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Found 15 results

  1. Celiac.com 11/01/2017 - Recent product testing by the FDA shows overwhelming compliance with FDA's requirement that foods labeled "gluten-free" have less than 20 parts per million detectable gluten. According to the FDA, more than 99.5 percent of "gluten-free" food products met the agency's gluten-free standard, according to Carol D'Lima, a food technologist in FDA's Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling. The FDA collected and analyzed 702 samples from more than 250 products labeled "gluten free." So far, D'Lima noted, only one product labeled as gluten-free tested positive for gluten levels above 20 ppm. The FDA does not name the products that were tested, but does note that the failed product was "recalled and subsequent sampling by the FDA did not find levels of gluten that violated the regulation." Also, the FDA testing very likely includes products by major manufacturers. That's likely good news for manufacturers like General Mills, which made news recently when they announced that they will voluntarily remove the "Gluten-Free" label from their Cheerios products in Canada. The company says that it did not make the move due to any concerns about gluten levels, but due to a technicality over oat testing protocols under which oat products can be labeled "Gluten-Free." A statement from the company's website reads in part: "Each serving of Cheerios products in Canada are gluten free, as defined by the current regulatory standard of containing less than 20 ppm of gluten. General Mills Canada has made the decision to voluntarily remove the gluten-free label from our Cheerios products in Canada until Health Canada and The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) publish a consistent testing protocol for products containing oats. At this time the product is not changing, just the label on the box." Absent any product recalls in the face of the FDA product testing, it's safe to assume that the consumers can take General Mills and other companies at their word, and trust that products labeled gluten-free meet FDA gluten-free standards, and are safe for people with celiac disease. Such high compliance levels by food manufacturers mean that the FDA may now put more of their resources into other enforcement measure, including ensuring that the supply chain remains free from cross-contamination. Even in the face of such encouraging test results, look for the FDA to remain diligent in validating "Gluten-Free" and other labeling claims. The FDA maintains "an ongoing compliance program," says D'Lima. Under that program, field staff in FDA district offices conduct inspections that include products labeled as gluten-free. If any products are found to be out of compliance for gluten standards, the FDA notifies the company to make appropriate corrections, and works with the company to recall any mislabeled products on the market. Source: foodnavigator-usa.com
  2. Celiac.com 07/27/2017 - The Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) was founded in 2005 by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) to offer independent certification to manufacturers of gluten-free products. GFCO certification is accredited to ISO 17065, and assures consumers with gluten sensitivities that a product meets the strict gluten-free standards. In most cases, GFCO standards exceed those of Codex, US, Canada, the EU and many other country standards for gluten-free products. For example, the GFCO guarantees that all products with its logo contain 10ppm or less of gluten. The GFCO also confirms the validity of a manufacturer's gluten-free processes, and substantiates claims about the products. To ensure quality of Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) standards, the GIG has retained New Jersey-based certification company SGS, whose inspection, verification, testing and certification services are globally respected for quality and integrity. According to SGS, the GFCO audits will either be combined with SGS' Food Safety certification audits, or conducted as a standalone service. Those seeking rigid gluten-free standards can look for the GFCO label on products labeled "gluten-free." Source: bakeryandsnacks.com
  3. Celiac.com 06/06/2017 - Word from the Great White north is that the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) is preventing the sale of Estrella Damm Daura, following a warning from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The SLGA, according to the company's website, is "a Treasury Board Crown Corporation responsible for the distribution, control and regulation of beverage alcohol in Saskatchewan. SLGA operates 75 retail liquor stores and there are approximately 600 private liquor retailers throughout the province." According to statements by SLGA spokesman David Morris, the CFIA advised SLGA and other liquor jurisdictions to "put the product on hold" last month over concerns that Daura Damm was brewed with products that contain gluten. Any decision by the SLGA to discontinue sales of Damm Daura would likely impact large numbers of customers in the region. It may also impact similar products from the EU. Brewed in Spain by S.A. Damm, using traditional barley ingredients, Estrella Damm Daura is filtered to reduce its gluten content to levels well below the 20 ppm required for products labeled gluten-free. S.A. Damm's company website says that "All batches are analyzed and certified by the CSIC before hitting the market," and that the company guarantees Daura Damm's gluten content is three parts per million or fewer. EU gluten-free standards permit any finished product below 20ppm gluten content to be labeled gluten-free. Canadian standards prohibit any product made with gluten-containing source ingredients from being labeled as gluten-free. Therein lies the apparent rub. Under EU standards, Estrella Damm Daura qualifies as a gluten-free beer. Under Canadian standards, it does not. No word yet on whether Canadian trade agreements make exceptions for EU products, such as beer. Meanwhile, potential beneficiaries are Canadian breweries, such as Rebellion Brewing Co., a Regina-based brewery that uses locally grown lentils to make its celiac-friendly Lentil Cream Ale. Rebellion brewmaster Mark Heise says SLGA's decision to cease ordering Estrella Damm Daura could be a "massive" opportunity. "It's huge for us," he says. No word yet on how far the Canadian authorities will go in their efforts to enforce their gluten-free standards against EU products, but they may have just fired the first shot. Stay tuned for more on these and other gluten-free stories as they develop. Read more at TheStarPhoenix.com
  4. 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.
