Questions related to: Can I eat barley malt vinegar?

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Can I eat whey powder?

Whey is produced from milk and does not contain gluten.

I like Juvela foods and they’re not available in the supermarkets. What will happen to them?

We have been talking to manufacturers for many years about the possibility of changes in access to prescriptions and we would welcome better access in retail to all gluten free foods for people with coeliac disease. In the end individual companies will need to make the business decisions on where best to supply their products.

How can beer be certified as gluten free?

By law, manufacturers can only label their beer gluten free if it contains 20 ppm or less of gluten. Laboratory testing is the best way to assess the amount of gluten in a product, but there can be difficulties when testing beer using the usual R5 ELISA Sandwich method (commonly used for foods), due to the gluten being broken down. An alternative method is available (R5 ELISA Competitive) which is a more effective way to measure the gluten in beer and other hydrolysed or fermented products.

Scientists continue to explore other techniques to try to further advance the analysis of gluten in food and drink products such as mass spectrometry, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), aptamers. There are pros and cons with all testing methods and we look to the experts for the very best and latest advice such as the Prolamin Working Group , Codex Alimentarius and our Food Standards Committee. The approved method for testing gluten in beers is currently the R5 ELISA Competitive method but Coeliac UK and producers remain engaged with experts and global research exploring potential new test methods.

Find out more about how gluten free beer is made by clicking here.

This advice has been discussed and continues to be approved by Coeliac UK’s Food Standards Committee, April 2020. 

If a product says it is gluten-free on the label, but is not listed in the Directory, can I eat it?

Yes. If a product states that it is ‘gluten-free’, it will be suitable for a gluten-free diet.

Are the products listed in the vegetarian chapter suitable for a vegan diet?

The Vegetarian Chapter contains gluten free foods that are suitable for a vegetarian diet. Some products may also be suitable for a vegan diet, please refer to the manufacturer.

What about accidental contamination? There have been recall cases in retail over last few years.

Increase in product recalls reflects increase in product availability in retail and most product alerts relate to mislabelling rather than problems with contamination. Both prescribed and non-prescribed products have to meet regulatory standards and in fact most companies supplying to the NHS also provide retail products. Contamination risks need to be properly controlled regardless of supply chain.

Can I buy a kit to test the level of gluten in my food?

There are companies that produce testing kits to test the level of gluten in ready prepared foods.

These tests are marketed for testing meals in restaurants and can detect a level of gluten of 20 parts per million or less. 

Reliability of these kits should always be considered, not because the kits do not do what they are reported to do, but because the user may not maintain control of the conditions needed for accurate testing. For example, testing a small sample of a certain meal will not necessarily represent the gluten content of the complete meal. It is also important to make sure that all gluten is extracted from a food before testing using the chemicals provided. It is therefore very important to follow the manufacturer's guidance on using the test kits.

More information about testing food and auditing requirements can be found over on our Food Businesses page.

What should I do if my local restaurant hasn’t heard about the law on gluten-free?

Give them more information about the law or pass them onto us and we can help. We have lots of information in our Food Industry Professionals section.

Why aren't naturally gluten free foods listed, such as vegetables, bacon and eggs? Can I eat these foods?

Some foods are naturally gluten free. Foods like meat, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables are all naturally gluten free and so listing these in the Guide would mean the Guide would be unnecessarily large. We list foods on page 6 of the Guide which are naturally gluten free and produce a gluten free checklist which you may find useful. You can download this from the Gluten free diet and lifestyle section of the website. www.coeliac.org.uk/gluten-free-checklist.

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