It's a great time in the celiac community. Diagnosis rates are skyrocketing and gluten-free food is getting better! New companies are starting up everyday and even the bigger food giants are getting on board to produce gluten-free alternatives to their products. However, even though the products are getting better, the prices continue to be incredibly high and the methods of ensuring safety continue to vary company to company.
Some companies that produce gluten-free products thrive on marketing that they produce the foods in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility, while other companies produce gluten-free products and label them as such, yet are manufacturing them in on the same equipment used to produce non-gluten-free products.
The greatest problem is that the FDA has yet to issue regulations on what qualifies as a gluten-free product. Pending regulations would permit manufacturers to market products as gluten-free if they contain no more than 20ppm of gluten. The 20ppm standard is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization and Codex, so issuing this rule would be on par with how the rest of the world identifies safe gluten-free products. Now it just has to get done.
Check out this recent article from the Boston Herald that looks at a northeast cereal company that has already had issues this year with producing gluten-free products in a facility that also processes gluten. It's an interesting look at how different companies handle product production and the reactions from the public.