Gluten-Free Product Labelling Introduction
At a glance…
- There is a law governing the labelling of gluten-free products
- The law came into force in January 2012
- Only foods containing 20 ppm (parts per million) or less gluten can bear the label ‘gluten-free.’
Manufacturers have had to adhere to a single threshold standard governed by the law since 2012. This indicates that you can only use a ‘gluten-free’ label on products that meet the terms of this law. The law states that products labelled as ‘gluten-free’ have 20 parts for every million or less gluten. This is a safe amount for people on a gluten-free diet.
As you will undoubtedly know, trying to read labels on products can be extremely frustrating. Our rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t say ‘gluten-free in nice big letters on the packet, be very wary – even if the advertising blurb says it is.
There is enough good foodstuff around, so you don’t need to take chances. Simples…
Gluten-Free Product Labelling Terms Stated in the Law
Foods that only contain 20 ppm (parts per million) are the ones to be listed as gluten-free.
This can also apply to specific gluten-free products like flour, bread, and crackers. The other category is gluten-free wheat starch and processed foods obtained from naturally gluten-free ingredients like ready meals, soups, and snacks. Uncontaminated oat products can also bear the ‘gluten-free’ label.
According to research, this small amount of gluten is not harmful to those with coeliac disease. They can consume an unregulated amount of items with gluten at a level of 20 parts per million or less.
Very Low Gluten
Flour Mixes, bread, and other special substitute products containing gluten-free wheat starch may have the label ‘very low gluten.’ The wheat starch in these products contains a gluten level ranging from 21 to 100 ppm. There are no foods with the ‘very low gluten’ label in the UK, but you can find products with a similar tag in other European nations.
About the Law
In January 2012, the first law on the use of the gluten-free term was introduced. The internationally adopted food standards (Codex Alimentarius) for gluten-free food items defines the number of gluten people with coeliac disease can tolerate. The European Commission’s law on gluten-free is based on the 2008 revised Codex Standard.
Gluten-Free Wheat Starch— What Is It?
It is a type of wheat starch that is distinctively manufactured. The gluten-free wheat starch is washed to match a gluten level within the internationally adopted food standards (20ppm or minimal).
The ingredient was first used as the primary element for products like bread or flour to enhance their texture and quality. It should always be listed on the list of ingredients if it has been used. Wheat starch is also considered an ingredient meant to get rid of gluten. It is not wheat protein or wheat grain.
Is There Any Test Done to Prove If a Food Product Is Gluten-Free?
The law does not state clearly whether tests have to be conducted to confirm if specific foods are gluten-free but acknowledge that testing is part of good practice. The testing to be done will depend on the kind of business.
There is an approved test for evaluating gluten levels in foods. The relevant governing bodies must ensure that there is proper management of gluten to prevent cross-contamination. Businesses will be convinced that they can manufacture food products free from gluten.
for a full breakdown of the law regarding gluten-free product labelling, please visit Coeliac.org
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