Last week the FDA finally approved on a label definition for “gluten free” products. After years of mounting pressure, it is good to see this new labeling law hold food manufacturers to a greater degree of accountability. The magic number is 20 ppm. That means – 20 parts per million (about the size of a bread crumb). When the law goes into effect, any product containing more than 20 ppm will not be able to be labeled as gluten free.
Here are The Take Aways From the FDA Ruling
- Not all products are included. Over the counter and prescription medications are immune. That means those of you using medications with grain based fillers are on your own. The doctors, pharmacists, and drug companies won’t be held to the same standards. Alcoholic beverages are not included. Although the FDA has promised to collaborate with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau about gluten in beer and other beverages, no standard will currently be enforced.
- Foods have to be two basic criteria to be considered “gluten free”. 1- No wheat, barley, or rye allowed. 2 – Products must contain less than 20 ppm.
- Restaurants are required to follow the ruling. If a restaurant claims to have a gluten free menu, it must adhere to the 20 ppm ruling.
- The ruling goes into effect on August 5th, 2014. That means you will have to wait for a full year to have any faith in labeling.
Why This Ruling is Not Helping Anyone Heal
- Keeping medications and alcohol out of the ruling are a HUGE mistake. Most doctors know very little about gluten, and grain based fillers are commonly used in medications designed to treat many of the very same issues that gluten can cause or contribute to.
- Only considering wheat, barley, and rye in the definition only perpetuates the myth that substitute grains are healthy. All grains have glutens. There is a large body of medical evidence that points to corn gluten being a major issue for those with gluten sensitivity.
- Restaurants don’t serve healthy food (at least most don’t). Going to a major food chain and ordering “gluten free” corn fed beef from sick cows or farm raised fish, or dairy products from grain fed animals, or using condiments that contain GMO grain fillers is still going to be an issue. Aside from that, the FDA doesn’t have the man power or will to monitor restaurants appropriately.
The crux of the problem is not in labeling, it is in the products themselves. Most of the food manufacturers will have you believe that genetically altered, non-organic, chemically loaded, processed foods are a good alternative in your gluten free diet. They aren’t. Believing that they are and buying them won’t change that fact. Junk food is junk food. Unhealthy food is unhealthy food.
What do you think about the new ruling? Leave your comments below…
Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior