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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.

Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).





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9 Responses:

 
Betty Eckard
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said this on
01 Aug 2008 7:41:49 AM PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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 PDT
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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And this from Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm Rice aside, stop giving your kids apple juice too as it can contain high levels of arsenic too! Eat real apples -- not juice.

If I am in a bar and it is super busy, I ask for a "to go" cup. Why? If a dishwasher is not being used (or demand is overwhelming it), bartenders are cleaning all the glasses the old fashioned way ( sinks, wash and rinse with disinfectant). Good for killing bacteria I suppose, but maybe not for removing gluten traces. No bar is going to slow down drink orders ($$$$$) to wait for clean glasses from the dishwasher! Is this all true? I can not say. I am just speaking from experience when I was barmaid 30 years ago before there were dedicated bar dishwashers. http://www.servicethatsells.com/blog/how-to-clean-a-beer-glass/ Even if this is "all in my head", I feel better clutching my "to go" cup and can relax. ?

Check out this page and the advice on rice prep: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2F1MDzyW55pg97Tdpp7gqLN/should-i-be-concerned-about-arsenic-in-my-rice

Hi Rachel and welcome I think you've found the single best site on the web for help and advice. Hope it's of use to you. I tested negative for celiac so no referral. My experience with NHS however suggests it could be worth phoning your Gastro's office and asking the admin staff there to check on this. Things get overlooked... I would avoid anything with those warnings on. It's a pain in the arse because, for example, it recently appeared on a brand of nuts I like. However having some experience of production and marketing environments that warning will only be going on the pack if someone in the company thinks there's a chance of contamination. There's always other products to choose from so I don't take the chance. Walkers crisps have given me a reaction, yes even the sodding ready salted ones It's something to do with their production processes. I think Gary Lineker may dance through the factory each week spreading handfuls of flour for good luck. Whatever, I now avoid them. My energy levels improved over a few months after the diet. It took longer the second time after my challenge. I was still noticing improvements / weird resolutions of odd symptoms up to 9 months to a year later... Lots of good advice here: All the best! Matt

Ah.... Settles back, dons funny hat, smokes pipe, plays violin, injects heroin etc... I think you need to treat yourself as your own science experiment. If you're ok at home with all of the drinks then you can almost certainly rule out alcohol intolerance and thank your bodies burgeoning super coeliac powers of gluten detection for the reaction. Clearly your powers have grown in the past five years young jedi... In which case maybe there's a drink you can order which would reduce this risk, maybe asking for the bottle and a clean glass, forgoing ice, straws etc, anything to simplify matters and reduce the number of contaminant variables. One thing I'd avoid would be 'mixers' from the shared line. Not because there's gluten filled drinks going through them, typically its just coke, lemonade and soda water, but because the nozzle sometimes dips into the drink that's being filled. Paranoid? Maybe, but I avoid them now and pay the extra for a bottle. A word on glasses. Most bars have a dedicated glass washer and they're good, to a point. I've worked behind a bar in the past and the washers are only on for a very short time, they can run up to 35 times an hour... I've seen lipstick on glasses from them and whilst the chances of contamination are probably slight... Now if you're out for a night at different places, it will be very hard to work out where its happening. So my suggestion is to go out to one bar only and pick a decent one. Speak to a bartender or manager, explain to them just what a special snowflake you are and get one definitely clean glass at the outset then keep it for the evening and just get it refilled. Pick one drink only and stick to it. I'd suggest wine as maybe its easier on the stomach than the bubbly prosecco and you can get the little bottles without any chance of contamination but that may be nonsense See what happens... If you're ok, then you have an answer. You've become more sensitive and your reacting to trace gluten. *removes funny hat, discards pipe, hides syringe...