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National Restaurant Association - FDA says restaurants should ensure gluten-free claims are consistent with federal definition

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FDA says restaurants should ensure gluten-free claims are consistent with federal definition

The Food and Drug Administration indicated this week that a new federal standard for “gluten-free” labeling is not technically binding on restaurants (except for items that restaurants sell in pre-packaged form), but that restaurants should ensure any gluten-free claims they make are consistent with the new federal definition.

The FDA’s final rule on gluten-free labeling took effect Aug. 5, and largely applies to manufacturers that make “gluten-free” claims about packaged food and beverage items. The FDA published the final rule a year ago, and gave companies a year to comply.

In an Aug. 5 Constituent Update, the FDA said for the first time that the rule applies only to “packaged foods,” meaning that restaurant foods not sold in pre-packaged form are not bound by the new “gluten-free” definition. 

However, the agency notes in the update that “given the public health significance of ‘gluten-free’ labeling, the FDA says that restaurants and other establishments making a gluten-free claim on their menus should be consistent with FDA’s definition.”  

Read our Q&A on the FDA gluten-free labeling rule.

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