GF Pre-Packaged Food Labeling in the USA
affects pre-packaged foods, menus are only regulated in some states and there is NO Federal regulation concerning “free from” claims on menu items.
The FDA requires all manufactured foods labeled as gluten free follow strict guidelines. The most important part of this regulation is that the food manufacturer must be able to prove their food product contain 19ppm (parts per million) or less of gluten in order to qualify as “Gluten Free”. PPM is particulate matter, can be smaller than dust and not always visible to the naked eye.
All USA Pre-Packaged Food Labels must include an Allergen Statement if any of the FDA’s 8 Allergens are present in source ingredients: Milk, Eggs, Fish, Crustacean Shellfish, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Wheat and Soybeans. Please note, “wheat” – not gluten, qualifies under the allergen definition. Therefore, gluten from rye or barley will not be noted on the Allergen Statement.
Prepackaged Food Certification: The “GF Certified Gluten-Free” circular symbol is not regulated by the US Government. It is part of the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a non-profit organization. Their measurement standard for acceptable minimum glutens in food requires pre-packaged food manufacturers product be 10ppm or less to qualify as “Certified Gluten Free.”
“No Gluten Ingredients” means the manufacturer does not know or can not prove that the product contains 19ppm or less of gluten. However, many manufacturers take great care to prevent gluten from being in source ingredients but have not undergone the vigorous process necessary for proof.
“Gluten Free” Labeling on Menus is Not Regulated in Most US States: Restaurant, Deli and Food Service Menus are NOT regulated under the guidelines of gluten free labeling. In many states (Vermont included) It is up to the businesses themselves to maintain high standards to reduce or eliminate cross contact of proteins. I encourage you to find out if your state has “gluten free” menu labeling initiatives.
“Understanding Gluten Free Labeling in USA”
(c)2016 Liz Conforti, Forget What You Know About Wheat