Are both of these statements allowed on the same product: gluten-free AND manufactured on machinery that also processes wheat?
In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month 2018,
A series of bites, barks, tail wags, face licks, and pant tugs from Gluten Free Watchdog
May 7, 2018
Gluten Free Watchdog Pant Tug, Post # 7
Question: Is the statement below true or false?
Foods labeled gluten-free are allowed to include the statement “manufactured on machinery that also processes wheat.”
Why? Allergen advisory statements for wheat are allowed on foods labeled gluten-free. Regardless, they must be in compliance with the FDA’s gluten-free labeling rule and contain <20 parts per million of gluten. In the U.S., allergen advisory statements are voluntary and are not currently defined by any federal regulation. The FDA does say that allergen advisory statements must be truthful and not misleading. Precautionary labeling may include language such as, “May contain wheat,” “Processed in a facility that uses wheat,” and “Produced on equipment that also processes wheat.” For consumers, such statements are understandably confusing and concerning. However, allergen advisory statements for wheat do NOT appear to be useful predictors of the potential for quantifiable gluten in database reviews. Combining the data from our two published studies:
- 4/45 (9%) products that DID include an allergen advisory statement for wheat or gluten on product packaging contained quantifiable gluten.
- 52/384 (14%) products that did NOT include an allergen advisory statement for wheat or gluten on product packaging contained quantifiable gluten.
The FDA should strongly consider regulating allergen advisory statements so they actually mean something, especially in light of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
For more information, see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/allergen-advisory-statements-for-wheat-do-not-appear-to-be-useful-predictors-of-the-potential-for-quantifiable-gluten-in-database-reviews/