May 14/Orlando Sentinel -- FDA is coming to terms with "gluten-free." The agency is working to establish a definition for "gluten-free" so that the words can be used accurately on food labels. The FDA proposal could give labeling approval to food that does not contain 20 parts per million or more gluten.

Although the allowable amounts are small, the consequences are huge for those 1 out of 100 Americans who suffer from celiac disease, the best-known form of gluten intolerance. The disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the small intestine triggered by ingesting certain storage proteins, commonly referred to as "gluten," that naturally occur in some cereal grains.

The FDA could make a decision in August, but it is more likely the ruling with the definition will come out in September or October

From the May 27, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash