THE CONTROVERSIAL NEW REGULATIONS ON GLUTEN-FREE LABELLING

January 19, 2017

Thu 19th January 2017

Last week you may remember I went on about Brexit. Not because I want to prolong the agony for all the remain voters but because plans to leave the EU directly affect us as Coeliacs.

Why?

EU legislation comes in on Wednesday to stop a variety of gluten-free labels being used.

In fact, only 2 labels will be permitted: gluten-free or low gluten.
It’s all because people are puzzled about different terms, the most confusing of which seems to be NGCI (No Gluten Containing Ingredients).

I only discovered just how confusing when Facebook erupted with a variety of comments about it. The term could mean gluten-free food was:

cross-contaminated; or
not suitable for Coeliacs but for those who wish to avoid gluten for other reasons.
Clearly, the label isn’t in the favour of those with CD. The masses have spoken: NGCI has AVOID written all over it.

But only for 2 years.

Should we choose to amend food labelling when we exit the EU in 2 years’ time, the term could make a comeback. You know what it’s like – just as you’re getting used to something, it changes.

But let’s go back to the gluten-free/ low gluten labelling. What does it actually mean?
You can read the Food Standards Agency allergen information here.

Or you can take my word for it that gluten-free food is either:

Totally* gluten-free (i.e. no gluten used & prepared in a gluten-free environment) and therefore fewer than 20ppm (i.e. twenty parts per million)
* Apparently all food has the tiniest trace of gluten in it and therefore the word ‘totally’ is slightly inaccurate.
Made without gluten but with the possibility of cross-contamination.
The 1st type of food earns the label ‘gluten-free’. The 2nd is classed as ‘low gluten’.

If the manufacturer wants to qualify either of these statements by adding further information (e.g. ‘Suitable for Coeliacs’) then they may do so, but one of the above classifications has to come first.

So there we have it. No more confusing labelling (for 2 years). Or until the food stockists can sell all their ‘old stock’. It should make things easier for us, shouldn’t it?

What do you think about the new g-f labelling? Have your say below!

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