One of the top questions I get from gluten-free readers coming to the United States is how they can easily find gluten-free products on the shelves. Unfortunately, this isn’t always so easy.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) passed gluten-free labeling regulations in August 2013. This new ruling will help define what gluten-free now means in the United States and will help enforce labeling in this country. You can read more about the US FDA guidelines here.
In the meantime, the labeling here in the United States can get very confusing. There is no one way to tell what is gluten-free. There are some icons that can help you with your grocery shopping but it varies from product to product. See below for the pictures and links to the organizations that back that particular labeling.
Look for these images when you are shopping in the United States.
The Gluten Free Certification Organization
Gluten-Free Certification Program (US and Canada)
The QAI Gluten-Free Certification Program
Celiac Sprue Association Recognition Seal
Canadian Celiac Association Certification (Canada only)
International Certification Services, Inc.: Certified Gluten-Free Standard
GFS Laboratories International and Gluten-Free Standards Foundation
Please note: Until the FDA passed regulations this year, gluten-free labeling is not required or monitored. In addition, not all gluten-free products choose to register with any of these certification programs. Be sure to read ALL of the ingredients before purchasing anything. The icons above are only meant to be a guide.
It is also important to note that each of the above certification programs each test to a different Parts Per Million (PPM) number when it comes to measuring gluten and each use different testing methods. This gets quite confusing, especially for those of you that are familiar with the EU Codex labeling or the The Board of Food Standards Australia / New Zealand.
I really wish I could make this easier not only for those of you traveling to the United States but for those of us that live here as well. I hope this visual guide is somewhat helpful!
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