White House (Finally) Reviewing Gluten-Free Labeling Rules

The FDA sent recommendations for gluten-free labeling to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs this week, after nearly eight years of work on the issue.

After nearly eight years of working on the issue, the FDA sent their proposal for gluten-free labeling to the White House on Monday, according to TheHill.com. The White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will need to approve the new rules before they are enacted.

“Establishing a definition of the term 'gluten free' and uniform conditions for its use in the labeling of foods is necessary to ensure that individuals with celiac disease are not misled and are provided with truthful and accurate information with respect to foods so labeled,” the FDA said in a 2011 re-opening of the proposal.

The FDA's proposed definition deems a product “gluten free” if it does not contain: wheat, rye, barley, or any hybrid of these grains; ingredients such as wheat flour that have not been processed to remove gluten; or any item made up of more than 20 parts per million of gluten.

A petition on the White House website urging the government to finalize gluten-free labeling standards has received 36,861 signatures since it was posted in October, 2012. (Way more signatures than a petition on the White House site to “admit that these petitions are just going to be ignored," which only garnered 2,657 signatures so far).

Though the action may spur (gluten-free) parties across the celiac-sensitive nation, gluten-affected folks shouldn't hold their breath. According to TheHill.com, there are currently 143 rules and proposals sitting at OIRA, 84 of which have been sitting for more than the 90-day review limit imposed on the White House.

No word if the be-sequined First Lady, was on hand to receive the envelope containing the FDA's proposal.

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