There’s a good chance you know someone who follows a gluten-free diet. Today, an estimated 3 million Americans have Celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity—thought to be on the rise due to GMO consumption—affects more than 18 million people. Last week, a major announcement in the world of gluten-free eating made history. After six years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally defined and set standards for the use of the phrasing gluten free on labels.

Why The Gluten-Free Label Matters

GF StandardsAccurately labeling gluten-free products is critical to the safety of those with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder and allergy to gluten. Even trace amounts of gluten are detrimental. While the consumption of a gluten-free diet for non-medical reasons has sparked an exponential increase of products in the $4 billion market, it has also led to sloppy labeling, contamination and a nerve wracking eating experience for those looking to avoid the grain-based protein.

Since the passing of The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, Congress has demanded the FDA set standards for the voluntary labeling for gluten-free foodsLast week’s final ruling stated the acceptable limit of 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten will apply to all FDA regulated foods, supplements, imported foods and restaurants. The new ruling will begin 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and manufacturing compliance for gluten free must be met one year later.

How Much Longer Can The FDA Ignore Our Calls For GMO Labeling?

This is a huge triumph for those seeking safe, allergy-free products. But we must ask ourselves, why is it taking so long to tackle other labeling efforts that affect larger portions of the population? The labeling of products containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has been part of a heated discussion that continues to escalate.

According to a New York Times poll 93 percent of respondents believe GMOs should be identified while 75% voiced concern related to GMOs and health. In fact, 64 countries already require GMO products to be labeled)! Despite the public outcry—and evidence suggesting they are in fact damaging to the digestive system— the FDA continues to support a reflection of the 1992 and 1999 testimonies, which state the FDA does not find GMO foods to be different from other products . With continued efforts by some states to pass legislation, we have hope that the victory for gluten free labeling will also spark a victory for GMO labeling.


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