Changing the Rules of “Gluten-Free”

Gluten-Free-LogoAlthough Celiacs are safe in the United States for now, Australians may need to adjust their eating habits AGAIN. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian food manufacturers are lobbying to increase the permissible amount of gluten in gluten-free processed products.

As most gluten-free eaters are aware, manufacturers in the US are allowed to label products gluten-free as long as they contain less than 10-ppm of gluten protein. This negligible amount cannot be detected by gluten-free eaters, and is therefore safe to consume (for the most part).

Australian companies are currently not allowed to label products as gluten-free if they contain ANY gluten at all. The food companies are hoping to increase the threshold for gluten-free products that contain up to 20 milligrams of gluten per kilogram, which is the current European standard for “gluten-free” goods.

Although scientific evidence supports the notion that 20 mg of gluten per kilogram is virtually undetectable to Celiacs, and therefore safe for consumption, other medical professionals are concerned that consuming the increased amount of gluten could have serious consequences for the gluten intolerant. Without prior exposure to the small amounts of gluten, even a fractional increase could cause serious digestive issues for some Celiacs.

Do you think the change in policy is misleading in terms of what foods are actually gluten-free? If you were living in Australia, would you alter your diet to one filled with whole, naturally gluten-free foods and shy away from the “gluten-free” products?


5 thoughts on “Changing the Rules of “Gluten-Free””

  1. Have I missed something? “…manufacturers in the US are allowed to label products gluten-free as long as they contain less than 10-ppm of gluten protein” doesn’t seem accurate.
    As far as I know the FDA is in its final stages of ruling on what’s expected to be a less than 20 ppm standard and even when that happens it will only be voluntary. So for now US manufacturers don’t have much to go by– they can sort of do what they want.
    If I have missed something and I am out of turn I apologize. Just don’t want misinformation out there.

  2. I thought the exact same thing Amy… I’d LOVE to know where the 10 ppm for the US came from cause everything I’ve read/thought is exactly the same as you

  3. You are absolutely correct, Amy. This is not accurate. Currently there is no legislation in the US to say exactly how much or how little gluten must be in a product to label it as gluten-free. Currently in the US, there are plenty of companies labelling products as gluten-free simply because they contain no gluten-containing ingredients, which for celiacs is completely unacceptable since it leaves those who choose to eat those products unsure about how much gluten they are actually getting. :-/

    “As far as I know the FDA is in its final stages of ruling on what’s expected to be a less than 20 ppm standard and even when that happens it will only be voluntary. So for now US manufacturers don’t have much to go by– they can sort of do what they want.” Unfortunately yes, this is how it is for now. The US has a LONG way to go to make grocery shopping safe for celiacs. Most other countries I’ve visited are much better in this respect.

  4. I have been an coeliac/celiac for over 40 years and I live in Australia. Not happy if they are changing the labeling and manufacturing requirements. In my opinion there should be no known gluten in any food item they market as gluten free… we can not control the odd contamination which may occur from time to time but that should be the only circumstances that gluten is present at all: ie by accident.

    Who will be responsible if the small regular amounts of gluten we unknowingly consume results in cancer or other illness?

    Maybe if the decision makers at the FDA and food manufacturers developed celiac disease they would be more discerning when making decisions which can be life threatening to others.

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