  5. Celiac.com 05/12/2017 - The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) is an organization that certifies gluten-free products and food services. The GIG's latest definition and requirements for the product purity protocol was published by AACC International. The purity protocol defines the way of growing, harvesting and processing oats to keep them safe from gluten contamination, GIG's CEO, Cynthia Kupper, said. Until now, the term lacked a uniform definition, allowing companies who used it a degree of wiggle room. Under the new standard, companies will now have to provide documentation that prove the processes they follow are based on the newly standardized definition in order to use the claim 'purity protocol oats,' said Kupper. "Given the continuing growth of the market for gluten-free products, it is essential that terms like 'purity protocol' be defined for both food manufacturers and consumers," she added. Farmers collect higher fees for growing and managing oats under purity protocol conditions, and those higher prices usually get passed to consumers. Currently, the gluten-free products most commonly contaminated by wheat are granola and cookies that contain oats, Kupper told Bakery and Snacks. In addition to providing more confidence for consumers, the new protocol could lead to a price decrease, partly due to an expected increase in demand for products made with pure oats. That demand is partly driven by added consumer confidence in purity protocol products. In addition to tightening the purity protocols for oats, GIG plans to further standardize gluten-free screening for other grains, including rice, quinoa and other grains, according to the organization. Keep an eye on purity protocol oats to see if the predictions of lower prices, higher consumer confidence and safer oats hold true, and if so, whether those protocols can be applied to grains like rice and quinoa. Read more at BakeryandSnacks.com.
  6. Celiac.com 07/23/2008 - Folks who follow a gluten-free diet can take comfort that the Codex Alimantarius, the international body responsible for setting food safety standards, has moved a step closer to adopting the gluten-free standards they drafted in November 2007, and their new standards are, for the most part, in-line with the proposed FDA regulations. However, those hoping for speedy adoption of similar standards by the FDA will just have to wait until the FDA takes one last round of public comment and evaluates safety standards used in developing the standards. Certainly, anticipation has been running high, as several blogs and otheronline sources have wrongly claimed that the new FDA standards will go intoeffect in August 2008. From June 30 to July 5, 2008, the Codex Alimentarius Commissionrecently held their 31st session, where they accepted without changethe 2007 Draft Revised Codex Standard for Foods for Special Dietary Usefor Persons Intolerant to Gluten. According to the latest CodexAlimentarius standard, any product labeled “gluten-free,” includingthose made from de-glutened wheat starch will contain no more than 20parts gluten per million. This last part is especially important, astheir earlier standards for the use of “gluten-free” on labels allowedup to 200 parts gluten per million if the product contained ingredients that normally contained gluten. The 2007 standard still includes a special category for foods that are not naturallygluten-free, but have been rendered gluten-free through processing, such as wheat starch that has had its gluten removed. Thiscategory is called “foods specially processed to reduce gluten to alevel above 20 up to 100 milligrams per kilogram.” The Codex Alimentarius Committee has yet to post the new standard on the their website. The adoption of a less than 20 ppm standard on foods labeled "gluten-free" by both the Codex Alimentarius and the FDA would mean that consumers across Europe and North America could count on a single, uniform standard for food that is labeled "gluten-free." This new standard has been driven primarily by the efforts of celiac disease support groups, people diagnosed with celiac disease, and gluten-free diet followers, whose influence also led to the creation and passage of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act in 2004. The FDA will not issue their final ruling until they make the draft available for public review and consider one more round of commentary, along with previous public comments, as well as publishing a notice on the safety assessment made in developing the final rule. The FDA will likely publish the notice on the safety assessment soon, but there is no indication as to just when they will issue the final rule. A large part of the celiac community has been eagerly anticipating the announcement of the final rule. Until that great day, all of you gluten-free folks will just have to be content knowing that solid, reliable standards for the use of the term "gluten-free" on food labels are just around the corner. The next session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission will be held from 29 June to 4 July 2009 in Rome. Here are the new Codex Alimentarious Standards for Gluten-Free foods, which will appear on their Web site soon: 2.1.1 Gluten-free foods Gluten-free foods are dietary foods a) consisting of or made only from one or more ingredients which do not contain wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer,and/or consisting of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to remove gluten, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer. 2.1.2 Foods specially processed to reduce gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg These foods consist of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat,spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to reduce the gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer. Decisions on the marketing of products described in this section may be determined at the national level.
