New regulations will keep celiac disease and gluten sensitive consumers safe, but education is needed.
Contact: Cheryl McEvoy
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
AMBLER, Pa. (August 2, 2013) - The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diagnoses and improving quality of life for those with gluten-related disorders, is responding promptly to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) final rule on gluten-free labeling by announcing new resources for gluten-free consumers to understand the federal regulations.
“For years, gluten-free labels have gone unregulated, putting our gluten-free community in danger,” said Alice Bast, President of NFCA. “We applaud the FDA for finally publishing a standard definition of gluten-free.”
The new regulations state that a food must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in order to bear a “gluten-free” label. Researchers support less than 20 ppm as a safe threshold for a product to be consumed by individuals with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
“Evidence-based research conclusively supports the 20 ppm level as a safety threshold for gluten-free products,” said Dr. Alessio Fasano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston. “We welcome the new FDA regulations, which will bring us in line with gluten-free labeling regulations for millions of people around the world.”
While the new regulations are a welcome change in the gluten-free community, many individuals with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be confused by what constitutes a “gluten-free” product.
To clear up the confusion, NFCA is creating a fact sheet that breaks down the new regulations into easy-to-understand terms. The fact sheet will be available at www.beyondceliac.org/FDA.
NFCA is also planning a free webinar to explain the FDA’s final rule in greater depth, making the complex information accessible and understandable to all. The webinar will feature Dr. Fasano and Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, a renowned dietitian with expertise in gluten-free labeling and founder of Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC. For updates on this webinar, including date and time, see NFCA’s Webinar Schedule.
“Gluten-free consumers can take comfort knowing that food labeled gluten-free must comply with the criteria set forth by the FDA,” Thompson said. “While some consumers pushed for the FDA to require a lower amount of gluten, the vast majority of gluten-free foods I’ve investigated at Gluten Free Watchdog are testing well below 20 ppm.”
NFCA encourages manufacturers to undergo third-party testing and verification to ensure their products meet and exceed the new federal standard. NFCA endorses the Gluten-Free Certification Program, which approves gluten-free products that meet stringent gluten-free safety standards.
“Gluten-free consumers are looking for products they can trust,” Bast said. “By certifying their products, manufacturers can show their dedication to gluten-free safety and this growing community.”
About the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Through empowerment, education, advocacy and advancing research, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) drives diagnoses of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders and improves the quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet. For more information, please visit www.beyondceliac.org.