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Petition for FDA Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods for Celiacs

By Peter Olins, PhD and Gillian Olins, PhD on October 5, 2012.

A petition urging FDA gluten-free labeling has just been started, and will be submitted to the US White House if enough signatures are collected.

In 2011 we wrote extensively on the subject of preferred FDA labeling for gluten-free foods in the US, in a blog entitled: Proposed FDA Standard for Gluten-Free Foods (20 ppm) May Not Adequately Protect the Food Supply for Celiacs. After considering the comments that we received, we refined our position and submitted our recommendation to the FDA during it’s open comment period in 2011. Details of this letter can be found at: Letter to FDA on Labeling of Gluten-Free Foods for Celiacs.

Just to recap, based on the very limited clinical safety data available, we believe that the proposed 20 ppm standard for gluten-free labeling of foods is too lenient, and this standard should either be lowered or an interim “low gluten” labeling be used. A key point in our commentary was that a 20 ppm gluten concentration was not meaningful from a safety perspective, since the actual intake would depend on the amount of a food consumed. Instead, we recommended that the FDA develop an amount per serving labeling. This would have the added benefit that some food products with a greater than 20 ppm gluten concentration would still be considered safe for celiacs.

In a teleconference last year, the FDA stated that it hoped to issue a final ruling by the third quarter of 2012. The FDA has let its deadline slip again, and we are concerned that little apparent progress is being made. We are not aware of the reason for the delay—it may be logistical or it may reflect the difficulty of developing a meaningful standard—no public statement has been made. One new way to voice your opinion about the urgency of this would be to add your name to the petition below, created by Jennifer I. of Sebastopol, CA. The petition can be found here, and includes the following text:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Finalize Standards for GLUTEN-FREE Labeling The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act required Health and Human Services to set a gluten-free labeling rule by 2008 to aid people with celiac disease, a life-threatening autoimmune condition. The only known treatment is a strict gluten-free diet. An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac and even more may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Without adequate labeling, those on a medically prescribed gluten-free diet struggle to make safe food choices and stay well. Children with celiac cannot participate in the National School Lunch Program when food service staff cannot determine if products are gluten-free. Congress did its part by passing the law. It is up to the White House to protect the health of millions of adults and children by finalizing the rule NOW. Created: Oct 02, 2012

If this petition urging FDA gluten-free labeling appeals to you, please note that the deadline is November 1, 2012, and 25,000 signatures will be required for it to be submitted.

1 comment to Petition for FDA Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods for Celiacs

  • Gluten Free Labeling Petition Hit Goal of 25,000 Signatures

    […] The best article that describes what this petition is all about is located here: Petition for FDA Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods for Celiacs […]

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