Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FDA, Gluten-Free Labeling

From the FDA press department: “Before finalizing our gluten-free definition, we want up-to-date input from affected consumers, the food industry, and others to help assure that the label strikes the right balance,” said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods. “We must take into account the need to protect individuals with celiac disease from adverse health consequences while ensuring that food manufacturers can meet the needs of consumers by producing a wide variety of gluten-free foods.”

There are 60 days from August 3, 2011 to comment. See more below and here.

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FDA NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Aug. 2, 2011
Media Inquiries: Siobhan DeLancey, 202-510-4177, siobhan.delancey@fda.hhs.gov
Trade Inquiries: Stephen King, 240-402-1407, stephen.king@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA reopens comment period on proposed ‘gluten-free’ food labeling rule
Rule would help by creating a uniform and enforceable definition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today reopened the comment period for its 2007 proposal on labeling foods as “gluten-free.” The agency is also making available a safety assessment of exposure to gluten for people with celiac disease (CD) and invites comment on these additional data.

One of the criteria proposed is that foods bearing the claim cannot contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten. The agency based the proposal, in part, on the available methods for gluten detection. The validated methods could not reliably detect the amount of gluten in a food when the level was less than 20 ppm. The threshold of less than 20 ppm also is similar to “gluten-free” labeling standards used by many other countries.

People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. About 1 percent of the United States population is estimated to have the disease.

“Before finalizing our gluten-free definition, we want up-to-date input from affected consumers, the food industry, and others to help assure that the label strikes the right balance,” said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods. “We must take into account the need to protect individuals with celiac disease from adverse health consequences while ensuring that food manufacturers can meet the needs of consumers by producing a wide variety of gluten-free foods.”

The proposed rule conforms to the standard set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in 2008, which requires that foods labeled as “gluten-free” not contain more than 20 ppm gluten. This standard has been adopted in regulations by the 27 countries composing the Commission of European Communities.

The FDA encourages members of the food industry, state and local governments, consumers, and other interested parties to offer comments and suggestions about gluten-free labeling in docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 at www.regulations.gov. The docket will officially open for comments after noon on Aug 3, 2011 and will remain open for 60 days.

To submit your comments electronically to the docket go to www.regulations.gov
1. Choose “Submit a Comment” from the top task bar
2. Enter the docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 in the “Keyword” space
3. Select “Search”

To submit your comments to the docket by mail, use the following address:

The Division of Dockets Management
HFA-305
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Include docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 on each page of your written comments.

For more information:

Federal Register Notice (scroll to FDA--temporary link will update when document publishes on Aug. 3):
http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Gluten-Free Portal (scroll to Gluten-Free):
http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/default.htm#gluten

FDA’s Proposed Rule on the Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods: http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm077926.htm

Questions and Answers on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/ucm265309.htm

Consumer Update on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule:
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm265212.htm

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

2 comments:

Julie said...

I want to encourage anyone who has an opinion on this issue to PLEASE leave a comment with the FDA. They really do take them into account when making rules like this. Don't count on someone else speaking up for it. Just remember - be polite and make your points simply and in an organized fashion. They usually have a lot of comments to read, and numbering your relevant concerns will bring it to the attention of the individual who has to read through all of the comments more easily. Industry groups will typically have a lawyer send an official-looking document that will spell out their concerns in such a manner. By addressing the FDA in a similar manner, you can bring your own concerns to the forefront with much greater effectiveness. Don't tell your life story, but do mention how particular changes to the law may effect you personally.

Jules said...

I would love to leave a comment, but that website has been buggy and keeps popping up "unexpected errors". Why am I not surprised? lol... I'll keep trying though.