This is a good article from the Washington Post on the FDA's continuing inability to define "gluten-free".
Our comments: People should go to 1in133.organd support the effort to get the government to finally do something!
From the Washington Post:
For seven years, the Food and Drug Administration has been trying to answer this question: What does it mean to be “gluten-free”?
That is roughly the time it took to build a tunnel beneath the English Channel to connect Britain and France.
In the meantime, foodmakers have been deciding for themselves whether they can jump into a lucrative new niche and market their products as free from gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. As a result, some products labeled gluten-free contain no gluten, others might have a trace and still more could contain a sizable amount.
That murkiness is creating a real problem for an increasing number of Americans whose health depends on avoiding even tiny amounts of gluten, which is commonly found in bread, pasta and other staples and even in some unexpected products, such as soy sauce and blue cheese.
The article continues...
Under a 2004 law, Congress gave the FDA until 2008 to establish a uniform definition for companies that want to label their products as gluten-free. But that deadline has come and gone.
“The FDA has spent years calling upon experts to have open-forum debates, town hall meetings — we’ve been having reiteration and reiteration,” said Alessio Fasano, medical director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “They’ve been reiterating and listening to Grandma, Grandpa, people on the street corners. . . . I really don’t understand why it’s lingering up in the air when it really should be a no-brainer.”
In the meantime, Fasano said, the prevalence of celiac disease in this country is soaring partly because changes in agricultural practices have increased gluten levels in crops. “We are in the midst of an epidemic,” he said.
And that has caused an explosion in gluten-free foods. The market is projected to reach $2.6 billion next year, up from $100 million in 2003. Gluten-free cereal, snacks and other foods carry a premium price, creating an alluring growth market for food companies.
Some drugmakers are also producing gluten-free coatings, fillings and capsules for medication. Gluten-free blogs and specialty bakeries are sprouting like wheat. And the gluten-free diet has acquired a faddish lustre that is undoubtedly helping drive sales; stars including Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey have dabbled in life without gluten and boasted how their “detox” diets helped them feel better and more energized.
This article continues at WashingtonPost.com.
Article Courtesy: Dr. Stephen Wangen
Image thanks to BookofYum.com via CreativeCommons.org
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