The gluten free trend has exploded since 2012 with the market growing 63% from 2012 to 2014 alone. Millions of Americans are going on gluten free diets because gluten has been deemed evil in America.
What is Gluten?
So Why is Everyone Afraid of Gluten?
What Counts as Gluten Free?
In August of 2013 the FDA published an official definition of gluten free and how it can be used on food labels. The reason for establishing a rule was to help define gluten free to those with Celiac disease and to make labeling gluten free clear for manufacturers. The FDA defines gluten free as…
In general, foods may be labeled “gluten-free” if they meet the definition and otherwise comply with the final rule’s requirements. More specifically, the final rule defines “gluten-free” as meaning that the food either is inherently gluten free; or does not contain an ingredient that is: 1) a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat); 2) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or 3) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food. Also, any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm.
Essentially the FDAs rule for gluten free labeling is that the product contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Technically some gluten is allowed but at .002% there is not enough to trigger any negative reactions in those with Celiac.
Wheat is one of the 8 allergens that must be listed in the United States(and Canada). So the labeling of wheat is here to stay. The FDA has a nice clear definition of what is gluten free is, which helps everyone who is concerned about gluten. The best way to know if there is gluten in the product is to look for wheat or other grains on the label. There are certifying groups that will evaluate your product and facility to determine if you meet there requirements. Please note you do not have to be certified to label a product as gluten free. The same way you don’t have to be certified to label a product “milk free” or “egg free”.