  7. Celiac.com 08/21/2014 - It’s official! Since August 5th, 2014, all packaged foods sold in the U.S must comply with new federal rules for labeling foods as "gluten-free." That means that all packaged food claiming to be "gluten-free" must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. The FDA finalized the rule in August 2013, and gave food manufacturers one year to comply. The rule went into full effect on August 5, 2014. The new standard applies equally to all products labelled “gluten free,” “no gluten,” “without gluten,” and “free of gluten.” Until this rule went into effect, many food and product manufacturers were applying the term ‘gluten-free’ in myriad ways, some questionable. Moreover, consumers needing gluten-free food for medical reasons had no good way to know if the label was accurate, or if the food posed a potential risk to their health. Currently, the new gluten-free standard applies all foods and dietary supplements regulated by the FDA. The rule, however, does not apply to most alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, prescription and non-prescription drugs, pet food, or to foods regulated by the USDA, such as meat or poultry.
  8. Celiac.com 07/18/2013 - If you brew a bunch of beer using traditional wheat and barley, then add enzymes to break down gluten proteins so that the final product tests negative for gluten, is the beer actually gluten-free? Should it be labeled as gluten-free? Many brewmasters, and some with celiac disease say 'yes.' Others, including government regulators say 'no.' That's the root of the big fight brewing between Oregon brewmasters at Craft Brew Alliance and U.S. government regulators over what kinds of beer can and cannot be labeled gluten-free. On the one hand, numerous brewmasters are now brewing beer with traditional barley, and then using an enzymatic process to break down the gluten proteins so that the final product has no detectable levels of gluten. Some regulators, and some gluten-free beer drinkers accept this approach, some do not. The U.S. government does not, and federal alcohol regulators have barred Craft Brew from calling Omission "gluten-free" outside Oregon. Currently, Craft Brew Alliance can label their Omission beers as 'gluten-free' only in Oregon, Canada, and Denmark. However, the regulators have said that the company can label their product as 'gluten-removed,' rather than gluten-free.' U.S. regulators argue that labeling beers made with wheat and/or barley as 'gluten-free' is likely to mislead consumers. They also add concerns about the small fragments of gluten that do remain in the final product. There simply isn't enough evidence to show that these beers are safe for people with celiac disease in the same way that beers made from gluten-free ingredients are safe. Recent tests by Canada's public health agency did show gluten fragments in beers from Spain and Belgium that use a gluten-removal process similar to the one used by Craft Brew for Omission beers. It's unclear whether the fragments are a health concern, Health Canada spokeswoman Blossom Leung said via email. In fact, some gluten-free individuals have had reactions that they attribute to such beers, though others have not. Could this be a sensitivity to the broken-down fragments of gluten protein? That important question remains unanswered. In the U.S., all sides are currently awaiting new rules by the FDA, which should provide labeling guidance for such cases. Since 2007, the FDA has considered allowing foods with less than 20 parts per million of gluten to be labeled "gluten-free." But its final proposal, now under review by the OMB, would prohibit such labeling on foods where no valid test exists to determine safety. Under such a rule, beers like Omission could not be labeled as 'gluten-free,' but could be labels as 'gluten-removed.' Craft Beers calls that part of the prospective rule "unnecessarily rigid." What do you think? Have you tried these kinds of beers? Do you support labeling them gluten-free, or should they be labeled 'gluten-removed?' Do we need to know more about possible adverse effects from these kinds of beers before we can say for sure?
