A Gluten Free Year in Review: 2013

2013 is coming to a close, and we hope it has been as exciting a year for you as it has been for us. As you settle in this New Year’s Eve to reflect on the year’s events, raise a glass to the progress and growth in the gluten-free community. Here’s to the happy and prosperous 2014!

Gluten-Free Year in Review: 2013 Highlights

1. FDA Regulates Gluten-Free Labels

Arguably the most notable GF achievement of the year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official ruling defining “gluten-free” for food labels, ensuring that any item labeled as gluten-free has a standardized gluten content. For consumers, this translates to a new confidence in understanding food labels and maintaining a truly gluten-free lifestyle. The ruling states that any food labeled as “gluten-free,” free of gluten,” or “no gluten” must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, and meet all other requirements outlined by the regulation. Not without controversy, the ruling has faced some criticism and skepticism from the gluten-free community, and the country at large. Read up on the details of this year’s gluten-free victory here, and share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

2. Gluten-Free and Celiac Disease Research

For those on a gluten-free diet for health reasons, any and all advances in research are met with open arms. 2013 was a great year for research on both Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance, led by gluten-free champions like the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) and National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). In partnership with Quest Diagnostics and Olive View – UCLA Medical Center, the CDA is working on a year-long study called “The Prevalence of Celiac Disease in a Primarily Hispanic Population.” The study aims to not only raise awareness among the physicians and professionals working with this population, but also to measure the benefits of screening patients who exhibit common symptoms of celiac disease. CDF is also working with biopharmaceutical companies to advance treatments for patients with Celiac Disease, which could lead to widespread breakthroughs in the treatment of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Our friends at NFCA spent the last two years studying the gluten content in certain medications – a topic that had previously received almost no formal research. The results of this study are set to come out in early 2014, so keep up with their news and blog for updates .

3. Mainstream Labels Go Gluten-Free

Some of the biggest companies in the food industry introduced landmark gluten-free products this year, and we couldn’t be happier. General Mills rounded out their gluten-free brands with Pillsbury’s new cookie dough, pie and pastry, and pizza dough products. In good company with General Mill’s Betty Crocker and Chex products, we applaud the company’s ongoing efforts to offer some of their top selling products to gluten sensitive consumers. Several other companies have made great strides in the gluten-free community by increasing their gluten-free products, menus, and dedicated equipment. Dunkin DonutsNoodles and Company, Chipotle, and Jimmy John’s are all receiving a gluten-free Gold Star for 2013. Be sure to alert your server or cooks about your gluten sensitivity, and ask them to change their gloves, clean equipment, and use uncontaminated ingredients.

4. Things Ahead

2013 was a hallmark year for the gluten-free community, and 2014 is looking even better. Mark your calendars: the upcoming year will be a whirlwind of gluten-free expos, events, research, and regulations – all in the name of your good health. For the first time ever, Gluten-Free Living will be hosting a three day conference in Orlando, Florida, this April. The massive conference will feature the renowned Alessio Fasano as the keynote speaker, gluten-free product sampling, workshops, panels, and seminars from a diverse range of experts.

By August 2014, the FDA’s new gluten-free labeling regulations will take effect, which means your grocery shopping – and even eating out in restaurants – will be easier than ever with the new standardized gluten-free labels. According to a survey conducted by the Nation’s Restaurant News, “gluten-free” was the fifth most popular menu trend for 2014. It’s going to be a good year to eat out.

If you’re looking to fill your calendar year round with gluten-free events, check out the largest Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in the country, taking place in seven cities across the United States in the coming year. For those who prefer a virtual experience, 2014 will see the launch of CDF’s gluten-free marketplace, and, of course, you can keep up with the latest gluten-free news, resources, and products with us, on our blog. Cheers, and happy gluten-free New Year!

Did we miss any big gluten-free news? Any other comments? Let us know! Leave a comment below.

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