EXTENSION CONNECTION: How to determine what is or isn't gluten free

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

Wheat, barley, rye, pasta, beer, spelt, couscous and bread typically contain gluten.

People with intolerance for gluten process it differently. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine’s villi.

The Food and Drug Administration, which recently finalized the definition of “gluten-free,” is regulating the term’s use on food labels.

According to the FDA, “the term ‘gluten-free’ now refers to foods inherently lacking gluten by nature or foods that do not contain any ingredient that is:

•A gluten-containing grain, like spelt wheat

•Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten, like wheat flour

•Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten, like wheat starch, if use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million or more gluten in the food.” Foods that contain an unavoidable bit of gluten must keep that presence to less than 20 ppm.

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