In a move welcomed by millions with gluten sensitivities, the U.S. Food and Drug Agency has set standards for food products labeled “gluten free.” Specifically, such products can no longer contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten, a protein abundant in wheat and related grains. The standard is similar to levels recently set in Canada and the European Union.
“This new standard is helpful not only to those individuals with celiac disease but also others who experience symptoms when eating gluten-containing foods,” comments pediatrician Dan Coury, medical director of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. “Many people with or without autism have difficulties with gluten sensitivity. They will now have more confidence that they are avoiding gluten in their choice of foods.”
Many parents of children with autism report symptoms of gluten intolerance in their children.
Gastroenterologist Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, helped develop the science to determine how much gluten was too much for celiac disease patients. Dr. Fasano also works within Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, conducting research and treating gastrointestinal problems in children with autism.
Quoted in The New York Times, Dr. Fasano called the new FDA standard “a big deal,” for giving consumers with gluten-sensitivities new confidence in the food they buy.
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