New Gluten-free Labelling is going into Effect
New legislation is making “gluten-free” labelling more stringent. This marks the end of a year-long period of adjustment that companies were given to reduce the gluten content in food items labelled “gluten-free” to 20 parts per million. The rationale behind 20 parts per million is at this density, the majority of individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will not suffer an inflammatory reaction.
Though many individuals have “self-diagnosed” gluten sensitivity, the legislative changes are specifically designed to help those who are clinically-diagnosed with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that negatively impacts the digestive system, namely the small intestine; causing severe inflammatory reactions when gluten is consumed. Gluten is a protein-based compound predominantly found in wheat products, but is present in present in a number of other food products such as barley and rye.
Individuals with celiac disease often experience a myriad of issues common to digestive pathologies such as bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, anemia, seizures, and mouth ulcers. Consuming gluten will greatly increase the severity of these symptoms; making it imperative that sufferers stray far from products rich in the compound. While wheat is identified separately in the allergen section of most food labels, the same does not hold true for rye and barley and are therefore often overlooked. This in part has paved the way for the new law limiting the presence of gluten in foods labelled “gluten-free” to hopefully make a direct/immediate impact on the lives of individuals who suffer from gluten sensitivity.
This new labelling will ensure that products that claim to be gluten-free are not cross-contaminated with other products containing gluten. For example, a large multi-product company might produce both regular and gluten-free products in the same facility; however, if more stringent measures are not employed to guarantee no cross-contamination, the products made without gluten cannot be labelled “gluten-free.”
Over the past decade, the term “gluten-free” and awareness of celiac disease has grown substantially. Researchers believe that greater quantities of processed wheat products have contributed to the recent rise in individuals diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. These steps will help guarantee that individuals looking to abstain from gluten can better rely on food labeling and hopefully reduce their risk for experiencing debilitating symptoms.