FDA published its proposed rule for defining gluten free in 2006. According to the proposal, a gluten-free label would mean a food does not contain:
■ Any ingredient that is a prohibited grain, such as wheat, barley, rye or their derivatives.
■ Any ingredient derived from a prohibited grain that has not been processed to remove gluten, such as barley malt extract or malt vinegar.
■ Any ingredient derived from a prohibited grain that has been processed to remove gluten if 20 ppm or more gluten remains in the food, such as wheat starch or modified food starch.
■ 20 ppm or more of gluten.
Labeling is voluntary.
A manufacturer is required to comply with FDA’s regulation only if it chooses to make a gluten-free claim.
Foods inherently free of gluten may indicate as much, such as “milk, a gluten-free food,” or “all milk is gluten free.”
Oats must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. In addition, a claim cannot suggest all foods made from oats are gluten free.
Permissible synonyms for “gluten free” include “free of gluten,” “without gluten,” and “no gluten.”
The proposed rule doesn't apply to USDA products, such as meat, eggs or poultry. Prescription drugs are not covered but supplements and vitamins are.