Silliker, a Merieux NutriSciences Company, last week announced it has expanded its repertoire of food allergen testing services by implementing the RIDASCREEN® R5 Gliadin test kit for gluten analysis in food. Now in use at Silliker's laboratories in Crete, IL, and Markham, ON (Canada), the RIDASCREEN Gliadin test is a tool to help food manufacturers verify that their products meet the definition of "gluten-free" in the labeling rule issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August 2013.

Developed by R-Biopharm, RIDASCREEN Gliadin is a quantitative sandwich enzyme immunoassay that tests for the presence of gluten, utilizing the R5 monoclonal antibody as recommended by Codex Alimentarius. Approved by AOAC as Official First Action Method (2012.01), AOAC Research Institute (AOAC-RI 120601) and AACCI as method 38.50.01, RIDASCREEN Gliadin is widely accredited for the quantitation of gluten prolamins in food. FDA has issued notice that it will employ this technology as part of its regulatory enforcement activities, according to Silliker.

A Silliker news release stated that under the new FDA definition, the meaning of "gluten-free" claims has been standardized across the food industry. To use the term "gluten-free" on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition and must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.” The final rule applies to all FDA-regulated packaged foods, including dietary supplements.

The deadline for manufacturers to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirements was Aug. 5, 2014. According to industry estimates, gluten-free product sales are expected to exceed $5 billion by next year.