Important Info Gluten and Food Labeling and Understanding FALCPA Terms

Why Is There a Concern About Gluten?
Gluten describes a group of proteins found in certain grains (such as wheat, barley, and rye). It is of concern because people with celiac disease cannot tolerate it. Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue) is a chronic digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. Recent findings estimate that two million people in the United States have celiac disease, or about 1 in 133 people.
 
What Does FALCPA Require With Regard to Gluten?
FALCPA requires the FDA to issue a proposed rule that will define and permit the voluntary use of the term "gluten-free" on the labeling of foods by August 2006, and a final rule no later than August 2008.
 
How Can I Avoid Foods I'm Allergic To?
The FDA advises consumers to work with their healthcare providers to find out what food(s) can cause an allergic reaction. In addition, consumers who are allergic to major food allergens should read the ingredient statement on food products to determine if products contain a major allergen. A "Contains _______ " statement, if present on a label, can also be used to determine if the food contains a major food allergen.
 
I Don't Understand What Some of the Terms Mean. How Will I Know What They Are?
FALCPA was designed to improve food labeling information so that consumers who suffer from food allergies -- especially children and their caregivers -- will be able to recognize the presence of an ingredient that they must avoid. For example, if a product contains the milk-derived protein casein, the product's label would have to use the term "milk" in addition to the term "casein" so that those with milk allergies would clearly understand the presence of an allergen they need to avoid.
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