at the FDA, they did EXACTLY what you have been asking for.

The question is, what door does this open for the Monsanto’s of the world??

What do YOU think? Was this rule it into place just to placate those of use fighting for true regulatory action, or does it truly fix all the labeling problems??

Comments

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  2. Ann says

    I am sick and tired of all the new ways companies can add new chemicals, flavor enhancers, etc. to make food “better”.” How can you improve on real foods? When I was a child, we made everything from “scratch.” It was good, and a good experience to know where food came from and how meals were made from sometimes the most simple of ingredients or foods. now foods are being genetically modified, so one does not even know if one is eating “real” food. It is almost impossible to escape genetically modified foods unless one grows them using heirloom seeds. As a child in the 50′s, I was not gluten sensitive, but I am now, thanks to all the genetic modification and all the stuff that is added to basic foods. The big companies think this new food is great and want everybody to eat it and also the grain fed meat, poultry, and fish (farmed). I only eat single foods now and only those that I know where they came from. How I long for the real food and a piece of homemade chocolate cake as it would have been prepared and baked as it was in the early 50′s! “Progress” is not always better.

  3. linda says

    thank you for sending this article to us. i dont like the fda and i havent for many years. every time you turn around there is something else in our foods and products that we use. they just dont care. i am so afraid to go out to eat havent been in restaurant now for at least three years or more. they tell you oh it is safe to eat than with in a short time the pain begins. they dont check thing out like they should i think they just dont care about us. every thing is about how much money they make not on caring about people. and in the market i read every label you just dont know ,you have to be so carefull . feel so badly for people with young children with celiac, the prices are up there but i know that these foods are so important to our health. i truly wish we could trust the fda but to me it is just a dream.

  4. Lynda says

    I don’t trust the FDA period. Regardless, the American people believe that if something is on the market like foods, chemicals, body products etc., then it must be safe or the FDA wouldn’t allow it. I have fought that argument too many times with people. People are too lazy to do research or to read labels. I watch people walk down aisles and toss things into their cart without stopping, let alone reading labels. Almost everyone will tell you that low calorie must mean low fat, and low fat must mean low calorie. They don’t understand low fat means higher sugar, because companies compensate for perceived taste. I can go on and on. Bottom line, labels only matter to people who read them, and then they only really matter to people who do research and educate themselves on what labels mean, what all those strange words mean.

    Misleading stores and salespeople will give misinformation to the public if it means they will make a buck or keep a job. I have had enough experiences with salespeople in stores who swear they are showing me something that is gluten-free when I know it isn’t.

    • SFSandy says

      “PREACH!!”

      I don’t trust any of these companies, who have been manufacturing crap for years, who suddenly come out with a “Gluten Free” line of products. I will continue to frequent companies who produce healthy products in dedicated facilities that are Certified GF. Sorry if I sound jaded but I’ve been burned too many times.

      #trustlessreadmore

    • Carol says

      Why does the FDA allow “non-food” product in our food? Period. No wonder allergies have increased. Our bodies do not recognize chemicals as food. Our bodies feel like they are under attack.

  5. Martie Schoener says

    Fankly, I don’t trust the FDA with much these days. Their standards are so skewed by the lobby’s they get from various companies. I do not trust their labels and I do not trust them to make decisions regarding my health.

  6. Carol says

    Jay,
    So good to meet you and your products. Fairly new to my gluten sensitivity (November 2011), I have certainly had a looooong learning curve, and often, sometimes, very painful. Allergist insists on going back on gluten to confirm what I discovered on my own. And that is the way of the gluten free industry. The new “ruling”, in my opinion, perpetuates the gluten free “minefield” each of encounter on a daily basis. So, the only way to eat safely is to be informed. So, I suggest, reading up on everything you can find, test (within reason) to live a comfortable life. What I’ve learned: 1) If you eat out, call ahead and talk with someone at the restaurant who knows their stuff. If no one knows, pass on that restaurant. 2) Eating out at a friend or relative’s home can be tricky, but at least you have the cook to ask about their ingredients. If that’s not comfortable, go with what you know.
    I say, “Fooey on the FDA.” Trust someone in Washington with my body???? Probably not a good idea.

