Have you ever wondered if the product you’re eating is really “gluten free” as claimed? The U.S. government is now asking the same question.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of enforcing its ruling that companies making a “gluten free” claim must comply with strict standards – allowing such products to contain only a trace 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten or less. If a product doesn’t meet the new requirements, it will be considered “misbranded” and will be subject to FDA regulatory action, which could include product recalls and civil penalties.
The FDA ruling has been hailed as a victory for people suffering from the serious digestive condition celiac disease, and for people whose health is affected in other ways by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and related grains.
As part of its enforcement, the FDA says it can monitor products’ gluten levels in several ways, including periodic inspections of food-manufacturing facilities, food label reviews, follow-up on consumer and industry complaints, and gluten testing of food samples.
Consumers should know that companies still will not be required to test for gluten levels in their own products or facilities, as long as the final product meets the FDA gluten-free standards. But the FDA says that companies may choose to insure their own quality control in the following ways:
- Get Certified. Seek certification from a respected gluten-free certification program, such as the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). When Uncle Wally’s and Pillsbury teamed up to create our new Pillsbury ™ Gluten Free Ready to Eat Muffins, we sought and earned certification from the GFCO, which sets strict standards for food preparation and gluten testing. Click here to read about the rigorous procedures we take to insure a gluten-free muffin.
- Self Monitor. Conduct in-house gluten testing of starting ingredients and finished foods.
- Hire a Lab. Employ an independent laboratory to conduct in-house gluten testing.
- Check the Source. Request certificates of gluten analysis from ingredient suppliers.
If you are still asking yourself how you can be sure a product is gluten-free, it might be a good idea to find out which – if any – method a company uses to test ingredients, facilities and products for gluten, and whether it has earned a reputable gluten-free certification. Also, your own doctor can be a great resource for information on which gluten-free products might best meet your health needs.
SOURCE: US Food and Drug Administration
Pillsbury™ Gluten Free Ready to Eat Muffins, available in Blueberry and Chocolate Chip, are certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization. They are available in the all-natural freezer case at Wegmans Food Markets, Ingles Markets, ShopRite Supermarkets and Giant Eagle Stores. Pillsbury is a trademark of General Mills, used under license.