The Gluten Free Labeling Act has gone into effect as of Aug. 5th, 2014. Food labeled gluten free must not contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten or suffer a penalty. Labeling is voluntary, so those on the gluten free diet still need to read labels on undesignated packaging. There is hope that the gluten free designation will apply to restaurants that offer a gluten free menu, but the FDA has not commented on enforcing standards. Groups like the American Celiac Disease Alliance are following up with the FDA.
The final rule applies to all FDA-regulated foods, but EXCLUDES foods whose labeling is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, such as most meats, poultry, certain egg products and most alcoholic beverages. The USDA and TTB however voluntarily may follow the FDA GF standards on many products. On alcohol made from prohibited grains, then rendered gluten free with enzymes, the TTB states:
“Consistent with the new FDA regulations, TTB will continue to consider “gluten-free” label claims for alcohol beverages that are made from gluten-containing grains to be misleading to consumers who are seeking to avoid the consumption of gluten for health reasons. However, products made from gluten-containing grains may be labeled with a statement that the product was “Processed,” “Treated,” or “Crafted” to remove gluten, if that claim is made together with a qualifying statement that warns the consumer that the gluten content of the product cannot be determined and that the product may contain gluten.”