  7. Annie says

    I do not trust labels…period….I read the ingredients….and still stay to simple ,basic….clean foods…I just feel better…and it id worth it….there is too much today associating Gluten-free with fad diets to reduce the belly and not really for celiacs…..I just rather be safe than sorry…and as far as eating out…I am lucky to live in the Sarasota area…and have found great places to eat, where the chef is a celiac…how cool is that!!!!

  8. sarah says

    I think people are focusing on the wrong issue with this legislation. NO test can detect to a level of 0ppm but you want the FDA to require something that the technology has not yet been developed to do. The issue is that even if the FDA said 0ppm they are not requiring testing at all. It is simply up to the company to verify that their product meets the 20ppm standard set because that is the lowest point of accuracy current tests can handle. And to be clear this is all any company including leaders in the industry can currently guarantee for their products.

    • danni says

      Sarah, then the label shouldn’t read “gluten free”. It should read “contains 20ppm of gluten”. I should have a right to choose if my body or my child’s body can withstand even this amount.

  9. Anna says

    Just so everyone knows; the reason for the <20PPM is that is the limit for the current tests. The tests cannot detect NO GLUTEN. Since 100% gluten free foods can only be scored as <20PPM, it became a theory that all foods that test <20PPM are free of gluten, and therefore safe for a celiac.

    Yeah, this is a head scratcher.

    I get around this by eating fresh, one ingredient foods. Generally, if what I eat is more than one ingredient it is because I whipped something up. Having said that, I must confess, I eat a cracker or two from safe manufacturers, like Glutino, because I can't always get up off my sorry ass and make myself something. I go out to eat rarely. I am mystified by celiac bloggers who write about their bad experience when they have gone out to eat, and then when you call them on their poor choices they defend themselves by saying "Well, everyone goes out to eat! Why shouldn't I?" "Um! Because you are special!"

    Since Corporate Cronies have taken over our governance there is an even greater need to watch out for ourselves.

    • SFSandy says

      I agree with you. As a fellow-Celiac, I find it’s just safer (not necessarily easier) to prepare my own foods, in my own GF home. Keeping it clean and simple is the way to go. Lots more fruits and veggies, yadda, yadda… I have friends who cook GF for me, but their homes aren’t GF and the risk for cross-contamination is always present. I find it easier for them to come eat at my house. That way, I know what I’m getting hasn’t been accidentally contaminated.

      #homebody

  10. Ashley Teague says

    I’ve said It before and I’ll say it again. There is not a single person you can trust over your own health besides yourself. The FDA approves of a lot of things that are not right! For an example in apple juice the FDA limits the amount of inorganic arsenic to 10 parts per billion..when It shouldn’t be there AT ALL! So read labels carefully and do your own research. I don’t really think that this will change a lot for everyone. People have been getting by just fine by taking care of themselves. It’s a pain to have to read labels but ultimately it’s what’s best. If you have a severe allergy to gluten obviously just make sure there is no gluten or gluten ingredients in what you are about to ingest plus if your allergy is bad enough I’d say even make sure it’s from a dedicated gluten free facility to eliminate the problem of cross contamination (I think pretty much everyone knows that though). As far as I go…I choose to basically make everything myself to insure all ingredients are safe…it’s time consuming but way more gratifying, tasty and then I know I don’t have to worry.

  11. Gin says

    Posting directly from an email I sent Jay last night: honestly, I have never held much stock in anything coming from the FDA. My personal opinion/experience is that the FDA is in the pockets of drug companies/monsanto and care only for the almighty dollar. This was further proven to me when Obama appointed a former MONSANTO head as a leading member of the FDA. (I am mid pain spike so his name and actual position escapes me)

    I could say so much more on the topic here, but I imagine that you would be reading for days.

    When I asked my pain management doc if cutting glutens and inflammatory foods from my already strict vegan diet might help with my symptoms from the CRPS (swelling, turning purple, pain spikes) he basically told me I was stupid to even ask. I cut them out anyway and the swelling and color changes have drastically reduced (though sadly not the pain yet). At that point, my doctor said my results were impossible and attempted to back track on his diagnosis (which he has since flipped on again and reconfirmed). So the FDA and the medical establishment…I don’t hold a lot of faith in what they say. I do my own research and from there make my choices.

