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FDA Set to Adopt New Gluten-Free Labeling Standards In-Line with New Codex Alimentarius Standards

Celiac.com 07/23/2008 - Folks who follow a gluten-free diet can take comfort that the Codex Alimantarius, the international body responsible for setting food safety standards, has moved a step closer to adopting the gluten-free standards they drafted in November 2007, and their new standards are, for the most part, in-line with the proposed FDA regulations. However, those hoping for speedy adoption of similar standards by the FDA will just have to wait until the FDA takes one last round of public comment and evaluates safety standards used in developing the standards. Certainly, anticipation has been running high, as several blogs and other online sources have wrongly claimed that the new FDA standards will go into effect in August 2008.

From June 30 to July 5, 2008, the Codex Alimentarius Commission recently held their 31st session, where they accepted without change the 2007 Draft Revised Codex Standard for Foods for Special Dietary Use for Persons Intolerant to Gluten. According to the latest Codex Alimentarius standard, any product labeled “gluten-free,” including those made from de-glutened wheat starch will contain no more than 20 parts gluten per million. This last part is especially important, as their earlier standards for the use of “gluten-free” on labels allowed up to 200 parts gluten per million if the product contained ingredients that normally contained gluten. The 2007 standard still includes a special category for foods that are not naturally gluten-free, but have been rendered gluten-free through processing, such as wheat starch that has had its gluten removed. This category is called “foods specially processed to reduce gluten to a level above 20 up to 100 milligrams per kilogram.” The Codex Alimentarius Committee has yet to post the new standard on the their website.

The adoption of a less than 20 ppm standard on foods labeled "gluten-free" by both the Codex Alimentarius and the FDA would mean that consumers across Europe and North America could count on a single, uniform standard for food that is labeled "gluten-free." This new standard has been driven primarily by the efforts of celiac disease support groups, people diagnosed with celiac disease, and gluten-free diet followers, whose influence also led to the creation and passage of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act in 2004.

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The FDA will not issue their final ruling until they make the draft available for public review and consider one more round of commentary, along with previous public comments, as well as publishing a notice on the safety assessment made in developing the final rule. The FDA will likely publish the notice on the safety assessment soon, but there is no indication as to just when they will issue the final rule.

A large part of the celiac community has been eagerly anticipating the announcement of the final rule. Until that great day, all of you gluten-free folks will just have to be content knowing that solid, reliable standards for the use of the term "gluten-free" on food labels are just around the corner.

The next session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission will be held from 29 June to 4 July 2009 in Rome.

Here are the new Codex Alimentarious Standards for Gluten-Free foods, which will appear on their Web site soon:

2.1.1 Gluten-free foods

Gluten-free foods are dietary foods

a) consisting of or made only from one or more ingredients which do not contain wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer,and/or

b) consisting of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to remove gluten, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer.

2.1.2 Foods specially processed to reduce gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg

These foods consist of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat,spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to reduce the gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer.

Decisions on the marketing of products described in this section may be determined at the national level.

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9 Responses:

 
Betty Eckard
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said this on
01 Aug 2008 7:41:49 AM PST
I am glad to read this article as it could help so many myself included. Thank you.

 
CeliBelli
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said this on
01 Aug 2008 9:12:49 AM PST
Thank you for this update. Please keep the Celiac community informed when the FDA opens the comment period so we can weigh in.

 
Margaret Douville
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said this on
01 Aug 2008 9:30:28 AM PST
I am a facilitator of a support group, and am happy to see this coming about.

 
Alice
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said this on
01 Aug 2008 1:51:40 PM PST
This new standard would enable sensitive celiacs to stick to the critical 100% gluten-free diet in order to maintain good health and aim for longevity. In the Netherlands it is so tempting to buy a product that is labeled gluten free whilst containing wheat starch up to the 200ppm and then live to regret it... Likewise, you can hardly blame your hosts who have gone through the trouble of buying these so called gluten free products for you and yet you suffer the consequences...We are already fortunate to have gluten free labels. Yet new step is the last vital step to an easier life for celiacs. So thank you and I hope many celiacs will express their support where it is needed and make this new standard operative asap.

 
Lan Tait
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said this on
02 Aug 2008 3:24:02 AM PST
Food News For Filipinos! The Philippine Government is adopting the
New Codex Alimentarius Standards for Gluten Free Labeling!

 
Theresa
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said this on
04 Aug 2008 7:04:53 AM PST
That's great news about new labeling standards on the horizon.
Please tell us what we can do as individuals to support or move this process along. How can we lend our voice - who do we call or write to?
thanks,
T

 
Loke
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said this on
04 Aug 2008 9:59:34 PM PST
This is all fine and good for people who can tolerate some gluten, but what about us who cannot tolerate any? Gluten free should be gluten free period!!!!!

 
kim eason
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said this on
22 Dec 2009 1:07:27 PM PST
Wow, it's nice that they lowered it..but for myself..that's still not low enough. I or should I say my body knows that if there's the little trace...it tells me...I feel that the guidelines should be out there to be a part of our diet not make our diet worst...if a child has a peanut allergy, well there can't be any trace at all for that reason why is it not so for us with celiac? we might not die right away but due to the type of disease this is, we can die from all types of cancer due to getting the little traces the FDA says we can handle..but correct me if I am wrong..when I got told I had celiac I wasn't told that I could have a little trace of gluten, I was told I could not have anything with gluten and no cross contamination either was on that list...so till this gets to where its not so much about money but about having a better way of life this is still unacceptable.

 
Archer
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said this on
30 Jan 2015 6:28:11 PM PST
My family every time say that I am killing my time here at web, except I know I am getting experience every day by reading such pleasant articles or reviews.




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