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Gluten-free labelling

Changes to gluten-free labelling legislation

The legislation regarding gluten-free labelling and information is changing; new rules apply from 20th July 2016. The UK interpretation of the new EU Regulation will have a significant impact on what can be stated on labels and in catering establishments.


Changes to gluten-free labelling legislation


Since 1 January 2012 Commission Regulation (EC) No. 41/2009 has laid down harmonised rules concerning the composition and labelling of foodstuffs suitable for people intolerant to gluten, but from 20 July 2016 this Regulation will be repealed by Regulation (EU) No. 609/2013.


From this date, rules relating to gluten will be provided by Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (EU FIC), and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 828/2014 on the requirements for the provision of information to consumers on the absence or reduced presence of gluten in food. National provisions allowing for enforcement at UK level have been drafted as an amendment to the Food Information Regulations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Consultations on these draft amendments are currently taking place. As yet, no consultation has been issued to enforce Regulation (EU) No. 828/2014 in England. It is understood that a new Statutory Instrument will be drafted, but this will not be put forward for consultation until after the 20 July deadline. In the meantime, the legislation concerning gluten-free labelling will be enforced through the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.


On 25 May 2016, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) wrote to interested parties to advise that statements such as ‘no gluten-containing ingredients’ would not be permitted from 20 July 2016. It is believed that this is based on a strict interpretation of the wording in Article 3 (1) to Regulation (EU) No. 828/2014, which states:


Where statements are used to provide information to consumers on the absence or reduced presence of gluten in food, such information shall be given only through the statements and in accordance with conditions set out in the Annex.


The Annex to the Regulation stipulates the following with regard to statements on the absence or reduced presence of gluten in food that are allowed to be made and conditions thereof:


A. General requirements


GLUTEN-FREE


The statement 'gluten-free' may only be made where the food as sold to the final consumer contains no more than 20mg/kg of gluten.


VERY LOW GLUTEN


The statement 'very low gluten' may only be made where the food, consisting of or containing one or more ingredients made from wheat, rye, barley, oats or their crossbred varieties which have been specifically processed to reduce the gluten content, contains no more than 100mg/kg of gluten in the food as sold to the final consumer.


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