Gluten-free and the law
- The terms gluten-free and very low gluten are covered by legislation for the labelling of gluten-free foods (Regulation (EU) No 828/2014).
- The law is based on the revised international Codex Alimentarius standard for gluten-free, published in 2008.
- The law applies to both packaged foods and to foods sold in catering establishments.
Gluten-free - foods containing 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten or less
Only foods that contain 20 ppm or less can be labelled as 'gluten-free'. The term can be used on specialist substitute gluten-free products like breads, flours and crackers, which may contain gluten-free (Codex) wheat starch, as well as processed foods that are naturally gluten-free like soups, ready meals and snacks. The ‘gluten-free’ label may also be used for uncontaminated oat products. For oat products labelled gluten-free the oats themselves must also contain no more than 20 ppm.
Meals served by caterers, including restaurants, hospitals and schools, that are labelled gluten-free must contain no more than 20 ppm gluten.
Very low gluten – foods containing between 21 and 100 ppm gluten
Specialist substitute products (such as breads and flour mixes) that contain a gluten reduced ingredient (gluten-free (Codex) wheat starch) with a gluten level above 20 and up to 100 ppm may be labelled as ‘very low gluten’. There aren’t any foods currently labelled ‘very low gluten’ in the UK.