    It is unfortunate, but as the politicians used to tell me when I worked at the White House years ago. ‘Washington doesn’t care about you (meaning the citizens) unless we can make money off of you’

    The sad fact is that we are individually best off being our own researchers/doctors (to a degree)/dietitians etc. that is the biggest lesson we can all learn I think from these crazy political times.

    My final thoughts are that with the abundance of information available via the Internet and the greed of our society, we cannot afford to be sheeple. Ignorance is no excuse for bad health/inaction etc anymore. We must be our own investigators. My experience with CRPS has taught me that every BODY is different and what works for you may not work for anyone else. Finally in regards to Monsanto/the FDA consider this: monsanto’s GMO products have been banned in so many other countries. Last count I saw was around 100 countries. Why are they legal here? We don’t know what harm they may cause and have no proof that they are good for us. In terms if makeup/skincare – which can also contain food grade ingredients – the skin absorbs upwards of 60% of what we put on it. I want my products to be TRULY gluten toxin and GMO free…don’t you?

  12. Barb says

    its not really gf if it is <20ppm. it needs to be zero. i get sick at the tiniest bit. And the companies who claim something is gf when it is processed in a facility that processes wheat, still makes me angry. I won't touch it. It is not safe and it is not truly gf when they are sharing equipment. I don't care how much they say they have cleaning procedures in place. And the FDA doesn't care about us. Look at the drugs they have allowed in this country that cause all kinds of problems. And they don't regulate cosmetics. They are killing us with the gluten. It is in everything. And what do you hear everywhere is "eat more whole grains, 100% whole wheat. And people believe them. You really do have to be your own advocate. I learned that years ago. I had a doctor try to tell me I had a urinary tract infection, because she didn't know what else to tell me. The culture came back and guess what, I DIDN'T have a uti. I took the gluten out of my diet that day and starting feeling better right away. All we can do is rely on the companies we can trust and continue to read ALL labels. That is the life of someone with celiac or gluten intolerance.

  13. Danni says

    Jay,
    I feel betrayed once again by an agency of OUR government. What part of gluten “free” means 20ppm of gluten is “free” of gluten? Does that mean they’re going to re-write the dictionary’s definition of “FREE”???

  14. ES says

    The FDA is NOT our friend. There was an expose’ about how money was paid under the table to get various drugs approved.

    Anybody who thinks that the FDA is here to protect us is very naïve.

  15. Joanne says

    I have NO trust in the governments ability to keep us safe. They have enough problems trying to keep medications safe; look at all the liability issues drug companies have with prescription medications that the FDA deems “safe”, only to find out a few years down the road that people are gravely harmed or dying as a result! I don’t believe that there are enough people diagnosed with Celiac Disease, nor enough money to be made in it’s treatment, for the government to truly care about our health and welfare. We need to look out for ourselves, because there are not enough reputable companies willing to do it for us, never mind the FDA!!!

  16. Steph says

    I realize that there are a lot of issues with this labeling, but I feel that the FDA has to start somewhere, and at the very extreme least, this IS a start.

  17. B. says

    I just want to say that I have a hard time believing ANYTHING the government has to say these days…about gluten or anything else. I feel our system is broken. Sorry to be so blunt!!
    Thanks,
    Bobbie

  18. S. says

    Hi Jay – I just read the article and it sounds to me the labeling is more loosely defined rather than mislabeled. In line with the end of your article, I think we need to practice due diligence and make educated decisions. The FDA is not a source I would ever rely on.

    I feel most of the population has become too dependent on organizations and government to protect them and insure the right thing is being done for them. The best thing we can do is continue to educate and inform which brings empowerment and continue to offer new products such as yours, which gives people freedom; freedom of choice.

    Thank you for all you do! –

  19. Mary Lee says

    Having been a celiac for 22 years and a RN for 21, I read every label of everything I eat, drink, put on my body, etc. One does have to be his or her own aggressive (at times) advocate. I had celiac without symptoms – just by chance, the MD thought he should go down and take a look – sure enough -up high in the first part of the small intestine – MD said the rest of intestine probably compensated.

    Cosmetics wise – I’ve had problems with oils, fragrance and cosmetic reactions that go back into my teens. I use no products with any of the offenders. Medication wise – being a nurse helps; my pharmacy is a gluten-free watchdog for my needs in that area.

