August 07, 2013

NAMA commends FDA for defining "Gluten Free"

The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) has commended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clearly defining “gluten-free.” The definition is important for consumers’ understanding and industry usage of the term gluten-free. 

Under the FDA definition, oats may be used as an ingredient in a food labeled as "gluten-free" provided that the food contains less than 20 ppm gluten. Oat producers who take the necessary steps to limit the gluten content of oat containing products now have a mechanism to communicate that benefit to consumers.

Guidance on whether oats should be consumed by individuals with coeliac disease has been controversial for many years. NAMA appreciates FDA’s thoughtful consideration of the nutritional contribution of oats in the diets of coeliac patients and commends FDA for not including oats on the list of prohibited grains.

Gluten-free diets are critical for people with coeliac disease and gluten intolerance. They are also helpful for those with allergies to wheat. There is no scientific evidence that suggests a gluten-free diet can provide health benefits for the general population. Research has shown that gluten is actually helpful for healthy gut bacteria in individuals who can tolerate it. For the vast majority, going gluten-free is unnecessary.

Oat grains in their husks
Oat grains in their husks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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