Beverage Label Claims & Certifications 101: GLUTEN-FREE
The Gluten-Free (GF) diet is one of the fastest-growing nutritional movements in the United States. This diet was developed as a solution for people suffering from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune digestive disorder which causes hypersensitivity to gluten and makes the gluten hard to digest. People suffering from Celiac Disease can tolerate little to no amounts of gluten in their food and beverages.
Approximately 3.1 million Americans follow the GF diet with 72% testing negative for celiac disease; proving there is a demand beyond sufferers of celiac disease driving consumer demand for GF products.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the common name for a group of proteins found in grains including wheat, rye, and barley.
Labelling Your Beverage As Gluten-Free
When labelling your product as GF, there are two approaches: third-party certification or voluntary claim.
Companies have the option to get their beverage certified by a third party as gluten free. This assures consumers that these products have been tested and validated as free of gluten (less than 10 parts per million (ppm)).
- Able to use recognizable and trusted GF seals
- Assured compliance with the FDA’s Gluten-Free Labeling Final Rule that requires robust cross-contamination controls, auditing, testing requirements, and inspecting
- Application fees, annual licensing fees, and facility audit expense add up and can be expensive
- Testing and audit can be time consuming
- A periodic gluten free testing in the facility, periodic plant inspections, random product testing from end-user shelf might be done to check your compliance to the Program
VOLUNTARY LABEL CLAIM
Per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), a food containing less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten naturally or through manufacturing can be labeled as “Gluten-Free”, “Free of Gluten,” “No Gluten,” or “Without Gluten.” Gluten testing is required to use any of these claims on your label and packaging. Testing can cost up to $100 per test. For more information, click here.
- Get to market faster with a shorter timeline and less regulations
- Still gain transparency with consumers
- Less expensive than certifying a product through a third-party
- Unable to use trusted GF seals, that requires verified compliance with FDA’s Gluten-Free Labeling Final Rule
For questions or more information on either Gluten-Free approach, contact BevSource today.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended to convey general information regarding beverage regulations and compliance. It does not constitute legal advice. This is for informational purposes only, and we strongly encourage you to seek independent legal counsel for advice on specific legal issues.