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Rules & Regulations for Labelling Gluten-Free Foods

November 18, 2016

While only around one percent of the American population has celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes it difficult for people to digest gluten-containing foods, approximately 18 million Americans avoid foods containing gluten due to non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

And in addition to those numbers, more and more people are choosing to eat grain-free, gluten-free, or paleo diets for various health reasons. This makes custom label printing more important than ever as consumers demand brand transparency.

So, what’s a food manufacturer or vendor to do if their foods do or do not contain gluten? We’ll tell you everything you need to know in this article.

Gluten-Free Claims

Back in August of 2013, the FDA issued a new rule that defined “gluten-free” foods for food labelling purposes. This was done to help reassure consumers with gluten allergies or intolerances that specific foods labelled as “gluten-free” would actually be free of gluten and that labels could be trusted as reliable.

While “gluten-free” claims are completely voluntary and manufacturers may decide whether or not they wish to make these claims at all, they must be truthful. For brands who do wish to make gluten-free claims, foods can be labelled in the following ways:

●      Free of gluten

●      Gluten-free

●      Without gluten

●      No gluten

Testing Gluten-Free Foods

Any food or beverages (excluding meat, poultry, certain egg products, and alcoholic beverages) using these claims must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, which is the lowest level of gluten that can be scientifically detected in foods.

Before the rule was passed in 2013, customers could never be 100 percent certain if a food item was gluten-free or not. This made it difficult for many customers to purchase pre-packaged foods, breads, and bakery items.

Today, there is an abundance of gluten-free foods on the market, ranging from breads to pastas to soups. More and more brands are even incorporating grain-free products due to the rise in paleo diets.

What is Gluten?

Even today, there are a lot of misconceptions about gluten and what gluten actually is. First of all, gluten is a mixture of specific proteins that can be found in wheat and other grains, including barley, oats, and rye.

Certain grains do not contain gluten, including quinoa, millet, sorghum, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, teff, amaranth, wild rice, and corn. These grains are excellent options for brands who are working on making the switch to gluten-free ingredients.

However, many gluten-containing grains can be processed to remove the gluten. If gluten has been removed from the product, the item may be labelled as gluten-free as long as it contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.

Labels Customers Can Trust

As a brand, you want your customers to trust your custom label printing. At SheetLabels.com, we have printed or blank allergy labels so you can tell your customers if your product does contain gluten. We also print nutrition labels and a variety of other labels to meet your important custom label printing needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our trusted labelling options that your customers can rely on and trust for years to come.

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