    The buck also speaks to companies – don’t buy the product and/or call the “800″” number to register your concern.

    Unfortunately, there is a lot of misleading information online but also good information. If I may mention two magazines I have subscribed to since their inception – Gluten Free Living and Living Without. Excellent publications.

    Gluten-free diets are touted as cure alls – those of us with celiac, gluten sensitivity, etc. are good resources not only to ourselves but to others.

    Thanks, Jay, for the great information. I just finished your book about the toxins in cosmetics – every word rings true.

  20. Debby says

    I don’t think it solves the labeling problems since imported products are not put into consideration. The rule does not cover testing of products on shelf, so there could be gluten in the products and yet the labels will read “gluten free” and this makes the rule of no effect until stringent rules are put in place to protect the consumers.

  21. jen says

    It’s a step, but it’s way to late in my opinion. I’m a celiac who has major issues with gluten. Like a prior writer wrote, I stick with the basics, single ingredient foods. Vegies, Fruit and Meat.

  22. Belle says

    Gluten is gluten, no matter how “little”. FDA needs to realize how serious the consequences may be and to get wit it. Keep up the good work and continue to inform the public of the situation.

  23. Belle says

    Gluten is gluten, no matter how “little” . FDA needs to get with it and realize how serious the consequences may be. Keep up the good work and informing the public of the situation

  24. RC says

    Sorry Jodi, but the FDA is there to protect the interests of Agribusiness & Big Pharma, NOT to protect the public. Do you really think an agency that approves drugs like Vioxx & Lipitor, lets the drug companies sell them for years & make billions doing it , then suddenly tells the public “Woops! Vioxx causes heart attacks. Lipitor causes diabetes. Better stop taking them.” is an agency that’s here to help you?

    Anyone who can end up hospitalized after consuming <20ppm of gluten should be preparing all their own food at home — period. No gov't agency can guarantee that something you eat won't harm you when you have allergies/sensitivities. Commercially-prepared foods may be labeled gluten-free (I've even see bottled water labeled GF, which proves it's become just another marketing tool), but there's always the chance that one of the ingredients in whatever it is you're buying was processed at the same factory where wheat or peanuts or fill-in-your-allergy was processed. How can you expect a big commercial food operation to guarantee that not one spec of gluten willl be in something they've labeled GF?

    Less than 20ppm is the Medical Standard for gluten-free. You can't expect the gov't to hold food manufacturers to a higher standard than it requires for drug manufacturers.

  25. Diana says

    I’m so glad you’re on top of this. I don’t think the FDA realizes just how many people nationally have Celiac disease and the other diseases it can lead to if people are unaware or continue to be exposed to gluten. Not only does it make us sick, it can eventually kill us. We trust what is on the labels, but I do know that some are not telling us the truth because I too as many others have eaten something that is labeled gluten free and have gotten very sick. I feel nothing is safe anymore and the FDA has failed us. I’m beginning to wonder what they’re good for because they obviously aren’t doing their job. I thank Red Apple and trust your products. I am truly grateful. It’s hard to believe that we live in America and cannot trust the labels for the foods we are ingesting. Maybe it’s time for all of us who suffer to speak out and rebel. I know I am now only eating certified unprocessed organic foods. I feel the FDA MUST step in and do there job and protect the consumers and restore our trust in them.

    Thank you Red Apple for keeping us informed,

    Diana

  26. Kimberly says

    I call the new companies from which I purchase. You can ask Jay about the grillin’ I gave him about gluten and soy…. I am extremely allergic to soy as well. He patiently answered all my questions and I purchased his lipstick and have been very pleased…. Zero medical reaction but lots of positive reaction from family and friends. ;)
    I feel that the “Gluten free” labeling will be misleading and one must be increasingly astute to read not only the label but also notice what is NOT mentioned. Well-meaning friends could grab the product and think they are helping you and yet have unintentionally harmed you because of misleading labeling. I become very ill, let alone my throat begins to close with any gluten contact, so the 20ppm is not an option. I have chosen to make many things from scratch with flours from a grinding bakery which is dedicated gluten free building. For individuals like me, where gluten was instrumental in the death of my sister, I believe I could not accept the label at face value. We must be our own advocates and make our own choices no matter the difficulty so we may walk strong, healthier and wise.

