Study seeks standard for gluten-free labeling.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its intention to conduct an experimental study on gluten-free food labeling. The Gluten-Free Labeling of Food Products Experimental Study is a further step in the development of food labeling is geared toward assisting those who require a special needs diet, including those with celiac disease, to lead healthier lives.
The FDA plans to poll those with celiac disease, gluten intolerances, and a population without either condition in an effort to gauge perceptions and understanding on the variety of gluten-free labels currently on the market.
Current gluten-free product labels and statements to be examined include ‘gluten-free’, ‘free of gluten’, ‘without gluten’, ‘no gluten’, ‘not made in a facility that processes gluten-containing foods’, and ‘made in a gluten-free facility’, among many others.
The study also will assess consumer understanding of ‘‘gluten-free’’ claims on foods that are naturally free of gluten, and gauge consumer reaction to a product carrying a gluten claim concurrently with a statement about the amount of gluten the product contains.
About 6,000 subjects are slated for participation in the study group. The participants will be collected over the Internet from an online consumer panel and from members of a celiac disease special interest group.
For the FDA, this examination and assessment is the first of its kind and an important step towards achieving standardization and regulation of the gluten-free market.