News on Wellness

New Standards for Gluten Free Labels Start

gluten freeGluten-Free labels on food starting this week have real meaning. Up until now, gluten free was not regulated and the product’s manufacturers were the decision makers about what the term meant.

The new requirement has great importance for the people who are suffers of celiac disease and are not able to absorb nutrients that well. Those who suffer from the disease can become sick from gluten in wheat and other types of cereal grains.

Under regulations announced last year, food manufacturers were allowed until August 5 to ensure anything that is labeled as gluten free has less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

That ensures those products are technically speaking free of barley, rye and wheat. That particular amount is normally recognized amongst the medical community as being low enough that most people with celiac disease will not become sick from eating it.

At this time, wheat has to be labeled on packaged foods, but rye and barley are often times hidden ingredients.

Celiac disease can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating and people with it can suffer loss of weight, rashes, fatigue and other medical problems over the long term.

Celiac is an illness that is diagnosed that is severer that that of gluten sensitivity which is self-diagnosed by some people.

A decade ago, the majority of people did not know of celiac disease. However, awareness and more diagnosis of the disease have grown recently.

It is not clear why people suffer from this disease. Some researchers have said it has been under-diagnosed, while others blame it on more products of processed wheat being eaten, such as baked goods and pasta, than previously. Those particular items use forms of wheat that have a higher content of gluten.

The new standard ensures that companies will not label their product as gluten free if they can be cross contaminated from products made within the same facility.

These rules are not applicable for restaurants, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has encouraged the industry to comply.

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