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Volume 13, Number 9 - September 2013

Greetings from Food Label News. This month we report food label history with the recent publishing of the final rule on gluten-free labeling – after nearly 10 years in the making. Read our lead article for what food labelers need to know. You'll also find a bonus installment of our Nutrition Analysis series: a helpful one-pager about rules of thumb for database nutritional analysis. Questions? Comments? Please post them in the Food Label Community on LinkedIn and see what fellow food labelers have to say.

In this issue you'll find:


"I really appreciate all your time with this round of work. Now I can go on vacation at ease, knowing we have the calorie counts we need!"

– Claudia Vasquez
La Madeleine de Corps, Inc.

Finally, a Final Rule for Gluten-free

Nutrition Analysis Series - Bonus
Rules of Thumb for Database Nutrition Analysis

Reader Q&A: Abbreviations for Organic?

What's News in the Food Label Community


Karen C. Duester, President

Finally, a Final Rule for Gluten-free

It’s been since 2004 that the industry has awaited clear regulatory requirements for gluten-free labeling. As part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004, the U.S. Congress directed FDA to begin the rule making process for use of the term gluten-free on food labels. In 2007, FDA issued a Proposed Rule that industry has used as guidance for the past 6 years. The Final Rule just published contains a few changes.

Highlights of the Final Rule:


Gluten-free labeling claims are voluntary and thus there is no established icon or placement requirement.


The threshold to claim gluten-free is less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, consistent with already-established standards in Canada and EU.


A food inherently free of gluten (e.g., milk, lettuce) may carry a gluten-free claim.


If any ingredient is from a whole or refined gluten-containing grain (specified as wheat, rye, barley, and crossbred hybrids), then the food may not be labeled gluten-free – even if the amount is below the 20 ppm threshold. Note that oats is not among the gluten-containing grains.


If an ingredient is processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch) and results in a finished food with less than 20 ppm of gluten, then the food may be labeled gluten-free – only if there is an accompanying statement that the gluten has been removed from the grain.

See the Federal Register announcement and FDA’s new Q&A guidance on gluten-free labeling.

What's News in the
Food Label Community


Judges pressure FDA to take a stance on GMOs in 'natural' foods


FDA updates guidance on medical foods


Can fresh herbs be labeled as spices?


When is it necessary to include water as an ingredient?


Ingredient labeling challenges for very small packages

• Country-of-origin: what counts as 'substantial transformation'?

Connect with other food labelers on LinkedIn

Reader Favorites

U.S./Canada Organic Equivalency Agreement


Search answers to food label questions

With the publication of this Final Rule, companies have until August 5, 2014, (one year after publication) to comply with FDA’s requirements for gluten-free labeling.

Nutrition Analysis Series - Bonus
Rules of Thumb for Database Nutrition Analysis

As a bonus to the just completed series on due diligence with database nutrition analysis, we provide guidelines to help you account for missing nutrition values. These guidelines developed over the past 20 years have been used reliably for thousands of Food Consulting Company client products and includes such items as trans fat calculations, moisture loss and vitamin retention. 

View/print the BONUS one-pager.

View/print the entire Due Diligence Guide.

Reader Q&A

Find answers to our readers' questions or send us your question for an upcoming issue.


My client wants to use OG as an abbreviation for organic in the ingredient statement, for example, stating OG Cocoa Butter instead of Organic Cocoa Butter. They said someone from the confectionery field told them that this type of abbreviation was okay. Is that right?
C.V., Oregon, Product Development


No. There is no provision in the organic labeling rules to abbreviate Organic as OG. Find the National Organic Program rules here. See other reader questions about organic here and here.

What matters in food labeling

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