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FDA Takes New Look At What 'Gluten Free' Means

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WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration is taking a new look at how to label foods "gluten free."

The agency proposed standards in 2007 for labeling foods that don't have the cereal protein but they were never finalized. Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley and can inflame the small intestine in people who have celiac disease.

The FDA said Tuesday that it will seek new comments on those standards, which set a minimum amount of gluten that a product can contain to be labeled "gluten free." Amounts of gluten in "gluten free" items now on store shelves can vary widely.

FDA estimates about 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease.

Deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor said the agency wants updated input on the standards from consumers.

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