Rockville, MD—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken news steps to create a standard definition for the term “gluten-free,” according to a new consumer update. FDA feels such a definition is needed to “eliminate uncertainty about how food producers may label their products” and to make sure gluten-free food labeling meet the same standards.

On August 2, the agency reopened the public comment period for the proposed gluten-free labeling rule made public in January 2007. In this rule, FDA defines “gluten-free” as foods that don’t contain any wheat, rye or barley; any crossbreeds of these grains; or any of these grains that have not had the gluten removed. Products also cannot contain more than 20 ppm of gluten. Comments about this rule are due at the beginning of October.

FDA also has issued a report about how gluten affects people with celiac disease and is seeking comments on this document as well.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2011 (online August 2, 2011)