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Australian Celiacs Fight to Keep Tough Gluten-free Standards
Celiac.com 02/06/2015 - Australia is home to some of the most stringent gluten-free product standards in the world. Under current standards, all “gluten free" products sold in Australia must contain about three parts or fewer per million.
The food industry would like the standard set at 20 parts per million, which would bring Australia into line with the United States, and the EU.
Moreover, Coeliac Australia, a major celiac advocacy group, has suggested that Australia’s strict standards are becoming unworkable, as improved tests permit detection of smaller and smaller amounts of the gluten protein. The group has signaled an openness to the industry plan to lower the standards to 20ppm gluten content.
Such a move would allow a much wider range of products to be sold in Australia as “gluten-free, ” but would potentially impact hundreds of thousands of Australians who suffer from celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity, many of whom who fear it will save money for manufacturers while triggering severe illnesses in their population.
The push to change the definition of "gluten free” is being driven by the food and grocery council, which includes major grocery chain Coles.
Coles happens to be one of Coeliac Australia’s biggest sponsors.
However, in the face of vociferous opposition to such changes, Coeliac Australia has backtracked from its initial support, and has announced that it will now review its position.
What do you think? Is Australia’s gluten-free standard too tough? Will it be better to change the standard to match that of the U.S. and the E.U.? Or would it be better to change American and European standards to match Australia. Share your thoughts below.
Read more at SMH.com.
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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