  27. Carol Morgan says

    I suppose my comment comes from a different perspective than some of these
    others. For 10 years I owned a sugar-less bakery which made a few gluten free
    products. I was a small company and the lengths I went to in order to insure
    no contamination was huge yet I doubt I achieved my goal of 100% gluten free.
    People concerned about my processes did call and I went over my procedures
    with them very carefully. But it was a facility that baked both with and without
    gluten. A restaurant would have much the same problems. For the life of me
    I can’t figure out how any pizza restaurant manages to produce gluten free
    pizza in the same facility producing regular pizza. The challenges are immense. I suppose I could have refrained from trying but it was clear
    the need and demand was there – this was 1993 – 2003 before there were
    gluten free products on every shelf. So an answer is bake everything yourself
    at home – which is not always so practical in our fast paced world with so
    many people not even knowing how to cook. To that end I am attempting
    to write yet another gluten free cookbook – this one focusing on teaching
    kids and young adults how to go about it! There is no answer in expecting
    the FDA’s new rule to fix the problems. There are simply too many. I
    applaud people who take the time to research every item before they eat it.
    GMO is as deadly and it is not labeled! To have a labeling law is a definite
    step in the right direction but the bottom line is that people need to be
    their own advocates in everything. Government is too big and there are too
    few inspectors and always there will be people and companies who try to
    circumvent any law or rule by finding the loopholes they can get away with.
    This FDA ruling does bring more focus to the problem of gluten in our
    diets – perhaps be a learning tool for the young waitress you doesn’t realize
    to place the dinner roll on top of your food is so bad and that it doesn’t fix
    it to just take it off! Once I had a small baking mix company and in doing so
    I sent the mixes out to a testing firm to be tested for their contents for the
    purpose of labeling. This process made me realize the limitations to test
    accurately to a 100% degree for anything – everything labeled with any
    sort of claim – sugar-less, sugar-free, fat free, gluten free etc is labeled
    within the parameters necessitated by the limits of product testing. It is not
    perfect by any means. I doubt it is perfect anywhere so people can demand
    100% perfection but there is no reality in that. The FDA cannot guarantee it.
    But such a rule will hopefully eliminate the blatant abuses. All product
    labeling is slightly suspect and it is time people do realize it.

  28. Nichole says

    The FDA thing just doesn’t sit we’ll in my gut and I can’t really put my finger on it. So far we’ve had to read labels carefully and so far that’s been OK. Annoying? Yes, but having a gluten intolerance is very annoying. Gluten free should mean 100% gluten free. Anything less is just asking for trouble. Heaven knows we don’t need anymore of that! Great article!

  29. Angie says

    Gluten free labelling is a big issue in Australia and majority of products labelled GF or not truly so very misleading and cause more problems and issues for those unaware…

  30. Linda says

    As someone who has suffered for over 20 years with Celiac (undiagnoised for 12 years!) I know as all who have issues with gluten the only foods one can truly trust are whole natural unprocessed foods. Just last weekend I had bread that was labeled gluten free on the package BUT my gut within a couple of hours, and for the last 24 hours has told me it was not! I do not expect the new ruling to improve this issue. I must be my own advocate and try to feed my body only with foods I know are healthy.

  31. Lynne L says

    Thanks for the article. My feeling is any gluten is not acceptable. 20ppm is way too high, however, it’s a first step. That being said, my huge fear is prescription and other drugs (lactose in them is also huge for me). If there’s gluten in an antibiotic, for instance, and it’s prescribed for a particular reason, then you would never know. It makes sense when I look back on how some of them have made me so sick. It’s too bad that this wasn’t addressed as well. It’s also too bad that there wasn’t anything for the food served by restaurants etc. It’s the same here in Canada only worse. At least you now have some guidelines, small and vague though they might be. And let’s hope no doors are opened for the evil Monsanto.

  32. C says

    FDA was designed to protect but currently there are far too many philosophical differences to be effective. The regulations in some areas have gone too and not far enough in other. It pays to do your homework on companies that you purchase from and not depend on the FDA regardless of their regulations….

