Updated gluten labelling best practice has been published by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) to better advise food manufactures.
‘Gluten Labelling Guidance: Best Practice for Prepacked Foods which Include or Exclude Cereals Containing Gluten‘ advises operators on how to label food products containing gluten as well as gluten-free claims.
The Gluten Free Industry Association (GFIA) has now joined Coeliac UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as supporting partners of this guidance.
The document has been developed to illustrate examples of different labelling situations, with special consideration given to oats and wheat species.
It provides information about the distinction between coeliac disease and cereal allergy, advice on precautionary allergen labelling, and a flow diagram for making gluten absence claims. It also includes an overview of the relevant EU and UK legislation and guidance.
“The Food Standards Agency (FSA) welcomes the FDF’s work to achieve greater consistency in how the presence of cereals containing gluten and gluten-free claims are labelled on prepacked foods,” said Heather Hancock, Chairman of the FSA.
“Having a trusted consistent approach will make it easier for people with coeliac disease or with allergies to these cereals to find and understand the labelling information they need. And that means they can make safer food choices.”
Alex Turtle, Food Law, Labelling and Enforcement Manager, FDF, said: “It is vitally important that food manufacturers provide legally compliant labels that present consistent allergen information.”
Norma McGough, Director of Policy, Research and Campaigns at Coeliac UK, added: “By distinguishing the presence of allergens (i.e. gluten-containing cereals) with the absence of gluten in foods (i.e. gluten-free), the guidance helps highlight the important distinction between an allergy to cereals and coeliac disease.
“We also welcome approaches to limit use of precautionary statements relating to the presence of cereals containing gluten in prepacked products.”