In The News: FDA Still Needs to Define Gluten-Free

| 4/29/2011 3:37:25 PM

S.CollinsMany people follow a gluten-free lifestyle, whether it is for medical or personal reasons. But do you know what gluten-free truly means? If you do, then you should pass along your information for the Food and Drug Administration because it has taken them seven years (and counting) to figure it out.

Originally the FDA was supposed to figure out a specific definition of gluten-free food by 2008. A 2004 law established this deadline. According to the article 3 years after deadline, FDA still hasn’t defined ‘gluten-free, the FDA said that it was tricky to define a food as gluten-free.

According to The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, more than 3 million Americans have celiac disease and 97 percent of those 3 million are undiagnosed. Celiac disease is an inherited disorder that affects the small intestine. This means that when a person with this disease eats a product with gluten, which includes most grains, the person’s immune system responds by attacking its small intestines. Celiac disease can lead to osteoporosis, infertility and maybe even cancer.

4/29/2011 Gluteny Breads 
People with celiac disease cannot eat bread because of its gluten content.
Photo by kidmissile/Courtesy Flickr

As you can see, this disease can seriously affect someone’s health. However, because the FDA has yet to regulate gluten-free foods, many products are attempting to be gluten-free without a federal regulation to follow. This has caused quite a few problems because some gluten-free products on the market do indeed contain gluten. According to the article, some companies are even putting a gluten-free label on foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as water. This obviously can spark confusion among consumers.

If you think you have celiac disease, be sure to read the list of symptoms from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.