Gluten Free Diet | Starch Ingredient | USA Labeling Laws | Allergy

Gluten Free Diet and Starch in USA

by Allergy Guy

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Starch under microscope in polorized light

Food starch can be a source of gluten, which is a problem for celiacs and those with a gluten allergy.

There are many types of food starch.  How do you know if the starch added to the food you want to eat is safe for your gluten-free diet or not?

Food labeling laws in Canada differ from those in the USA – this article helps with food products for sale in the USA.

I’ll tell you how food labeling should handle starch in the USA.  I will also point out some possible pitfalls.

According to the fda, no identification standards have been set forth for food starches.

For purposes of labeling in accordance with Section 403(i) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and Section 4(a)(1) of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, the term “starch” is considered the common or usual name for starch made from corn; alternatively, the name “cornstarch” may be used.

This clearly states that when the word “starch” is included in a list of ingredients, it is the same as saying “cornstarch”.

This is good news.

There is a possible pitfall however.  One can not depend on everyone at every food company being 100% aware of this fact.  Although against the code, it is possible that someone could slip up, not realizing that the law says starch is cornstarch.  They may decided to substitute a wheat starch without changing the ingredients.

I am not aware of a case like this, but then again, it would normally go unnoticed by the general public, and by regulating agencies.  Who would know?  Many people do not realize the potential damage wheat can cause to those with a gluten allergy or celiac disease.

I don’t suggest you loose sleep over this.  Just be aware of it.  To be extra careful, you may wish to call the manufacturer and double-check that they really are using cornstarch in their food.

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