  33. Ellyn says

    Even without this FDA rule, I have called many manufacturers and been told that they cannot assure me that their product is gluten- free because they cannot vouch for their suppliers. Their suppliers may TELL them the supplied ingredient is gluten- free, but the manufacturer does not regularly and carefully check each supplier, and thus fears liability if it makes a false guarantee to the consumer. So it is easier for many just to refuse to say the product is gluten free.

  34. Missy says

    Yes, I believe the FDA GF labels WILL lead to misguided trust! <20 ppm is NOT good enough! I simply want labels clearly marked, "contains wheat, barley, or rye etc." (gluten) It's then my choice whether or not I chose to purchase a product. It's wrong to say "GF" on the label, then in little bitty print, in an out of the way place on the label find, "this product was processed in a factory that processes wheat." It feels like a lie to me, and can lead to accidental consumption of gluten. I understand the companies wanting to jump on the GF "fad" market for their profits. But some of us aren't in this for the "fad". Some of us have Celiac Disease, and consuming gluten is harmful to our health. If you told someone with a life threatening peanut allergy "it's <20 ppm" , do you really think they would knowingly take that chance? I don't think so! Then why should we be required to "settle"? And don't even get me started on "Frankenfoods". In my opinion, we humans are ingesting entirely too many chemicals. That's why I'm grateful for companies like Red Apple Lipstick. Keep up the good work!

  35. Marsha says

    We all ned to be accountable to ourselves to do things right for our health. I think stating gluten free should be enough so we can investigate if we want to consume a product. How else can we know? we have to start somewhere.

  36. Sherri says

    I believe this is a step in the right direction. Is it perfect? No. Will I ALWAYS read labels and call companies first before I use any product? Absolutely.

    My issue is with the 20ppm standard. This needs to change. We have to start somewhere and the F’nDA listened. I’m thankful for that. Now it’s time to make it clear that we need 0ppm. Otherwise, people will continue to be sick and be harmed by labels that say they are “free of gluten” but aren’t truly free of it.

  37. terri says

    This is directly from the Celiac Disease Foundations website addressing the FDA ruling of 20ppm instead of zero. This has been the acceptable level for the 8 years I have been gluten free for all medical foundations and not something that was create to make it more convenient for the FDA when making this ruling.

    The FDA adopted the standard based upon the recommendations of the scientific and medical communities, and because there are no analytical methods available that are scientifically validated to reliably detect gluten below 20 ppm. The CDF Medical Advisory Board supports the < 20 ppm of gluten standard for gluten-free labeling. According to Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, "The 20 ppm is a scientifically determined level of gluten that has been shown to be tolerated by those with celiac disease. It is in line with standards in other countries."

    Dr. Alessio Fasano, of the Center for Celiac Research states, "Twenty parts per million, or 20 parts of gluten per one million parts of food sample, is an accepted standard in many parts of the world for products that are labeled gluten-free. The evidence-based research published by our Center, which has been confirmed by studies from colleagues around the world, conclusively supports the 20 ppm level as a suitable safety threshold for gluten-free products." According to the Center's website, "research from the Center has shown that 10 milligrams per day of gluten consumption is a safe level for the vast majority of individuals with celiac disease." The Center's website goes on to state that 10 milligrams is roughly the equivalent of one-eighth of a teaspoon of flour, or 18 slices of bread with each slice containing 20 ppm of gluten.

  38. katieb says

    20 ppm is STILL gluten—so the labeling is a convenience for the food manufacturers and still dangerous for Celiac’s to eat. In fact, the labeling now means my family won’t touch these GF labeled foods because it means e WILL get sick. We have Celiac disease and ANY gluten gets us sick. Dr. Fasano et al should all be ashamed of themselves for giving in to Big Food—because thy know ANY gluten is toxic, whether you react overtly or not, for a person living with Celiac. Gluten Free should mean FREE of any gluten in a food product!!!!!

    • Catherine Hoffman says

      I agree! I think this will give people a false sense of security. Any gluten can cause damage, even though the person may not notice symptoms. As stated, research your food products! Better yet, make your own whenever possible.

  39. Suzanne says

    I agree with Susan and Julie. The gov’t. and the FDA are not here to help us and actually add fuel to the fire and problems where they don’t exist. Just because the FDA is paying attention, doesn’t mean you will get the product you are looking for.

