What Does the Gluten Free Label Mean?
A gluten free diet is necessary if you have been diagnosed with certain conditions such as celiac disease or gluten ataxia. Understanding the gluten free label is critical when navigating this new world.
The US FDA gluten free label certifies that the food, drink, or supplement contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
20 ppm is the scientifically determined level of gluten that has been shown to be tolerated by those with celiac disease. This is the threshold used in the US, Canada, and Europe. It may be different in other countries, so do your research before traveling.
There is no specific gluten free label or symbol required. Any label that states “gluten free” or “GF” must meet the FDA’s criteria.
Inherently gluten free foods, like bottled water or tomatoes, are also allowed to be labeled gluten free (even though it’s unnecessary).
How to Know if a Food is Gluten Free
There are three things to check for when reading labels if you have celiac disease:
- Gluten Free Label: Look for a gluten free label. It can be anywhere on the package. It may spell out “Gluten Free” or simply say “GF.” If the label is there, you’re good to go (assuming you don’t have food allergies to check for as well).
- Ingredient List: If there is no gluten free label, then check the ingredient list. This is typically located under Nutrition Facts. The font is usually microscopic, so don’t forget your reading glasses when grocery shopping!
- Allergens Declaration: If the ingredient list looks good, then check the allergy disclaimer underneath. This may say something like, “May contain peanuts and milk” or, “Made in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy, and eggs.” If wheat is not on this list, and you already checked for other gluten-containing grains in the ingredient list, then it is likely safe to eat this food.
It’s a pain, I agree.
My family and I live this every day. The easiest thing is to stick with foods that have a GF label or choose whole, unprocessed foods.
Transitioning to a gluten free diet is a process. It requires education, support, patience, and time.
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Navigating the gluten free world can feel overwhelming at first. Layered Living provides the support needed to successfully transition your diet.
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Celiac Disease Foundation. (2014, August 5). 10 Fast Facts About the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://celiac.org/about-the-foundation/featured-news/2014/08/fda-gluten-free-food-labeling-information-page/
Celiac Disease Foundation. (n.d.). Label Reading & the FDA. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/gluten-free-foods/label-reading-the-fda/
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This blog post is general information only and is not to be substituted for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.