Beyond Celiac Supports Bill That Would Require Products to Disclose Gluten-Containing Grains on Labels

If passed, barley and rye would join wheat as a required grain to be specifically listed on packaged foods

Ambler, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES


Philadelphia, PA, Aug. 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Beyond Celiac, the leading accelerator for a celiac disease cure in the United States, is pleased to support the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021 (FLMA) (H.R 4917/S. 2594), introduced in Congress today by New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. If passed, this bill would have a significant positive impact for those living with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity as it requires all manufacturers to disclose any gluten-containing grains on their labels. 

"Because the gluten-free diet is the only currently available treatment for people with celiac disease, removing barriers to identifying gluten in foods and beverages is an important step to helping them live healthier, less stressful lives,” said Salvatore Alesci, MD, Beyond Celiac chief scientist and strategy officer. “Research has shown that not only is the gluten-free diet difficult to follow due to cross-contact and lack of labeling clarity but also that it can have a negative psychological impact on those needing to live gluten-free.”

Currently, wheat is the only gluten-containing grain that is required to be disclosed on food and beverage labels. If the legislation passes, barley and rye ingredients would also need to be listed. Because barley and rye ingredients may be included in ingredients such as malt, yeast, and flavorings, but not always, people with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders may be at a loss to know if they can safely consume that item. This bill would amend the FALPCA (Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act) requiring that all gluten-containing grains (including barley and rye) be disclosed on food product packaging. This would greatly reduce the guesswork currently required for people to safely eat gluten-free.

For example, currently, a label may state “natural smoke flavor” in its ingredients. This bill would require that if wheat, barley or rye are used anywhere in that ingredient, they would then need to be called out on the label. Foods labeled gluten-free currently require compliance with a gluten content of less than 20 parts per million. That requirement would not be affected with passage of the FLMA.

“Labeling laws have come a long way since I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, however, we still have a long way to go. The passage of the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021 would be a huge step forward in helping those on a gluten-free diet eat safely and without fear. It gives the gluten-free consumer the power of knowledge. We at Beyond Celiac fully support this bill and are grateful for the work of Congressmen Pallone and Blumenthal, along with the work of my staff and the many celiac disease organization along with Gluten-Free Watchdog and everyone else who have come together to help get these bills on the floor,” said Alice Bast, CEO of Beyond Celiac.

Beyond Celiac encourages everyone in the celiac disease and gluten-sensitive community to contact their representatives and senators to urge them to support FLMA. A sample letter can be found on the Beyond Celiac website.


About Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 133 Americans, more than half of whom are still undiagnosed. The disease causes damage to the small intestine, resulting in debilitating symptoms, and if left untreated, can lead to serious long-term health problems including infertility and some types of cancer.

About Beyond Celiac

Founded in 2003, Beyond Celiac is the leading catalyst for a celiac disease cure in the United States, serving as a patient advocacy and research-driven organization working to drive diagnosis, advance research and accelerate the discovery of new treatments. By engaging with the top scientists in the field, making the right investments in research and supporting the broad community of those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, Beyond Celiac envisions a world in which people can live healthy lives and eat without fear – a world Beyond Celiac. www.BeyondCeliac.org.

 

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People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity face a daily burden in their efforts to avoid the protein in wheat, rye and barley, which for some can cause immediate and severe symptoms and potential long-term negative health consequences. People with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders must deal with the negative physical and psychological impacts of inadvertent gluten exposure and the fear of getting glutened.

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