Gluten-free foods have become very popular in supermarkets with $2.6 billion in sales - a 30 percent increase over the last five years.
Gluten, a protein naturally present in wheat, rye and barley, causes allergic reaction and intestinal damage in the approximately 3 million Americans who suffer from celiac disease. The only way to manage the disease is to eat foods free from gluten.
In order to ensure that products labeled as gluten free actually are free from gluten, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is developing regulations for food products and dietary supplements labeled as such.
The FDA is currently accepting comments on the standards they are proposing for gluten-free food labels, which are expected to be in place in early 2012.