Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Roughly 3 million people in the US have celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the small intestine in the presence of gluten. This leads to decreased absorption of nutrients, which may result in nutritional deficiencies, anemia, diabetes, thyroid issues, and intestinal cancers. There is no cure for Celiac Disease; avoiding gluten is the only way to manage the condition.
There is a wide range of gluten-free products on the market, and the FDA has recently issued a final rule on the criteria for “gluten free.” They have stated that foods with the label “gluten free’” should have less than 20 ppm (parts per million). Additionally, the food cannot contain: any ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains, an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten, and an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million gluten.