Sens. Wyden and Leahy send letter seeking answers for delay in defining ‘gluten-free.’
After more than 4 years of inaction by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on their statutory requirement to finalize standards for gluten-free labeling on foods, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg seeking answers for the extreme delay and an update on when the FDA will propose a final rule.
As part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, the FDA was tasked with proposing rules for gluten labeling within 2 years of enactment and finalizing rules within four. In January of 2007, the FDA issued its proposed rule, but no final rule has been promulgated or issued since then. In the letter, Wyden and Leahy raised concern that the lack of federal standards for what could be counted as “gluten-free” has caused confusion for consumers and agricultural producers.
This letter is the latest call issued to the FDA on behalf of celiac and gluten sensitive consumers. In May, NFCA supported and attended the first Gluten-Free Food Labeling Summit, organized by 1in133.org co-founders Jules Shepard and NFCA Athlete for Awareness John Forberger. In November 2010, NFCA presented a statement at the Safe Use Initiative Workshop that appealed to the FDA for better labeling of gluten in medications.
For more on this recent call for action, read the senators' letter.