The laws were decided a few years ago, and are set to coincide with the international Codex Alimentarius standards. What’s notable now is that the grace period is over: all food sold in the UK (England, Norhern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) is now officially bound to these standards. So, if you’re traveling through the UK or eating foods that were made/packaged there, this is news you’ll want to be aware of.
To me, the most exciting part of the regulations is that they apply not just to pre-packaged food, but also to restaurants, caterers, etc. And what are the regulations?
As always, read on:
According to Coeliac UK, the regulations encompass three terms:
1. Gluten-free – is covered by the law and applies only to food which has 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten
2. Very low gluten - is covered by the law and is for foods which have between 21 and 100 ppm
3. No gluten-containing ingredients – this is not covered by the law and is for foods that are made with ingredients that don’t contain gluten and where cross contamination controls are in place. These foods will have very low levels of gluten but have not been tested to the same extent as those labelled gluten-free or very low gluten.
For more information, have a look at this PDF from Celiac UK with guidelines for manufacturers — it includes a handy-dandy flow chart to help food-sellers understand what claims they can make (NB: link will open a PDF).
For a longer look at the Codex standards, I’ll point you to a different page on Coeliac UK’s website, Is There a Safe Level of Gluten?
What do you think of the UK’s decisions?