    When the FDA was started in the early 1900s, they were put in force to help the public but that has since changed. Google it and then read all about the FDA on http://www.naturalnews.com

  40. Antoinette says

    The government is crazy, always has been. They are just trying to placate those of us who really have a disease and have been petitioning them for years…this is unacceptable! We will not stop shouting FDA…we will not let up until you say 0ppm and testing is required!!! You will not silence our voices. Buttttt…thanks for trying…. I will always research my own food, my body is more important than profits of any company trying to jump on a band wagon. This isn’t a fad, this is for real. Thanks for this awesome article, not just celebrating this awful ruling. You guys as always are awesome! Sorry for ranting…

  41. AmandaonMaui says

    I was really very excited at first, but your article has somewhat squashed that by reminding me of how the FDA fails people all the time. It’s not the fault of the FDA necessarily, it is the fault of the government for not giving them any teeth. They also have lost a lot of inspectors, like the USDA, and funding in the last decade. This is really pushing into a lot of politics, but politics are important as they affect our lives every day…including in cases like this one.

    While the honor system is not going to work 100% of the time, maybe this law will make some real difference anyway. I certainly hope so. I’m so tired of worrying. I’ve been glutened by products labeled “gluten free” in the United States, but which can’t be labeled gluten free in other countries due to being above the 20ppm threshold barring labeling of such products in those countries. I wonder how much power the food inspectors of countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union actually have in comparison to our own Food and Drug Administration.

    It’s really horrific that there really seems to be no oversight of the cosmetics industry either.

  42. S.R.B. says

    The FDA rule isn’t perfect, and I still plan to research all my food before I eat it, but I do expect this to save me some time. How much time I’m not sure. Firstly, it may lead to fewer products with bogus gluten-free claims on the packaging. (I save time not picking them up, reading their labels, calling or emailing the company, etc.) Secondly, even though not required by the ruling, it may encourage companies who already produce safe products to clarify their labeling to include whether their product is made in a gluten-free facility, gluten-free equipment, whether they do in house testing, etc. (I save time not having to contact these companies.) Thus, overall, I think this is a win for celiacs. Is it everything? Of course not. It’s a baby step. But it helps.

  43. Anne says

    I’m glad they are requiring better labels. I will still lean toward those brands that have been manufacturing gluten free foods and testing them before they had to. I’m thinking Bob’s Red Mill, Glutino and Red Apple Lipstick just to name a few!

  44. Celiac and the Beast says

    I think this is the most important part here:

    “I personally would encourage you to continue to investigate products and companies alike on your own, and use your very best judgement skills that you have already developed…The companies that are “doing it right” currently, will of course remain the ones “doing it right” in the future.”

    Just because the FDA is labeling doesn’t mean we have to put our blind faith into it, and we will be reading labels just as diligently as before if we truly have an issue with gluten. However, I believe that this is a step in the right direction and at least puts on some guidelines for the situation.

  45. Katie Carter says

    I worry that products that have been labled “naturally gluten free” will now have warnings like not tested may contain gluten. I just want everything that knowingly contains wheat or gluten to have to have an allergy warning. Especially hidden ingredients like maltodextern which basicly means starch and can come from things I can eat like corn or tapioca. I would love for things like shampoo and body products to have to warn you.

  46. terri says

    I think the lack of testing or consequences means that this is of no more use to people than the voluntary labeling standards. Having gotten sick from a product clearly label gluten free and not so clearly stating warning of may contain I can say I put no faith in labels and spend hours researching products when needed. As for some comments on FB hoping for a standard that meant 100% free not the 20ppm currently used that will never happen realistically the medical standard is 20ppm so we cant expect food companies to be held to a higher standard.

  47. Susan says

    I don’t think the governement is here to help us with anything except to take our guns, our rights and our money.

    • Margarite says

      This is about gluten free labeling… not guns.

      In my country, guns are not a big deal. I do not understand why American so worried about guns that kills peeople when gluten kills people…

      I am happy the US starts gluten free labels. I hope that it will come to my country. I get very sick.

    • Jodi says

      Julie, you have this all wrong. The FDA is here to help us, not hurt us. I’m a Celiac and if I even touch Gluten I could go to the hospital!!! I think it’s about time the FDA paid attention

  48. Sym says

    Great article, you always bring our attention to those things we need to be aware of. Keep up the good work. Sym

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