Causing gluten confusion…

WheatMany people are still having a problem getting their heads around the ‘new’ regulations that came into force in January 2013 : that to be called ‘gluten-free’ a food must have under 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten and to be called ‘very low gluten’ it must have under 100 ppm. And now, according to the Serious Celiac, the EU want to bring in two new regulations:

  • “Suitable for people intolerant to gluten”: may accompany “gluten-free” or “very low gluten” labels, without further requirements.
  • “Specifically formulated for people intolerant to gluten”: may accompany “gluten-free” or “very low gluten” labels, if the product is specially produced to
    • reduce the gluten content of gluten containing ingredients (i.e. gluten-free wheat starch), or
    • substitute the gluten containing ingredients with other ingredients naturally free of gluten.

What?….  Am I being particularly dumb here or do either of those make sense to you? To me they sound like complete gobbledygook.

The Serious Celiac has some detailed and very valid criticism to make about the new proposal but, actually, whatever about the specialist interests, why complicate things even more? These proposals just confuse an already confused situation even further for no genuine benefit to anyone.

I am normally a great supporter of the EU but , on occasion, they do make you weep……..


  1. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for mentioning my article (I got a pingback). In answer to your question why they are complicating things: This is done only for Italy, that wanted a special label for replacement foods, so they know which foods to reimburse through their health insurance (that’s dietetic foods, not naturally GF foods). But the way the Commission proposes to accomplish that now, is just wrong. It provides unnecessary market protection to the dietetic foods industry and indeed gives no genuine benefit to anyone. Earlier, I revealed how the Italian dietetic foods industry drafted a lobbying document for the Italian coeliac society

    Remember: The proposal is not final yet, so please raise your voice before the meeting this Friday.

    All the best,

  2. Thanks for the elucidation Peter – I thought it was something along those lines. OK – will do.

  3. Blimey, Peter and Michelle, my head was in my hands a bit there; it’s already confusing enough! Glad it is just Italy. For now, then. Have just subscribed to your blog too, thanks Peter :)

  4. Hi Micki, sorry to disappoint you, but the proposed changes are going to affect not only Italy, but the whole EU. I only meant to point out that it all started with a request from Italy to be able to distinguish foods with gluten-containing ingredients of which the gluten contact was reduced from naturally gluten free foods. The European Parliament and the Member States agreed to make that distinction possible. But the Commission has taken this a few steps further, also allowing special disease-related labels for foods that are just as naturally gluten free as other naturally gluten free foods, without any special protection. Please contact your national food authority or Department of Health to influence the person they are sending to the SCFCAH meeting this Friday.

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