Truth In Labeling: Celiac Community Cheers FDA Rule For Gluten Free | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Truth In Labeling: Celiac Community Cheers FDA Rule For Gluten Free

Play associated audio

If you spot a food package label that says gluten free, you can now be pretty well assured that the label means what it says.

As of Aug. 5, all food manufacturers must be in compliance with a new labeling standard set by the Food and Drug Administration.

The rule states that foods may be labeled "gluten free" only if there's less than 20 parts per million of the protein.

The new regulation is aimed at protecting people with celiac disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder that can destroy the lining of the small intestine.

Flare-ups of the disease can be set off by the consumption of even small amounts of gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and a few other grains. The FDA estimates that it affects about 3 million Americans.

"We're really celebrating," Beth Hillson tells The Salt. She founded Gluten Free Pantry, now part of the company Glutino, after being diagnosed with celiac. She also heads the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

As the gluten-free trend has spread, lots of manufacturers have used the label as a marketing tool. The concern within the celiac community has been that food companies had become sloppy, printing "gluten free" on packages of food that weren't truly free of the protein.

As an anti-wheat sentiment has grown in the U.S., fueled by best-selling books like William Davis' Wheat Belly, there are more people interested in knowing exactly what's in their food — even if it's trace amounts of gluten.

And though there's debate about who can benefit from a gluten-free diet, many mainstream doctors acknowledge that some people with wheat intolerance, particularly those prone to gastrointestinal distress, do better when they eliminate or limit it in their diet.

But the idea that wheat, the top grain source of gluten in the American diet, is somehow bad for all of us doesn't hold up.

As we've reported, Daniel Leffler, a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says "there's good evidence that the vast majority of people actually do just fine with wheat."

So, for most of us, focusing on a healthful pattern of eating is likely more important than trying to avoid one food.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Gets Quizzed On Glad Men

The final season of Mad Men is about to begin, so we've decided to ask the show's creator about men who are glad rather than mad — success coaches, motivational speakers and happiness gurus.
NPR

Making Cheese In The Land Of The Bible: Add Myrrh And A Leap Of Faith

Spring in the West Bank means Bedouin herders' ewes and nanny goats are full of milk — and cheese making abounds. The traditional method relies on a few simple ingredients and a long cultural memory.
NPR

Nigerian President Faces Tough Reelection Campaign

Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to vote for their new president. The incumbent Goodluck Jonathan faces former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who says he's tough on security and corruption.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.