Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD | Page 2

FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule Goes Into Effect August 5, 2014


The FDA has finalized a standard definition for gluten-free labeling and it goes into effect on August 5, 2014.  This means that manufacturers using the “gluten-free” claim on their products will now be held to an industry-wide national standard.

Prior to FDA’s labeling ruling, the term “gluten-free” on food packages was an arbitrary term. What it meant from one food product to another was vastly different, leaving people who have to eat gluten-free confused and concerned about the safety of packaged foods. As a result, gluten-free consumers were left to fend for themselves, spending hours in the supermarket and on the phone with manufacturers to determine if a product was truly safe for them or their loved ones.

Understanding the technicalities of the ruling is important so you know what you are getting when you see the term “gluten-free” and similar wording on food packages.

Here are several resources I have participated in to educate the public about the gluten-free labeling ruling.  From them, you should get a good understanding of the ruling.

A Grain of Salt Podcast: FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Standard: What’s It All About?
In this podcast, my co-host, Melissa, interviews me about the particulars of the ruling so that consumers know what and what not to expect when purchasing gluten-free products.  We discuss the following: the standardized definition and criteria for making a gluten-free claim, which marketing terms are covered under the ruling, which food and beverage products the ruling does and does not apply to, and other technicalities of the labeling consumers should know about to make safe gluten-free food choices.

Delicious Living Magazine Articles
The editor-in-chief of Delicious Living magazine did a two-part series on the topic.  The first article was a summary of a talk about the ruling given by Cynthia Kupper, executive director of the Gluten Intolerance Group, at Natural Products Expo West 2014.  The second article is an interview with me that further talks about the technicalities of the ruling.

Doctor Radio Interview on SiriusXM
Yesterday, I joined Dr. Ira Breite on his weekly radio show to talk specifically about the FDA gluten-free labeling rule.  You can listen to reruns of the broadcast this Saturday, August 2nd from 5:00am – 5:30am ET (complete show runs from 4 – 6am ET) or Sunday, August 3rd from 7:00pm – 7:30pm ET (complete show runs from 6:00 – 8:00pm).  Tune into SiriusXM Channel 81.

Last, but not least, another great resource is the webinar hosted by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, titled “Understanding the FDA’s Gluten-Free Labeling Rule Part 1.” Click here for NFCA’s archived webinars and scroll down to the webinar of this title.  You can watch the webinar, as well as download the slides and a handout.

If you have any questions about the ruling, please ask in the comment box below.  I’m happy to address particulars of the ruling in upcoming blog posts.  Don’t be shy.  If you have a question, you can be sure others do, too.

Three Sides for Your Next Barbecue

We are half-way through summer and well into barbecue season.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve hosted many barbecues so far.  I’ve played around with several recipes for delicious, gluten-free sides and these three seem to be the favorites.  I’m sharing them with you, whether you are hosting your own barbecue or want to bring a healthy, gluten-free option to a friend’s house.

Cole Slaw with Toasted Sesame Oil Vinaigrette
We eat this salad all summer long.  I make a big batch on weekends so that it can last throughout (most of) the week as a quick side or snack.  The toasted sesame oil makes for great flavor and a healthier option to those cole slaws drowned in mayonnaise.


3 cups green cabbage, finely sliced
2 cups red cabbage, finely sliced
2 small carrots, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, finely sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely sliced
2 scallions, finely sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the red and green cabbages, carrots, bell peppers, scallions and cilantro in a large bowl until evenly distributed.  Whisk together the toasted sesame oil, vinegar, maple syrup and salt in a separate bowl.  Toss the the vinaigrette with the vegetables.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Dill Vinaigrette
This simple recipe is a no-brainer for enjoying summer’s bounty of delicious heirloom tomatoes.  The more colors the better!


2 1/2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 pint assorted color cherry tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all tomatoes into a large bowl.  Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil and dill in a small bowl.  Mix the dill vinaigrette with the tomatoes.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
I love this no-mayo potato salad.   The mustard vinaigrette is picked up nicely by the potatoes and the celery and scallions provide a nice crunch, a texture that plays well with the soft potatoes.  And for those of you who think potatoes are an empty-calorie starch, I am here to tell you that potatoes are loaded with nutrients, namely fiber, potassium and vitamin C.  Did you know that fiber and potassium are two of the four nutrients most likely to be missing from the average American diet?  You can get a nice dose of both in this delicious, no-mayo potato salad.


2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, washed
1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup celery, thin slice
1/3 cup scallions, thin slice
1/4 cup parsley, minced
Freshly ground pepper

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water by 2 inches, add salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pan, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.  Cut into 1-inch chunks.

Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the salt dissolves.  Add the mustard and continue to whisk.  Pour in the olive oil gradually until blended.  Mix the dressing with the warm potatoes.

After the potatoes have cooled, mix in the celery, scallions and parsley, and season to taste with the freshly ground pepper.

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