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Frito-Lay plans its own gluten-free symbol

2 commentsBy Oliver Nieburg , 21-May-2012

Frito Lay will use its own gluten-free 'GF' icon as seen in the bottom right of this bag of chips
Frito Lay will use its own gluten-free 'GF' icon as seen in the bottom right of this bag of chips

The world’s largest snack firm Frito-Lay has announced plans to use its own gluten-free symbol on labels in North America after validating products as gluten-free through two celiac organisations.

A multitude of gluten-free symbols exist in the US, but Frito-Lay and has opted to use its own.

Testing to meet legal limits

The snacks arm of Pepsico has partnered with the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) and the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) to test ingredients and finished products to ensure they contain below the legal limit to be considered “gluten free”.

In the US, products must contain below 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to make a “gluten-free” claim under the Food And Drug Administration’s (FDA) Proposed Rule for Gluten Free Labelling (2007).

The limit in Europe is 20mg/kg under new European regulations on gluten-free products that were introduced on 1 January 2012. However, Frito-Lay’s initiative is limited to North America.

Celiacs in America

The company said in its release that around three million Americans have celiac disease and as many as 21 million may have sensitivity to gluten.

Kari Hecker Ryan, group manager of nutrition science and regulatory affairs, Frito-Lay North America said: "We understand that living with gluten sensitivities can present some challenges, and when you or a loved one is diagnosed it can be overwhelming and confusing.

“We are doing our due diligence to ensure that our validated products comply with the proposed standards by testing ingredients and finished products, so the shopper can trust our gluten free claim.”

No universal symbol

Sarah Sleet, CEO of celiac organisation Coeliac UK, previously told this site that a universal gluten-free symbol was needed to ensure consumers made safe choices.

Coeliac UK had hoped its crossed grain symbol would become the standard for gluten-free labeling

She said that a Europe-wide symbol was possible, but standardising a symbol worldwide would be more challenging as the legal limit for a gluten-free product was lower in the US.

Going its own way

Nevertheless, Frito-Lay’s partner, CDF, believes the snacks firm is making things easier for consumers despite producing its own symbol.

Marilyn Geller, chief operating officer of CDF, said: “Frito-Lay will make label reading especially easy for gluten sensitive consumers, as it starts to include its own Gluten Free symbol or claim on qualified snack products.”

The company said it would use a GF icon and/or a statement on the back of the pack to communicate that the product is gluten-free.

Some Frito-Lay products in its Lay’s, Fritos and Doritos range are already gluten-free and the company is phasing others in gradually.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

When 'gluten free is not

The main problem with companies like Frito-Lay is that while the products they use are gluten-free, the processing is not. Many so-called gluten free products are made on shared equipment or made in factories that are contaminated with flour dust.

The other glaring problem with any main stream manufacturer claiming a food product is gluten free is that it is not. Gluten, according to the FDA and their European counterparts allows a limit of 20ppm. I know of many people who cannot tolerate any gluten. Gluten free should mean NO gluten what so ever. I think any company that intentionally uses a gluten free label when it is not should prosecuted for fraud.

If a person is going to eat gluten free, than the only way to ensure that there is no gluten in the diet is to not buy processed foods. I know too many people that eat processed foods and other junk foods because they will not eat fruits and vegetables. If you want to feel better the only way is to only eat foods that you make yourself.

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Posted by James
24 May 2012 | 18h31

gluten sensitivity

When my doctor said I should eliminate all grains from my diet it didn't sound good. But after a few short weeks I started to get my energy back. The difference is remarkable! No longer have bloating and people have mentioned how much healthier and slimmer I look. Some people say it's hard to adjust to a gluten diet, but I have had a wonderful time trying out all the new foods and methods of cooking.

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Posted by gluten
21 May 2012 | 22h30

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