09/01/2020 - Fresh from an FDA ruling that distilled foods made from gluten-containing grains can be labelled as “gluten-free,” the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), the trade body for America’s spirits, is now pressing the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) change their policies to align the the FDA, and to permit all distilled products to be labeled as "Gluten-Free."
The FDA's new ruling says that the distillation process removes all gluten from the finished product, even if the original ingredients contained gluten.
The FDA ruling helps to pave the way for for distilled foods and beverages made from gluten-containing grains to be labelled as “gluten-free.”
However, a few regulatory hurdles remain. Chief among them, TTB policy currently states that some people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities could become sick from spirits made from grains such as wheat.
The TTB rule means that only spirits made from non-gluten-ingredients such as grapes, corn or potatoes, or products specially treated to remove gluten, may be labeled as gluten-free.
DISCUS president, Chris Swonger, says the ruling will allow "gluten-free" labelling claims on distilled beverages made from gluten-containing grains. Swonger says that his organization is now urging TTB “to act quickly to revise their 2014 interim policy on gluten content statements to align with FDA’s final rule and begin allowing "gluten-free" statements on distilled spirits products made from gluten-containing grains.
A change by the TTB, says Swonger, will permit a "Gluten-Free" label on distilled products made from gluten-containing grains, and will “provide additional clarity for consumers to make informed choices about which products meet their dietary needs.”
These developments are big news for people with celiac disease who drink distilled beverages, and also for drinkers, in general, who will have more clarity.