Labeling fermented and hydrolyzed foods

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
Q: How will the new labeling rule from FDA about fermented and hydrolyzed foods affect gluten-free labeling?


In August 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule to establish requirements in regard to gluten-free labeling for foods that are fermented, hydrolyzed or contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients.

It is important to note that gluten-free labeling has not changed for the consumer. The FDA has just put more safeguards in place to ensure products that are labeled gluten-free really are gluten-free. More transparency from food manufacturers about ingredients and labeling is required, which is good news for the consumer.

  • Currently, there are no reliable tests to adequately detect gluten in hydrolyzed and fermented foods, therefore manufacturers have to make sure ingredients are gluten-free prior to fermentation or hydrolyzation. This does not change the gluten-free labeling rule, but adds to what manufacturers have to do to ensure foods are gluten-free.
  • Manufacturers will have to keep records that foods and ingredients that are fermented or hydrolyzed are free from wheat, barley and rye. They are also required to evaluate for cross-contact and have measures in place to prevent cross-contact.
  • The FDA will evaluate the compliance of distilled foods by appropriate testing methods available to detect gluten in distilled foods.

In all, this is good news for the gluten-free community as there will be less chance of products that are misbranded as gluten-free.


Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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