Did you know you can, and should, report a reaction or injury from a packaged food that was inappropriately labeled gluten-free?
Who Determines What Is Gluten-Free?
The organization in the United States that sets the criteria for what gluten-free means in the United States is the Food and Drug Administration.
According to the FDA website, “The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”
The FDA defines gluten as any grain or ingredient containing wheat, barley, rye or any crossbreed of these grains.
What Can be Labeled Gluten-Free?
The FDA allows manufacturers to label a product gluten-free if it does not contain any of the following:
- An ingredient that is any type of wheat, barley rye or any crossbreed of these grains.
- An ingredient that has been derived from these grains that has not been processed to remove gluten.
- An ingredient that has been processed from these grains that still contains greater than 20 parts per million (PPM) of gluten.
Foods that are inherently gluten-free can be labeled as such as long as they did not come in contact with foods containing greater than 20PPM of gluten. These foods would include water, fruits, eggs and other whole foods that naturally don’t contain gluten.
We here at Glutenfreeworks.com encourage you to strive for a 100% gluten-free diet where 0PPM is the goal. We also recommend avoiding oats, at least until healing has been determined by your doctor.
What If A Product Says It Is Gluten-Free But It Isn’t?
Any food labeled gluten-free, free of gluten, without gluten, no gluten but fails to meet the FDA’s requirements for use of these terms in considered misbranded and subject to regulatory action by the FDA.
What About Restaurants?
Restaurants gluten-free items on their menus should be consistent with the FDA’s definition.
Reporting Adverse Reactions and Labeling Concerns
If you think you suffered a reaction to gluten, contact your doctor.
Then do the following per the FDA website.
“If a product has unclear labeling or you believe is mislabeled as gluten-free, the FDA would like to know. Keep any food packages because they may contain important information. You may want to contact the manufacturer about the problem. Also, report the problem to the FDA in either of these ways:
Consumers and manufacturers can submit reports detailing product reactions or labeling concerns to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for the state where the food was purchased. You can also call FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.
For more information, see Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods.”