According to the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Nation's Restaurant News, on November 26, 2013 the FDA announced new gluten-free labeling laws that pertain to restaurants. In August 2013, the FDA made a final ruling on gluten-free labeling laws which they have now expanded to restaurants.
In the article, on Nation's Restaurant News by Bret Thorn, he quotes Betsy Craig, Founder of Nutrition consulting Firm Menu Trinfo, " Many “gluten free” items at restaurants now fail to meet the FDA new standard, according to Craig. She said that 90 percent of the menu items claiming to be gluten free actually contain quite a bit of gluten."
“These chefs’ hearts are in the right place and they think they’re doing the right thing, but when we look under the hood we see that they need more help,” she explained. “There are so many ingredients that mean gluten that don’t say ‘gluten’ — things like malt, or malt vinegar, or barley or rye.
The new label laws will help these chefs to be sure that what they are purchasing for gluten-free food is actually gluten-free. It also requires restaurants to be responsible for the gluten-free claims they make.
The FDA answered this question on the FAQ page:
9. Does the final rule apply to gluten-free claims made for foods served in restaurants, including cafeterias and buffets?
FDA recognizes that compliance with the gluten-free rule in processed foods and food served in restaurants is important for the health of people with celiac disease.
In August 2013, FDA issued final rule that established a federal definition of the term ‘”gluten-free” for food manufacturers that voluntarily label FDA-regulated foods as “gluten-free.” This definition is intended to provide a reliable way for people with celiac disease to avoid gluten, and we expect that restaurants’ use of “gluten-free” labeling will be consistent with the federal definition. The deadline for compliance with the rule is not until August 2014, although we have encouraged the food industry to bring its labeling into compliance with the new definition as soon as possible.
Given the public health significance of “gluten-free” labeling, we encourage the restaurant industry to move quickly to ensure that its use of “gluten-free” labeling is consistent with the federal definition and look forward to working with the industry to support their education and outreach to restaurants.
In addition, state and local governments play an important role in oversight of restaurants. We expect to work with our state and local government partners with respect to gluten-free labeling in restaurants. We will consider enforcement action as needed, alone or with other agencies, to protect consumers.
The terminology requirements will be the same for restaurants as they are for food manufacturers.
FDA Gluten Free” Terms are:
"Consumers may also see the terms:
- “Free of gluten”
- “No gluten”
- “Without gluten”
The new FDA terms apply to foods products. especially processed foods. Manufacturers have until August 2014 to comply.