The law on gluten-free and what you need to know
On 1 January 2012 the law on glutenA protein that is found in the cereals wheat, barley and rye.
-free came into effect and means changes to the way that the food you buy is labelled.
The packaging of products in supermarkets, menus in restaurants and anywhere you might purchase food, may well look different.
Three ways to choose your food
The new law gives you ways to help you make a choice about your food and you will see the following statements. This is the first time that gluten-free has been covered by law which is a positive step:
1. Gluten-free - is covered by the law and applies only to food which has 20 parts per million (ppmParts per million. Testing of gluten in food is measured in ppm. This might sometimes be seen as mg/kg.
) or less of gluten
2. Very low gluten - is covered by the law and is for foods which have between 21 and 100 ppm, but we are not yet aware of anyone using this term and because of the rules around its use, you won't see this in restaurants
3. No gluten-containing ingredients - this is not covered by the law and is for foods that are made with ingredients that don’t contain gluten and where cross contaminationWhen food that is gluten-free comes into contact with food that has gluten in it, and so is no longer gluten-free.
controls are in place. These foods will have very low levels of gluten but have not been tested to the same extent as those labelled gluten-free or very low glutenWhen a food has 21-100 parts per million of gluten so it is safe for people with coeliac disease to eat.
Where will I see these labels?
These terms apply to products on supermarket shelves, menus in restaurants, food served in cafes – basically, anywhere you buy any food.
What help is there for the industry?
We have developed new services to help the catering industry work within the parameters of the law and deliver safe food for people following a gluten-free diet. We offer a range of catering training courses, both online and in person, as well as accreditation packages which include the use of our logos for menus and restaurant literature.
We also want you to get involved by taking our business card explaining the law on gluten-free labelling into local eateries to inform them of the changes.