Allergies and hay fever

New food labelling to help people with Coeliac Disease

Always read the label! New regulations for gluten labelling in food published

New food labelling rules have been published today to help people who are intolerant to gluten. Under new European Union Regulations, two types of labelling on packets will be adopted:

  • *gluten-free * : for foods containing less than 20 parts of gluten per million
  • very low gluten : for foods containing less than than 100 parts of gluten per million

Previously, a food labelled ‘gluten free’ could have contained up to ten times of that allowed under the new regulations.

The introduction of just two types of labelling is meant to minimise consumer confusion in this area and help people with coeliac disease (who are intolerant to gluten) to make safe and informed choices about the types of food they eat.

Sue Hattersley, head of food allergy policy at the Food Standards Agency, said:

'Around one per cent of people in the UK are intolerant to gluten, and packaging claims about gluten in foods are very important to these people. The number of products marketed to them is increasing rapidly. Without rules controlling the levels of gluten in them, the amounts of gluten could vary greatly, which could cause serious health problems.

'The new lower limit of 20 parts in a million means greater peace of mind for people with a gluten intolerance, as they can be sure that foods sold as 'gluten free' do not contain levels that could be harmful to them.'

Manufacturers can use the new labelling system immediately, but in order to give them time to adapt to the new rules by reformulating products or changing existing packaging, products do not have to comply with the new rules until 1 January 2012.

Sourced from the UK Foods Standards Agency

This article was published on Thu 22 January 2009

Image © Monkey Business -

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