Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gluten-Free product labeling - state of things

A while back, it was announced by the FDA that significant product-labeling changes were coming for gluten-free products. This news article discusses all the food label changes (more than just gluten related) that were to be taking effect soon.

I think it is all great news, especially when places like WalMart, Whole Foods, and other large retailers implement some sort of product labeling even ahead of the 2008 (supposed) final date for implementation. Right now, the biggest concern is how each retailer can basically set their own standard for what they label gluten-free -- some may consider 50ppm (parts per million) an OK threshold, and others may shoot for essentially zero ppm. There was an FDA presentation on gluten-free labeling over a year ago, whereby all sorts of things related to gluten free labeling was discussed - at least at a high level.

I am greatly looking forward to the day when I can buy any food products anywhere and see clearly marked labels that let me know immediately whether the product is "safe" for me to consume. Right now, there is a lot of guesswork involved, and inconsistent gluten-free product labeling issues to work past. More to come on this, as time is ticking by and we must be getting closer to some final decisions and regulations (though, at the pace of government, I do not expect deadlines to be met -- 2008 will likely turn into 2010 or later, though I hope the FDA proves me wrong and delivers a timely final say on all this GF stuff so Celiacs have an easier go of it).

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