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Food and Drug Law Articles by Eric F. Greenberg

by Eric F. Greenberg

Dude! Gluten rules!

Gluten rules, as the surfers might say, but not in the way they might mean it. It rules the lives of those who have to avoid it for health reasons, and even some who avoid it for the wrong reasons.

Meanwhile, gluten rules, in the sense of FDA’s new rules defining what it means for a food to be “gluten-free” and say so in its labeling, became effective in early August. The framework these rules set up is unique, perhaps because the issue of gluten in food presents some unique challenges.

Gluten’s not a major allergen, but the legal provisions leading to rules about it were included in the same law as the one for major allergens, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004. That law also set up new requirements for label statements about those 8 major allergens, namely milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

The problems gluten presents are somewhat like those presented by major allergens: it creates health conditions in some people that can’t be cured, so those people affected by it just have to avoid it.

But gluten is unlike allergens in that lots of consumers avoid gluten in their diet, even though gluten’s not a health problem for many of them, though it’s a very serious problem for some of them.

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