We are really, really busy working on the next issue of Gluten-Free Living, but I wanted to take a minute to remind you that tomorrow, May 5, is significant in two ways for those following the gluten-free diet.
First, Starbucks is expected to launch it's new gluten-free Orange Valencia cake nationwide. Not a lot more to say about this than we can't wait! It is supposed to be in the pastry case and clearly marked gluten free.
Second, if you are interested in commenting on the FDA's experimental study of gluten-free labeling the deadline is also tomorrow.
To comment on the Internet go to http://tinyurl.com/cw3s92. So far the FDA has only posted seven comments. I am not surprised by the low number, given how difficult it is to understand exactly what kind of comments the FDA is looking for.
At this point the FDA is only interested in comments on how the study is set up. In about two months, the agency will start to collect consumer input on the actual point of the study, which is to determine what consumers think of labels like "free of gluten," "without gluten," and "no gluten." The FDA also wants to know what consumers think of advisory statements like, "made in a gluten-free facility."
Michael Herndon, an FDA spokesman, said the study is designed to test how effective gluten-free labeling options being considered by the agency are. The FDA is working on a definition for the gluten-free label because it is required to come up with one by Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
Specifically, the FDA wants to see if study participants understand what gluten-free labels mean or if the labels cause them to make incorrect assumptions about gluten-free food.
About 5,000 people will participate, including those have celiac disease or gluten intolerance or care for someone who does. A review of the public comments should be the last step before a final definition is approved, but the FDA has not said how long that will take.