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What Food Producers Should Know About Gluten-Free Packaging

When bringing your gluten-free product to market, there are many things to consider regarding product packaging. Gluten-free products must first meet particular standards and the labeling must contain certain allergy warnings. It is essential to customer satisfaction to properly label your products that are gluten free.

FDA Requirements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates what products are allowed to place gluten-free labeling on their packaging. According to FDA rules, a product can be labeled “gluten-free,” “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” or “without gluten" if it contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This is the lowest level that can be reliably detected using scientifically validated analytical methods.

Labeling your product as gluten-free is voluntary and is not required to be on a gluten-free product's packaging. Manufacturers are responsible for making sure their products are compliant with the FDA's requirements. The FDA’s regulation applies to all foods and beverages except for meat, poultry, and egg products which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and most alcoholic beverages which are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

Certified Gluten-Free Products

There are three main organizations that currently certify products as gluten-free: the Gluten Intolerance Group's Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), BRC Global Standards (BRCGS, formerly the Allergen Control Group), and NSF International. The benefit to being certified by one of these respected organizations is that you gain the legal right to use their certification mark on your product packaging.

Many people with celiac disease are unable to ingest even the tiniest bit of gluten and would therefore get ill from products based on the FDA requirements. Certified gluten-free products are a much safer option as they must adhere to stricter requirements.

Readability and Appeal

While showing the FDA approval and certification mark is important, your gluten free product packaging also needs to be appealing and easy to read. Consumers seeking gluten free products are generally healthy, active, and prefer natural over artificial. Depending on your specific product, soft earthy colors may be more appealing than bright primary colors. The packaging should catch someone's eye without being too loud. The company's logo and name should also be prominently displayed.

Risks of Improper Gluten-Free Labeling

If a product's packaging is improperly labeled as gluten free, many complications can occur. Most importantly, mislabeling a product with gluten as gluten-free is unethical as a consumer with celiac disease may purchase the item and get very sick. Using a certified gluten-free certification mark without permission could lead to legal consequences. One big mistake on your gluten-free product packaging and your brand can lose consumer confidence for a long time. Because of these risks, it is best to consult with a design firm that has experience with labeling allergen requirements.

Contact a Product Packaging Expert Today!

As an experienced gluten-free product packaging designer, MiLK&BULL can help you create ideal product labeling for your brand. Contact them today to find out more about how they can bring your product packaging to life!

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