The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended from February 16 to February 22, 2016, the comment period regarding requirements for fermented and hydrolyzed foods or those containing fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients that carry the “gluten-free” claim. The proposed rule would apply to foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, cheese, green olives, vinegar, and FDA-regulated beers.

Intended to address the uncertainty of interpreting test methods in terms of intact gluten, the finalized rule would mandate manufacturers to maintain records demonstrating: (i) “the food meets the requirements of the gluten-free labeling final rule prior to fermentation or hydrolysis”; (ii) “the manufacturer has adequately evaluated its process for any potential gluten cross-contact”; and (iii) “where a potential for gluten cross-contact has been identified, the manufacturer has implemented measures to prevent the introduction of gluten into the food during the manufacturing process.” The agency also intends to evaluate the compliance of distilled foods by using scientifically valid methods to determine the absence of protein or protein fragments. See Federal Register, January 22, 2016.