Could it possibly be? At long last, there's some movement on the behalf of the gluten-free labeling movement.
This is REALLY big news for people who are gluten-free in the U.S.! The FDA has re-opened a comment period for 60 days to solicit opinions from health professionals, scientists and the public on a potential ruling for defining gluten-free as less than 20 ppm.
Why 20ppm? According Michael Taylor at the FDA at stakeholder teleconference on Aug 2nd, it's the lowest amount that can be accurately quantified, and many leading experts believe it is a safe amount. Europe has used it for 20 + years. Several prominent researchers, including Dr. Alesso Fasano and Dr.Stefano Guandalini, spoke in favor of the new proposed legislation. “This is a standard that has been in use in Europe for almost two decades, & the science supports the U.S. adopting it as well,” commented Dr. Fasano. FDA also published a safety assessment as well regarding the safety level.
A final ruling is due out in the 3rd quarter of 2012, and per speakers "the FDA is committed to moving quickly" This regulation will only cover food for human consumption and will not cover medications, etc.
There were lots of fantastic questions about cross contamination, low gluten designations, symbols and much more. In most cases, FDA responded by encouraging people to comment.
I know this is a very, very hot topic and I hope everyone will take this opportunity to make your voice heard!
The comment period starts Aug 3rd around noon, and you can submit your comment here: www.regulations.gov and entering Docket No. FDA-2005-N-0404
For more information and a statement from the FDA, please see:
A very big thank you to the FDA for hosting this discussion and taking this next step, and to 1 in 133, American Celiac Disease Alliance, University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research and many, many others for getting this legislation moving again.
My take: I'm all for it. There are still other programs out there which will certify foods at lower than 20 ppm, such as CSA, GIG and NFCA. I like the idea of having something uniform, standard and most of all, enforceable. However, I hope they incorporate newer research, such as the studies that came out on gluten free grains and flours and cross contamination. I also hope they look closely at the issue of considering oats gluten-free, since there is still a good deal of controversy on the issue.
—————————– Author Information: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Alexandria, VA, USA. Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. Her passion is teaching people to live and love a gluten-free diet in the Northern Virginia area. For more, seewww.harriswholehealth.com or follow on Twitter @cherylharrisrd