Monday, May 4, 2009

First chance to try Starbuck's gluten-free cake, last chance to comment on gluten-free labeling study

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 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.



erin rogers pickering said...

Hi Amy... So they are not looking for our labeling input at this time, correct?

erin rogers pickering said...

I would love if company's were required to put the ppm of gluten if less than 20ppm (the legal amount to still claim gluten free) so the consumer could calculate their own total, if they are eating multiple foods with trace gluten.

Amy said...

Hi Erin, Right they are only looking for comments on the way the study is set up. (It's been incorrectly reported that you will only be able to comment online. Written comments will be included) I'll let everyone know when they are ready to start taking comments on labels themselves.
I thought your second comment was very interesting. I seem to recall that one of the things that's been said about 20 ppm is that it is a small enough amount the the typical gluten-free consumer in the US would not have to keep track. But it's a point worth exploring a bit more in the magazine.

Lynn said...

I was the first person to purchase the GF cake at my local Starbucks (they hadn't even put them out yet-it was before 7AM) and I thought it was very good. It was nice and moist and even though it was wrapped it still tasted like fresh baked. I bought one for my co worker who is also gluten free and she liked it as well. In fact, she wants me to bring two more for tomorrow!

erin rogers pickering said...

Yes, I think it could be a potential problem for many. I was drinking a rice milk (8-10 oz/day) that was legally labeled GF, but had a trace amount. Until I removed it completely from my diet I was still having many many problems. Within 2 wks I finally felt the amazing I had been waiting for.