Healthy & Happy

Going Gluten-Free: the New Trend

The gluten-free food sector is gaining main- stream momentum and is expected to hit $6 billion by 2015, as more consumers embrace the gluten-free lifestyle out of medical necessity or because it is healthier.

According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), Oak Brook, IL, celiac disease affects approximately 1 in 133 people, or approximately 2 million people in the United States. And the sector is poised for explosive growth based on increased diagnosis of digestive- health conditions, growing interest for wheat-free and gluten-free diets, improved labeling regulations, and tastier innovations in the category.

Further, gluten-free foods represent the fastest-growing segment of the global food-allergy and food-intolerance products market,which is projected to exceed $26 billion by 2017, according to,the recent FoodAllergy and Intolerance Products: A Global Strategic Business Report from market researcher, London.

As more gluten-free products hit the shelves, FDA has reopened the comment period for its proposed rule on regulations related to gluten-free labeling of products. The agency also has made available a safety assessment of exposure of gluten to people with celiac disease. The proposed rule dictates that foods carrying the claim cannot exceed 20 ppm gluten. This number was tapped because it was deemed that testing methods could not reliably deter- mine amounts below 20 ppm. FDA also notes that this is the level that has been agreed upon for foods carrying a gluten-free claim in other countries.

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