article LANSING, Mich.
— The first gluten-based diet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could bring relief to millions of Americans suffering from celiac disease and other food intolerances.
The Food and Human Services Department’s draft guidelines issued Monday by the agency’s National Institute of Health (NIH) include an extensive list of products that may be gluten-containing, including pizza, pasta, pasta sauces, salad dressings and many baked goods.
Its guidance will likely lead to the rollout of a number of gluten- and gluten-intolerant foods that are expected to be available by the end of the year, including some popular ones like ice cream, granola bars and cereals, according to a USDA official familiar with the document.
“It’s an important step toward moving forward,” the official said.
The guidance, which is not yet public, would apply to all products in the U, including foods that may contain gluten or other ingredients made with it.
For instance, products containing milk and other dairy products that are gluten-sensitive would not be approved for use on the gluten-Free label.
As with any food safety regulation, it is impossible to predict how many people would respond to the new products and whether their use would be harmful or not.
The government already has a list of 100 foods that have been approved by FDA to be gluten free.
The draft guidelines also offer a glimpse into how a consumer’s response to a new food might change if the FDA makes its own rules.
For example, a product containing gluten-rich bread could become less popular because consumers might decide that it is more palatable to eat a more healthful gluten-heavy bread instead, the official noted.
If the FDA does decide to impose its own labeling requirements, it could include additional information on the ingredients of products like baked goods, such as how much salt is added to them.
At this point, the agency has not announced a specific rule or guidance on whether to create a gluten free food labeling program.
The guidance does not specify how long a product could be considered gluten- or gluten-insensitive, although the guidelines say it should be “at least 2 months.”
The guidelines are not expected to take effect until January 2018.
If it does, the FDA could impose strict new requirements on what can be labeled gluten-contains or gluten free, such that manufacturers would have to add information on how many servings they can sell of the products they make, or how much sodium is added.
The agency could also require that manufacturers disclose what types of food it is made of.
The agency has long said it wants to move forward with labeling.
“While consumers may have different dietary preferences, the public health benefits of a more accurate, more complete, more easily accessible, and more effective food labeling system are clear,” the guidelines read.