Make Your Voice Heard!
The FDA has reopened the public comment period on its gluten-free labeling proposal. This means that you can weigh in on the importance of having a national standard for use of the term “gluten free” on food products. Right now, U.S. food manufacturers can claim “gluten free” on their product labels without taking any steps to ensure the ingredients they use are not cross contaminated with harmful levels of gluten.
Here’s what FDA is proposing:
The term GF may be used only on food products that contain less than 20 ppm (parts per million) gluten.
The <20 ppm requirement is a standard that’s currently used in Italy, England, Australia and other parts of the world—and has been for decades. Research conducted by celiac expert Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, has determined this standard to be safe for those with celiac disease.
The FDA’s notice of the <20 ppm standard, along with a safety assessment, is published in the Federal Register yesterday. The public comment period will be open for 60 days from now. For FDA's answers to frequently asked questions, go to: http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm111487.htm.
Here’s how you can officially comment: Go to www.regulations.gov and enter Docket No. FDA-2005-N-0404. (Keep your comments concise and factual.)
How do you feel about gluten-free labeling? Please share your thoughts with us.
P.S. Our thanks to Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commission of Foods, for moving the agency forward on this critically important issue. Kudos to the American Celiac Disease Alliance (Living Without’s own Beth Hillson is president of this terrific national advocacy organization for celiac disease—thanks Beth and executive director Andrea Lavario!) for furthering the rights of all those with gluten sensitivity. Thanks also to cookbook author/blogger Jules Shepard and John Forberger for highlighting the need at the DC labeling summit (also called The World’s Largest GF Cake) in May.