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I am gong back in time to understand the new Gluten Free Labeling Laws. What were the governments initial findings in Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection

Public Law 108-282 of August 2, 2004 found that

“celiac disease is an immune-mediated disease that causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, and other organs.” (Sec 202 – 6A) And

“the current recommended treatment is avoidance of glutens in foods that are associated with celiac disease” (Sec 202 – 6B)

The labeling of the eight major allergens with a ‘CONTAINS’ statment applies “to any food that is labeled on or after January 1, 2006″ (Sec 203 – 2D) Wheat is included as one of the major eight allergens but Barley and Rye are not included in that list. This is why the “Gluten Free Labeling” is so important as hidden ingredient can be “derived from….a major food allergen” (Sec 202 – 5B) or “ingredients….declared as a class… [like]…spices, flavorings…are exempt from the ingredient labeling requirements.” (Sec 202 – 5C) Note that the eight major allergens and gluten free were intertwined throughout the record.

“Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with appropriate experts and stakeholders, shall issue a proposed rule to define, and permit use of, the term “gluten-free” on the labeling of foods. Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule to define, and permit use of, the term “gluten-free” on the labeling of foods. (Sec 206)

Also, “shall….pursue revisions of the Food Code to provide guidelines for preparing allergen-free foods in food establishments, including restaurants, grocery store delicatessens and bakeries, and elementary and secondary school cafeterias.” (Sec 209)

This was a good start, although weird that it was attached to as Section II to Public Law 108, which is a law about animal drugs. At least it is being addressed.

The labeling with “Contains” of the top eight allergents started January 1, 2006 as mandated, but the final ruling on gluten free was just made May 2011 and goes into effect September 2012…years after the 4 year mandated.

Responsible Parties are…..

sec 207: Improvement
a) In General.–The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in consultation with the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, shall improve (including by educating physicians and other health care providers) the collection of, and publish as it becomes available, national data on–
(1) the prevalence of food allergies;
(2) the incidence of clinically significant or serious adverse events related to food allergies; and
(3) the use of different modes of treatment for and prevention of allergic responses to foods.

sec 208: research
(a) In General.–The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the National Institutes of Health, shall convene an ad hoc panel of nationally recognized experts in allergy and immunology to review current basic and clinical research efforts related to food allergies.

(b) Recommendations.–Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the panel shall make recommendations to the Secretary for enhancing and coordinating research activities concerning food allergies, which the Secretary shall make public.

Approved August 2, 2004

Like I said, this is old news, but I am trying to understand the new laws as they go into effect and I thought I would bring you down that same road. If you feel I am incorrect in my findings, please let me know! I am not a lawyer or expert, just a member of the Celiac and Gluten Free Community.

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