Everything You Need To Know About Gluten-Free Labeling on Your Food Products
Gluten-free labeling

Gluten-free labeling is getting more attention these days as more people are becoming aware of their sensitivity to it

Did you know that around 3 million people in the United States, or about 1% of the population, have celiac disease? Studies by the Cleveland Clinic suggest that about 6% of the U.S. population has a gluten sensitivity or is gluten-intolerant.

If you are making food products to sell to customers, you will need to create ingredient and nutrition labels to inform consumers as to what exactly is in them, so people know if it is safe for them to eat or not.

This is especially important for people with gluten sensitivity. And with millions of people discovering that gluten doesn’t agree with them or are intolerant of it, you need to make sure that gluten-free labeling on your food products conveys the message that your food is safe for them to consume.

By using gluten-free labeling on your gluten-free food products, you are opening up a whole new customer base of people with gluten sensitivity. If your food product is gluten-free, you need gluten-free labeling to inform your customers for health and safety reasons, marketing, and sales.

In this blog, we will discuss gluten and gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and how to get gluten-free labeling on your food products.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It gives bread dough elasticity, helps it rise, and helps other foods maintain their shape. Gluten is in more food products than you might think — not just bread. Many fermented foods contain gluten, as well as soups, pasta, cereal, beer, and more.

What Is Gluten Sensitivity?

A person with gluten sensitivity has an adverse reaction to gluten. Symptoms may include diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. Gluten sensitivity is different from celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity is a sensitivity while celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can affect people of all ages. An intolerance to gluten causes it. People with celiac disease must avoid all products that contain gluten.

For those with celiac disease, foods with gluten trigger the production of antibodies that attack and damage the small intestine’s wall lining. This damage inhibits the ability to absorb nutrients, putting them at risk for several other severe health problems such as osteoporosis, miscarriages, slow growth, infertility, and intestinal cancers.

What Is the Rule for Gluten-Free Labeling From the FDA?

On August 2, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a ruling on gluten-free labeling.

Here are the essential points of the ruling:

  • The term “gluten-free” means that food bearing this claim doesn’t contain the following:
    • A gluten-containing ingredient (such as wheat).
    • An ingredient derived from wheat that has not been processed to remove gluten (wheat flour).
    • An ingredient derived from wheat that has been processed to remove the gluten (wheat starch). You can include this ingredient as long as it doesn’t result in more than 20 parts per million (PPM) of gluten in the whole food product.
  • All the ways your food can be misbranded or mislabeled with the terms “no gluten,” free of gluten,” or “without gluten” attached to it if your food product isn’t gluten-free.
  • They are establishing the rules for the term “gluten-free.”

The rule helps customers with celiac disease be more confident in the gluten-free labeling on food products.

There was also a new ruling released on August 12, 2020, by the FDA on the gluten-free labeling of hydrolyzed and fermented foods such as pickles, yogurt, sauerkraut, cheese, green olives, plant proteins, and FDA-regulated beer and wine. You can learn more about that ruling here.

It is essential to note that using gluten-free labeling is a voluntary action.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gluten-Free Labeling


Can Grains Such as Oats, Rice, and Buckwheat Be Labeled Gluten-Free?

Yes, but only if any unavoidable cross-contact gluten present is less than 20 PPM.

Where Should the “Gluten-Free” Claim Be on the Nutrition Label?

First, “gluten-free” labels are optional. Second, the FDA doesn’t have a specific location for the label as long as it doesn’t cover any other FDA-required information.

Is It Possible To Have Ingredients Derived From Gluten-Containing Grains To Have Gluten-Free Labeling?

They can be labeled gluten-free if they are adequately distilled of all proteins and gluten. An ingredient derived from a gluten-containing component that has been appropriately refined properly could use the claim gluten-free as long as it meets the requirements of the new gluten regulations.

The August 2020 rule states that it is unlikely that gluten will be present in an ingredient that has been distilled because distillation is a purification process that effectively separates materials like proteins and sugars.

How Can You Get Gluten-free Labeling on Your Food Products?

With the two new rules in place from the FDA, it is vital to ensure that if you choose to use gluten-free labeling on your food products, you do so properly and professionally.

While gluten-free labeling is voluntary, if your food product is gluten-free, you should display that information prominently on your food and nutrition labels.

Furthermore, you should adequately display the ingredients in your food products so that people with celiac disease can easily recognize if your food product is safe for them to eat or not.

The best way to calculate your food’s nutritional content on your nutrition labels is to use software that will quickly identify and calculate the nutritional content of your food and create a label that follows all the guidelines set out by the FDA.

Final Thoughts

More people are discovering their gluten sensitivities every day, which means that if your food product is gluten-free and certified by the FDA, there is a vast market for you.

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to market your product specifically to people with gluten sensitivities; it’s a bonus that your product is gluten-free. Many non-gluten-sensitive people will also buy your product as well. But with gluten-free labeling, you include a large group of people who otherwise would not buy your product.

Nutritionist Pro™ has been helping those in the food, health, and fitness industries since 1982, providing nutrition applications and data to millions of people and businesses who want the best for themselves and their clients. We help people in over 100 countries with nutritional analysis and labeling needs.