BlueSmallIt seems as though more and more products in the grocery store are making “gluten-free” claims. While companies traditionally have used gluten-free claims on niche grain products specifically designed for those with celiac disease, statements about gluten can now be found on a number of products, including dairy foods. Now FDA is taking another step toward defining these claims. FDA has reopened the comment period for a proposed rule regarding gluten-free claims. This was triggered by the recent completion of FDA’s gluten safety assessment. FDA is looking for comments on the safety assessment and its impact on gluten labeling and specifics of labeling a product “gluten-free.” The original proposed rule was released in 2007, as required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). This new comment period will allow more time to provide input on the definition of “gluten-free,” the analytical methods appropriate to test gluten levels and the potential effect it will have on people who must avoid gluten. Impact on Dairy Companies More dairy products are using gluten claims, especially cheeses. While milk and many dairy products are naturally gluten-free, some cheese cultures may be grown on a bread-based medium, and ice creams with bakery inclusions could contain gluten. After the final rule is released, companies making voluntary gluten claims may need to alter their labeling or use specific testing methods to support the claim. IDFA Activities We’re currently reviewing the proposed rule and the safety assessment to determine whether IDFA should submit comments. If you have input on these documents, please let me know at Do any of your products use “gluten-free” or other claims? What do you think the final rule for “gluten-free” labeling should say?