Frito-Lay Announces Gluten-Free Labeling

By Zach

Continuing in the spirit of National Celiac Disease Awareness Month, we’ve got another billion-dollar corporation looking to hop on the bandwagon in support of a gluten-free lifestyle. This week’s multi-national advocate goes by the name of Frito-Lays, which is owned by the global food and beverage tycoon, PepsiCo. The Celiac efforts that Frito-Lays (North American branch) is putting forth, as of last week, is “an initiative to validate and label products as gluten-free.”

Due to a majority of Frito-Lays products already being naturally made without gluten ingredients, this initiative by the PepsiCo. branch is not a process to extract gluten from their products, but rather a process to identify and label all of their products which can be ratified as gluten-free by the standard set by the FDA’s 2007 Proposed Rule For Gluten-Free Labeling.

Many Frito-Lay snack and munchies originally don’t have gluten in them and are generally considered safe. This initiative to label their products as gluten-free will satisfy the below 20 parts per million principle – making them gluten-free worthy by FDA standards.

Kari Hecker Ryan, PhD, RD, works for Frito-Lay North America as a group manager of nutrition science and regulatory affairs. She went on the record stating, “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.”

Another nutritional representative of the Frito-Lay North America, Danielle Dalheim, elaborated on Frito-Lay’s partnerships during this process by saying, “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.”

This announcement from Frito-Lays seems to be another push in the right direction for the gluten-free community. The fact that they’ve launched a validation process and are actively testing their products is great news. They’re also promoting Celiac awareness by labeling their products, and they’re abiding by gluten-free guidelines – a combination that is sure to bring convenience to many gluten-intolerant consumers.


17 thoughts on “Frito-Lay Announces Gluten-Free Labeling”

  1. Since when is less than 20ppm considered unsafe for Celiacs? As far as I’m aware there is no consensus on the minimum amount but since tests can’t reliably detect less than 20ppm it’s a moot point. I have Celiac Disease and have never been bothered by anything found to contain 20ppm or less. My nutritionist also has stated that it is very rare for anyone with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance to have issues at this level. I don’t mean to snipe, it’s just frustrating when even the people affected by this can’t agree on what works and what doesn’t yet we expect the government to quickly make official recommendations.

  2. I had frito lay corn chips yesterday that was marked gluten free and I had a “mini” attack. I’m still feeling it today. It’s not totally gluten free and it is misleading!!!

  3. I found that I react to Lay’s [supposedly] gluten-free products fairly often. I wondered if it had anything to do with which plants also make wheat-containing Sun Chips. Not all locations do. But I also am sensitive to one type of oil–they use several, and obviously can’t disclose which is in the bag I just bought–so I had to say goodbye to Lay’s on all counts. I’ve switched to Utz for both potato and tortilla chips, and have had no problems.

  4. I applaud Frito-Lay for stepping up and doing this the right way. I personally don’t think you should call something gluten free unless you test and they do. We have never gotten sick from Frito-Lay products and they are available in every store so even when travelling I can stop at a convenience store and have something safe to snack on.

  5. I had recently bought Lay’s “Gluten Free” Baked Tostitos chips and the next day had an attack. This was the only product that I had eaten in over 3 weeks that was different in my diet, it took me 8 days to get over that attack, which consist of abdominal pain, bloating, gas, major fatigue, and joint pain. I am a new Celiac, So needless to say, I am learning what not to eat.

  6. I have had reactions from Fritos in the multi serving bag, but not from the “individual” bags (the type sold in convenience stores).

  7. Hey folks,
    You must be sure to let Fritos-Lay’s know aboout your mini- gluten attacks.
    Perhaps you got old bags or maybe they are just starting out to change it.
    But, you must let them know.

  8. I won’t touch their products unless they are produced in a gluten free facility, i have noticeable problems even when companies claim batch testing at less than 20ppm.

  9. I am EXTREMELY sensitive due to Celaic Disease, so they label gluten-free… Does that also mean its SAFE FROM CROSS CONTAMINATION?
    I love the UTZ chips, but, they stopped carrying them in the town I live, so, I can’t eat ANY chips?? Any advice on this??

  10. >>”Since when is less than 20ppm considered unsafe for Celiacs? As far as I’m aware there is no consensus on the minimum amount but since tests can’t reliably detect less than 20ppm it’s a moot point.”<<

    Tito, To get the Certified Gluten-Free logo on a food item's packing, they are required by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) to have less than 10ppm of gluten. Additionally, a Spanish Organization, CSIC–the largest public research agency of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation rountinely certifies batches of beer to have less than 6ppm gluten.

    20ppm may not affect you, but that doesn't mean that everyone isn't affected at that level. The truth is that industry doesn't want the expense of testing to a lower level. The reason that might concern us is that some will not find it cost effective enough to cater to those with CD.

    I would love to have one of those hyper-sensitive individuals to test taste my food for me. Oh, I forgot. I haven't been crowned King yet.

  11. As to mini attack as to eating gluten. Highy unreliable. Unless followed by blood test or biopsy. Most likely response is to another allergen.

  12. Zach, it’s not a “gluten free lifestyle”. This is a medical issue. Perhaps you don’t suffer from it, but your calling it a lifestyle is a real problem. Please educate yourself and be more careful, or else take your blog to a place where it’s the lifestyle folks who are doing the reading, not one where people who really are gluten intolerant (medically) come to get information. Thank you.

  13. Remember that bags of chips are easily contaminated by other people’s fingers, which might have been touching wheat products. It’s not Frito Lay’s fault, in those cases.

    I am happy that Frito Lay is trying to reach out to us. Every little baby step in the right direction is a good thing, IMHO.

  14. When trying out a new product or alleged GF maker on your own body, two things may help: eating only a very small dose (betcha CAN eat just two or three), and using a protease capsule such as Glutenzyme or Glutenease to pre-digest tiny remnants of glutenine or gliadin. If ok, then try with no pill and/or up the dose. Works for me, at least.

  15. It’s great that they’re testing, but 20ppm is WAY too high for me. I’ll react to that, and fast, and I have reacted to Frito-Lay products in the past (ones where the label did not list any gluten). I don’t see anything that tells me whether or not products will be safe from cross contamination either.

    Between that and the 20ppm, I was already planning to avoid any of their products which sport a GF label, and then their partnership with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness cinched it. I lost any trust and respect I had for them after what they did with Domino’s “gluten free” pizza, which was only safe for people who don’t actually need to be gluten free.

  16. Also, I agree with David Wurtman, MD. Zach, being gluten free isn’t a lifestyle or a life choice for me. It’s the way it has to be. It’s a lifelong way of eating and being, not a fad diet. Calling it a gluten free lifestyle just invites trouble for those of us who absolutely have to be gluten free. I can’t even touch gluten, much less eat it, and finding gluten free shampoo (among other things) is hard and expensive! Don’t trivialize the seriousness of Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivities and allergies by poor word choice.

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