Gluten-free standards: an ongoing debate
The amount of gluten a food item may contain and still declare itself "gluten-free" remains under debate in the United States and around the globe.
In the absence of a set standard, PCC Natural Markets identifies products as gluten-free in our stores and in our product databases based on the information provided by our vendors. PCC refrains from adding orange “gluten-free” shelf tags to products that typically are gluten-free by nature, such as bottled water and most dairy items, even if the packaging is labeled gluten-free. PCC merchandisers are in close contact with both gluten-free organizations and vendors to stay at the forefront of the latest developments. Read PCC's letter to the FDA.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to research setting less than 20 ppm as the national standard, an amount the FDA says available technology can consistently detect in wheat, rye and barley. As of February 2012 the FDA had not yet set a minimum ppm. It also does not require manufacturers to test their products prior to making claims.
The European Codex Alimentarius (food guidelines crafted by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) calls for no greater than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America calls for an even tighter standard, and only certifies products that contain 10 or fewer ppm.
We recommend that our customers who shop for gluten-free items continue to review product ingredient lists on their own to ensure their personal health. PCC offers free Gluten-Free Walk, Talk and Taste classes with even more tips to help shoppers identify products that may work best for them.