New 2021 Regulations for Gluten Free Foods
Regulation is being considered in the US Congress to strengthen labeling of gluten and other allergens in food. While some will try to paint this move as excessive regulation, those of us who have no choice but to try and avoid certain ingredients should write to our lawmakers and support this legislation.
December 6th, 2021 article: https://www.theregreview.org/2021/12/06/abely-disclosing-gluten-in-food/
Excerpts to help you decide what to write:
Labeling confusion: "Currently, when a packaged food is not explicitly labeled as gluten-free, a consumer can review a label for the presence of wheat, since wheat must be listed as an allergen. But the gluten-containing grains barley and rye are not currently required to be listed as allergens. A gluten-free consumer, therefore, cannot always tell whether these grains are present in a food—such as when natural flavors, malt syrup, or yeast extract are listed on a label without further details."
Costly food: "Gluten-free-labeled foods often cost more than non-labeled alternates. If gluten-free consumers could accurately tell whether products contain gluten, they could safely purchase a wider variety of foods, often at lower prices, by identifying previously hidden sources of gluten on labels."
Your experience with online shopping: The proposed legislation would also require online food retailers with over a certain amount of sales to disclose all required allergen and gluten-containing grain information at the online point of sale. This provision would address the growing importance of online food shopping.
You are not alone: Consumer Reports has endorsed the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021, as have the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Environmental Working Group, the National Celiac Association, the Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond Celiac, and the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Food Codes from FDA need State by State Ratification
Keep in mind that this is only for packaged foods, and mostly for non perishable foods. If you eat in a restaurant you're taking a different risk. The FDA Food Code is involved in restaurant quality. States can simply not ratify more modern food codes and that's exactly what's happening in NC right now. You can find out more about food codes and the status of ratifying them in NC by contacting your local health department. I think the 2009 food code first included allergens and gluten in it, but the last time I checked with the health department, they said it hasn't been adopted in NC yet.
FDA Food codes by year: https://www.fda.gov/food/fda-food-code/state-retail-and-food-service-codes-and-regulations-state
Please write and contact your lawmakers to emphasize how difficult Gluten Free is, how expensive and how they can help.
Your Senators: https://www.senate.gov/states/NC/intro.htm
Your US Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives Press N, scroll down to North Carolina.
NC Legislators (state level): https://www.ncleg.gov/Members/RepresentationByCounty/H
TLDR: Most foods you find on the shelves of grocery stores that claim Gluten Free, actually are. The new law will require large online retailers to give allergen information at the point of sale. However, the restaurant industry is far behind grocery stores in providing safe food. The Modernization of restaurant practices due to food allergens must be ratified by each state, and this has not been done in the majority of states, including North Carolina. Stay home and cook for yourself while you are recovering and be cautious if you must eat in restaurants.
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