FDA looks to change labeling on ‘gluten-free’ food packaging

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing strict new standards on products labeled as Gluten-free food. Gluten-free foods have become more profitable — but sometimes products labeled “gluten-free” can be misleading to consumers.

Menu Information Systems Administrator for Campus Dining Heidi Klebs said these items come and go by demand and require no documentation from manufactures about gluten-free products.

Currently the gluten-free label on the products is not regulated by the FDA. But that could change.

Gluten-free products are big business, ringing up $2.6 billion in sales – up 30 percent in the last five years. Kelloggs’ new gluten-free Rice Krispies is now a top seller according to a report by CBS news.

“(We) have numerous gluten-free products are sold in on-campus convenience stores and labeled as such directly from the manufacturer,” Klebs said.

Klebs said campus dining takes student food allergies very seriously.

“Brenda Marquardt, Director of Residential Dining, a member of the management staff from the student’s home residential restaurant, and myself meet one-on-one with students with any special dietary need, including gluten-free,” she said. “Students typically come to us on their own or by means and parents also approach us with dietary questions concerning their student when they are on campus during orientation.”

Klebs said the meeting one-on-one with students makes them comfortable because they learn about viewing the menu in its entirety. Students then can see for themselves how the campus dining menu can meet their needs.

“When we meet with a student we discuss their particular dietary needs and provide them with a copy of our cycle menu where items are tagged according to their dietary needs,” Klebs said. “It is then up to the student to review our menu thoroughly and identify meal periods where there might be a lack of options for them based specifically on their dietary needs. We will then work with them to determine if we can modify a recipe or create a new one in order to meet their needs during that meal period.”

Campus dining offers any student the opportunity to view all ingredients from residential restaurants menus online.

“NetNutrition a registered company at www.cmucampusdining.com. Simply click on the purple “Menus & Nutrition Info” link on the left-hand side of our homepage,” Klebs said.