On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its latest guideline to set up compliance requirements for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients, and that bear the “gluten-free” claim or guarantee. The issued rules pertain to foods such as soy sauce, yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, cheese and green olives. Distilled foods, such as distilled vinegars, are also included in the final rule.
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Gluten is a mixture made of proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. This may result to serious health complications, causing adverse health effects in people with celiac disease. In individuals with the celiac disease, foods that contain gluten significantly trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This extent of damage limits the ability of people with celiac disease to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk of other serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature and intestinal cancers.
“These new compliance requirements for labeling a product ‘gluten-free’ will protect individuals with celiac disease, an incurable, hereditary disorder that millions of Americans, including myself, live with,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
He further added, “The FDA’s final rule helps to ensure common products labeled ‘gluten-free’ really are gluten-free, equipping consumers to make the best choices for their health and their families.”
The final and ultimate FDA issued rules and guidelines adds compliance requirements for hydrolyzed or fermented foods that use the “gluten-free” labeling claim. It is because the gluten breaks down during these processes and so far, currently available analytical methods cannot be used to determine if these products meet the “gluten-free” definition.
The standard requires makers of these food items to make and keep records giving satisfactory confirmation that: the food meets the meaning of “without gluten” before aging or hydrolysis; the producer has sufficiently assessed the potential for cross-contact with gluten during the assembling procedure; and if important, measures are set up to forestall the presentation of gluten into the food during the assembling procedure. The standard additionally talks about how FDA will confirm consistence for refined items. The meaning of “without gluten,” built up in 2013, isn’t changed by this new last guideline.
“The FDA continues to work to protect people with celiac disease, which impacts at least 3 million Americans,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.
It was further claimed in press release that, “The agency has taken a number of steps on this front by first establishing a standardized definition of ‘gluten-free,’ and now by continuing to work to ensure manufacturers are keeping the products that are labeled with this claim gluten-free.”