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Understanding the FDA ruling on gluten free labeling

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The FDA recently announced its official final rule to define the term “gluten free” in the labeling of packaged foods.

Here are a few highlights of the new FDA ruling enacted August 13: 

  • The rule is voluntary, meaning manufacturers have the choice of making a claim of gluten free or not. If a product uses the gluten free claim, it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

  • Restaurants, cafeterias and buffets that claim “gluten free” on a menu item are required to follow this FDA rule.
  • Claims such as “processed in a facility that also processes wheat” can still be made on the package.
  • Foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” must also meet the definition of “gluten free.”
  • Food manufacturers will have a year after the rule was enacted (August 5, 2014) to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirement.

The new rule benefits people with celiac disease, an inherited chronic inflammatory auto-immune disorder that is estimated to affect around 3 million Americans. People with celiac disease must strictly avoid gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains. This rule will also help people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity who have many health related symptoms similar to celiac disease that improve dramatically when they avoid eating gluten.

Why is this important?
Without a standard definition of gluten free, people with gluten-related health problems have no way of knowing if a packaged food is truly gluten free or if it has been tested to meet strict standards. Once the ruling fully goes into effect on August 5, 2014, you can be confident foods labeled “gluten free” truly are free of gluten.

What We’re Doing About It
Lunds and Byerly’s has partnered with the Gluten Intolerance Group and their product certifying group, the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). When you shop Lunds and Byerly’s stores, look for this tag:

You can be assured these products are certified to be gluten free by the GFCO at less than 20 parts per million (ppm), the same as the FDA’s new ruling that goes into effect next year. Currently we have about 600 products that are certified gluten free and that number is growing every week.

Where can I get more information?
• Ask the FoodE Expert at your Lunds or Byerly’s store for help identifying gluten-free products
Learn more on our website >
Read more in our blog >
• Or contact me at

Tags: glutengluten free

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