Gluten-Free Labeling Takes Effect Monday (More or Less)

The FDA on Aug. 2 published its final definition of gluten-free. So with the traditional 30-day waiting period, the rule will take effect on Monday, Sept. 2. Since it's Labor Day, you can take the day off. Actually, food processors have a full year from now to bring food labels into compliance.

The new rule requires that, in order to use the term "gluten-free" on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition; first and foremost that it contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The same rule applies to the claims "no gluten," "free of gluten" and "without gluten."

The FDA said many foods currently labeled as gluten-free may be able to meet the new federal definition immediately. Other processors now have a clear target to aim for. If you're in the latter group, don't wait a year to get your products in line, if gluten-free is a claim you want to make.

The Federal Register publication is at

Now if only the agency could craft a definition for "natural."