FDA proposes new labeling rule for GF pickles

The FDA has proposed new regulations to clarify labeling requirements for fermented, distilled and hydrolyzed food with “gluten-free” claims.

The day where you can slop gluten-free sauerkraut on your gluten-free hot dog in your gluten-free bun is coming. The FDA has released a proposed rule to set up requirements for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods with fermented and hydrolyzed ingredients that claim to be “gluten-free.”
Wait? Don’t we already have rules for gluten-free labeling? Yep, but the feds kind of held the pickles on that one. The 2013 Food and Drug Administration's Gluten-Free Labeling Regulation set the safety threshold for labeling products gluten-free at 20 ppm or less and defined the use of ingredients and labeling terms. However, the rule addressed the uncertainty in interpreting the results of current gluten test methods for fermented and hydrolyzed foods in terms of intact gluten. Because of this uncertainty, the agency has now issued this new proposal to provide alternative ways to verify compliance for these types of foods based on records that are made and kept by the manufacturer. The foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, cheese, green olives, vinegar and FDA regulated beers.
Based on an FDA press release about the new proposed regulations, the rule would require manufacturers to make and keep records demonstrating assurance that
- the food meets the requirements of the gluten-free food labeling final rule before fermentation or hydrolysis.
- the manufacturer has adequately evaluated its process for any potential gluten cross-contact, and
- where a potential for gluten cross-contact has been identified, the manufacturer has implemented measures to prevent the introduction of gluten into the food during the manufacturing process.
The agency is accepting comments on the proposal.
Their action comes just in time. Fermented foods are hot, according to Barbara Brueckner, vice president, innovation manager, at Mattson & Co., who says the trend growing.

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