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Gluten Free Debate
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That's an interesting article. I'm not familiar with the specifics of your gluten-free labeling laws. From what I have seen from other people in Australia, they may not be either.

I would hate for them to loosen up just because the rest of the world is a bit looser. But....many gluten-free companies are testing to 10 ppm even if the US proposed law is 20.

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I like Australia's labelling requirements and cannot understand their reasoning why they would want to bring them in line with Europe and North America.  In my opinion, the goal is to protect and inform people with gluten intolerance, not to create standardization internationally.  Especially when there are many that still react to less than 20 ppm and are initially confused by 'gluten free' labelling as to mean 'no gluten present'.  

 

Australia also has a caveat in their labelling that manufacturers can claim their product is 'low gluten' if it falls under 20 ppm.  

 

An interesting note is that in Europe historically, it was believed that 200 ppm gluten levels were considered safe for celiacs (1981 standards) and thus food containing <200 ppm was labelled gluten free.  It was only decreased in 2009 to <20 ppm.  This was also in conjunction with the industry using a variety of  detectability tests that had different sensitivities of detecting gluten.  For example, one commercial method that was approved by the American Association of Official Analytical Chemists could only detect gluten levels above 160 ppm.  As different tests were developed that had a higher degree of sensitivity in detecting gluten, the acceptable 'gluten free' level was dropped to 20 ppm. based on serological testing that this level was safe for most celiacs.  (However, Fassano's recent study of some celiacs not healing at all on a diet of <20 ppm is throwing a bit of a curve on the <20 ppm being safe for all celiacs).

 

At this point, if they have the ability to detect gluten levels down to under 3 ppm (they do and it's what Australia bases their 'gluten free' labelling on) they should label the products as such.  I wish more countries would standardize to Australia, not the other way around.

 

 

Ref:  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-009-2943-1#page-1

Ref: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02768.x/full

Ref  http://celiacdisease.about.com/b/2013/03/04/study-trace-gluten-responsible-for-ongoing-celiac-symptoms.htm

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Kamma, should we assume that all those "greater than" symbols (>) were actually intended to be "less that" symbols (<)?

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:)

Oscar, you're a peach.  Thanks for catching that and will edit.

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Kamma, should we assume that all those "greater than" symbols (>) were actually intended to be "less that" symbols (<)?

Or maybe they are "less than" symbols? :D  I see she already fixed 'em up.

 

Kamma,

 

There's an old saw, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  It seems to me everyone in Australia would easily understand the current labeling there.  Changing the standard seems unneeded to me.

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Here's an article from a newspaper in Sydney.  The push to change the labelling comes from inside the industry.

 

Excerpt:

Australian food manufacturers and suppliers are pushing to increase the amount of gluten allowed in so-called ''gluten-free'' foods on which thousands of people with digestive problems rely.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council is preparing to ask Food Standards Australia New Zealand to relax its current standard, which states there must be no detectable gluten in foods labelled ''gluten-free''.

The lobby group instead wants such foods to be able to contain up to 20 milligrams of gluten per kilogram, which would bring Australia in line with British and European standards.

A confidential survey by AFGC of 98 businesses that either manufacture ''gluten-free'' foods or supply them found nearly 80 per cent think the new standard would cut down manufacturing plant costs, including gluten testing costs, and make it easier to source products from overseas.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/industry-push-to-allow-gluten-in-glutenfree-foods-20130525-2n3z5.html

 

 

So it's fuelled by a cost cutting measure.within the industry.

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Coeliac disease is only part of the wider picture.

 

Gluten is an allergen. A product with less that 20ppm will be labelled "gluten-free" up until they have an anaphylaxic fatality. 

 

Besides, they would have to legislate a change in the "Truth in Labelling" laws/regulations. You cannot say it it "gluten-free", if, by it's very definition, it is not ..

 

All lobby groups have their own agendas ...

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