Date: Monday 3rd October 2011
From January 2012 new EC legislation on gluten free labelling will come into force, and will apply to all food packaging and even restaurant and cafe menus.
Therefore from January 2012 you may be seeing these new terms on your food purchases:
Manufacturers can only use these claims when the following applies:
1. Gluten free - only applies to food which has 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten
2. Very low gluten – only applies for foods which have between 21 and 100 ppm
3. No gluten-containing ingredients - this term is not covered by law but is an important option to give you more choice. It applies to foods that are made with ingredients that don’t contain gluten and where good cross contamination controls are in place.
“Parts per million” – usually abbreviated as “ppm” – means “out of a million.” "Parts per Million" is a way to quantify very low concentrations of substances.
Someone with coeliac disease should not eat a lot of these very low gluten foods on a daily basis as they may make you unwell. This is because it may contain some ingredients that are too sensitive for you. Foods like this will contain a small amount of gluten e.g. codex wheat starch is one ingredient. This ingredient is safe for coeliacs but may affect those very very sensitive to gluten.
‘Suitable for coeliacs’ is another claim you will start on packaging of foods 20ppm or less of gluten and ‘Suitable for most coeliacs’ on 21-100ppm foods.
The claims will be placed on foods that are also naturally gluten free foods, specialist substitute products which may contain Codex wheat starch (these are products mainly on prescription) and pure, uncontaminated oats.
The Food Standards Agency has produced guidance for caterers and manufacturers to help with adjustment to the law. So hopefully eating out will become a lot easier for you!
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