Hudson Valley News
9:28 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

NY Congresswoman Hails New FDA Standards For Gluten-Free Labels

Credit WAMC/Allison Dunne

A New York congressional representative from the Hudson Valley visited a supermarket in Westchester today to announce new FDA standards for certain food-labeling.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey stood in front of the gluten-free section inside DeCicco’s Marketplace in northern Westchester County to announce the new Food and Drug Administration labeling guidelines.

The gluten-free labeling guideline is required under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, legislation authored by Lowey and signed into law in 2004. Now, says Lowey, nearly a decade later, the Federal government has set clear standards.

The term "gluten" refers to proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains. The labeling standard is intended to help those with celiac disease - an autoimmune digestive condition that can be effectively managed only by eating a gluten-free diet. Linda Freeman was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004. She is the founder and president of the Hudson Valley Celiac Disease Foundation.

Congresswoman Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, says for a food manufacturer to declare a product is gluten-free, the following must be true.

Linda Freeman says it will make shopping easier and less time-consuming not only for those diagnosed with celiac disease, but also for those who shop for gluten-free products for their friends and family members.

FDA officials say food manufacturers will have one year after the rule is published to bring their labels into compliance.

Lowey is also an original co-sponsor of the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act, which would require medicine and pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose on the label if a medicine contains gluten. Congressman Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is the lead sponsor. They are still building support for the legislation.

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