Last FitFoodWays featured the US FDA Key Initiatives for calories and sodium in its Strategic Plan 2012-2016.
This FitFoodWays highlights the use of gluten-free in food labeling and industrially-produced trans fats in the US food supply.
Gluten-free Food Labeling
Gluten helps dough rise, keep bread and breadstuffs from falling apart and contribute chewy texture and robust flavor. Cakes, cereals, pastas and many other foods are made with gluten to improve baking quality and/or texture.
But gluten can trigger autoimmune health-threatening reactions in people with celiac disease, the most common food-sensitive intestinal problem. The only treatment is a life-long “gluten-free” diet.
According to the US FDA, about 1 percent of the US population has this inherited disorder. Others avoid gluten to limit carbohydrates which may help weight control.
The US FDA has been working to define gluten-free to:
- eliminate uncertainty about gluten in food labeling
- assure consumers gluten-free meets clearly established and enforced standards
In 2007…the US FDA proposed gluten-free labeling to identify foods that do not contain any of the following:
- wheat, rye, barley or crossbreeds
- ingredients derived from these grains that are not processed to remove gluten
- ingredients derived from these grains that are processed to remove gluten if ≥ 20 ppm
- ≥ 20 ppm gluten
Manufacturers have since produced foods with ≤ 20 ppm gluten. It is now possible to measure gluten as tiny as 5 ppm.
In 2011…the US FDA reopened public comments on gluten-free labeling.
In 2012…the US FDA is considering “alternative approaches” to measure gluten-free threshold levels other than 20 ppm. One option may be to label gluten per serving.
In late 2012…the US FDA’s final gluten-free rule is expected.
But for some celiac sufferers, this may be too little too late.
Industrially-produced Trans Fats in
US Food Supply
Partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils have been sources of trans fats in the US diet for over 100 years. Trans fats are also naturally found in small amounts in beef and dairy fats.
To reduce industrially-produced trans fats in the food supply, the US FDA’s Key Initiatives include:
- complete and publish updated trans fat intake assessment
- implement options for further reductions of trans fats in the food supply
- collaborate with the CDC and USDA to monitor trans fat intake
But like gluten-free, why the wait?
FitFoodWays—Good for You and Delicious Too!
Until our next FitFoodWays…