What does the First Amendment have to do with gluten-free products?

    Surprisingly, a lot.

    Gluten-free products have become all the rage. Whether it be for food allergies or weight-loss diets, many people are eating gluten-free; and, until last week, manufacturers have had a very large leeway in what they could label as gluten-free. 

    The Food and Drug administration has just released a regulation that requires producers to label foods as “gluten-free” only if the product does not contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten.But why can the FDA tell producers how they can and cannot market their products? Doesn’t that go against the First Amendment?

    No, it does not. The First Amendment distiguishes between two kinds of speech — political and ideological or commercial — and commercial speech can be regulated by the government. This distinction allows the government and FDA to tell producers what they can and can’t say in their advertisements and keeps the companies from making false claims. 

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    The FDA’s regulation on gluten-free products has been met with approval, as it now creates an important standard for gluten-free food. More information about commercial speech under the First Amendment can be found at Constitution Daily. 

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