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PLANO, Texas -- Frito-Lay North America is launching a multi-year initiative to validate many of its products as gluten-free and labeling the packaging to reflect this. It is not removing gluten; many of the company's corn and potato-based products, including Lay's Classic potato chips and Fritos Original corn chips, are already made without gluten ingredients, said Frito-Lay.
With the help of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) and the Celiac Disease Foundation, Frito-Lay has developed a gluten-free validation process to test ingredients and finished products to ensure they contain less than 20 parts per million before making a "gluten free" claim.
Gluten, a generic name for certain proteins found in common grains such as wheat and barley, can trigger celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disorder. May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month.
"We understand that living with gluten sensitivities can present some challenges, and when you or a loved one is diagnosed it can be overwhelming and confusing. We are doing our due diligence to ensure that our validated products comply with the proposed standards by testing ingredients and finished products, so the shopper can trust our gluten free claim," said Kari Hecker Ryan, Ph.D., RD, group manager of nutrition science and regulatory affairs, Frito-Lay North America.
Frito-Lay is partnering with the Celiac Disease Foundation and National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to educate consumers and health professionals about gluten free resources and options, the company said. Activities through these partnerships will include development of educational content in English and Spanish, and cross promotion through social media channels.
"We are also proud to be partnering with Celiac Disease Foundation and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, as the work they do is so important to those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities as well as their support systems," said Danielle Dalheim, RD, associate principal nutrition scientist, Frito-Lay North America. "We know that these two organizations are the go-to resources for those who are on a medically-prescribed gluten-free diet, and we are committed to supporting their missions."
A gluten-free claim in the shape of a "GF" icon or a statement on the back of a bag will appear on qualified products. The packaging changes will be phased in, but consumers can visit Frito-Lay's website for the most up-to-date resource on its products that qualify as gluten free.
"Frito-Lay will make label reading especially easy for gluten sensitive consumers, as it is starts to include its own Gluten Free symbol or claim on qualified snack products," stated Marilyn Geller, chief operating officer for the Celiac Disease Foundation. "We thank Frito-Lay for their support of our mission to raise awareness and increase the rate of diagnosis."