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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Final Rule from the FDA on Gluten-Free

The FDA’s ruling on the use of “gluten-free” labeling is a triumph for consumers who suffer from Celiac disease, wheat allergies, or other grain-based food intolerances.  When the regulation goes into effect a year from now, consumers who follow a gluten-free lifestyle out of necessity or choice will be able to shop for groceries with more confidence.  
The FDA's final rule is setting a gluten limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million) in foods that carry this label. The FDA explains that is the lowest level that can be consistently detected in foods using scientific analysis. This limit is consistent with those set by other countries and international bodies that set food safety standards. This rule holds foods labeled "without gluten," "free of gluten," and "no gluten" to the same standard.
The FDA rule may not have significant impact on the market size and growth for gluten-free packaged foods, however.  Much of the growth projected by Packaged Facts in its current gluten-free report, which forecasts an increase from $4.2 billion in sales to $6.6 billion between 2012 and 2017, will be attributable to the mainstreaming of specialty marketers whose products and facilities already undergo the testing required to qualify for certification by one of the gluten-free credentialing bodies.

For information on Packaged Facts' report on Gluten Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S., 4th Edition, see

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