  9. Celiac.com 07/20/2012 - Many of the millions of Americans who suffer from celiac disease and gluten-intolerance are eagerly awaiting the FDA's forthcoming standards for gluten-free product labeling. Until then, different agencies may apply differing standards, often with confusing results. The recent dust-up between Widmer Bros. brewing of Oregon, one of many breweries crafting gluten-free beers, and the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ("TTB") over the ingredients in Widmer's gluten-free brew, provides a good illustration of the confusion that can arise when different sets of standards and rules govern what can and cannot be called 'gluten-free.' Widmer Bros. is a division of Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), the nation’s ninth’s largest brewing company, and recently unveiled two new gluten-free beers, Omission Gluten Free Lager and Omission Gluten Free Pale Ale. Unlike most gluten-free beers, which are brewed from sorghum and usually taste very different than traditional beers, Omission is made using traditional ingredients, including barley--which contains gluten. Widmer then uses enzymes to reduce the gluten in both beers to a level that is well below the 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten threshold set by the World Health Organization for gluten-free products; the very standard likely to be followed soon by the FDA. Professional testing show gluten levels for Omission beers at just 5-6 ppm. Meanwhile, those familiar with the final products say they taste very much like traditional beers. However, it is not the gluten levels in the beer that seems to be at issue, but the fact that Widmer begins their brewing process with barley and other traditional ingredients. According to the TTB, wine, beer or distilled spirits made from ingredients that contain gluten cannot be labeled as ‘gluten-free.’ Certainly the commonly accepted European standard of 20 ppm means that the vast majority of products labeled 'gluten-free' still contain measurable levels of gluten, a good deal of those likely above the 5-6 ppm of Widmer's beers. For beer drinkers with celiac disease, finding a gluten-free beer that tastes like a traditional beer is like finding the Holy Grail. Given that Omission beers supposedly taste closer to traditional beers than most gluten-free beers currently on the market, and given that they come in well below the standard for products to be labeled gluten-free, there are undoubtedly a number of people with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance that are hoping Widmer will prevail in their battle against the TTB. What do you think? Should the gluten-free standard be based on scientifically established gluten levels of the final product, or on the gluten levels in the ingredients originally used to create it? Should Widmer be allowed to label and sell their Omission beers as 'gluten-free?' Source: KXL.com
  10. Celiac.com 08/10/2011 - For growing numbers of Americans, and millions overall, it is important to eat food that is gluten-free. For these people, maintaining good health, and avoiding serious and unpleasant side effects means avoiding gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. However, the question of what, exactly is meant by a food label that claims the food to be "gluten-free" has continued to elude the FDA for the last seven years. Because the FDA has no current standard for the term, "gluten-free" means essentially whatever any given manufacturer wants it to mean. Thus, a "gluten-free" label does not mean that a food is free of any and all gluten, or even that it's free of all but trace amounts. There should be a gluten-free standard by now, but there is not. In 2004, Congress passed a law requiring the Food and Drug Administration to define the phrase 'gluten-free' by 2008. That deadline passed with the FDA providing no such definition, and we still have no official ruling today, in 2011. For people who must avoid gluten, doing so is essential to maintaining good health. However, avoiding gluten in processed products, even those that are gluten-free in theory, can be a challenge. Also, to be fair, there can be unforeseen challenges to establishing these standards. Sometimes products that seem to contain gluten-free ingredients - corn tortillas, say, or roasted peanuts - can pick up traces of gluten during processing. Often, gluten can hide deep inside an ingredient list, as such ingredients as "caramel coloring," "emulsifiers," "natural juices" and dozens of other common additives may or may not contain gluten, depending on where and how those ingredients were made. A "gluten-free" label ought to offer peace of mind, but so far, the phrase has been better for corporate bottom lines than for consumers. While the FDA has dithered about the meaning of "gluten-free," the market for those products has exploded. In 2003, it was $100 million; next year, it's estimated to be $2.6 billion. Some manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that their gluten-free products are, in fact, free of gluten. Many test ingredients and scrupulously avoid contamination in their factories. Many also test final products to make sure they are safely gluten-free. Other manufacturers do none of that. And without a uniform standard for labels, people at risk can't reliably know the difference. The Center for Celiac Research has faulted the FDA for spending far too much time on studies. The group calls for the agency to act quickly to establish a uniform definition. Celiac.com concurs one-hundred percent. Millions of Americans with celiac disease and gluten intolerance deserve to be able to shop for and eat foods that are reliably gluten-free. This article echoes an editorial in the Houston Chronicle, titled: Sickening - After seven years, why can't the FDA define 'gluten-free'?
  11. Celiac.com 10/28/2011 - The world's largest gluten-free cake, weighing nearly a ton, debuted in Washington, DC. Gluten-free labeling advocate John Forberger presented the 9-layer gluten-free behemoth as part of his efforts to push the FDA to deliver long-promised gluten-free labeling standards. The cake debuted as part of an effort to promote the Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit in Washington DC. The event included a representative of the FDA and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who sponsored the original Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the world’s largest gluten-free cake, all nine layers of it. In addition to raising general awareness of gluten-free issues, the giant cake was a reaction to failure on the part of the FDA to issue labeling standard for gluten-free foods and products. Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act the FDA was charged with creating standards for gluten-free labeling. FDA officials were ordered to make their recommendations to Congress in 2008. As of 2011, the FDA had made no recommendations on gluten-free labeling standards. Labeling is important, Forberger says, because buying gluten-free food is, for many people "a medical necessity, and until there’s a cure for celiac disease, eating foods free of gluten is the only treatment." Forberger has what is diagnosed as “an extreme gluten intolerance,” where ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, triggers chronic pancreatitis so severe that gluten reactions have hospitalized Forberger more than a dozen times. Even though there are many good, reliable manufacturers, "providing delicious gluten-free options, the industry is a self-regulating one . . . anyone can slap the words ‘gluten-free’ on a product and charge a premium, " he says. Prompted in part by this perceived failure by the FDA, Forberger teamed with author and celiac expert Jules Shepard to form 1in133, a nonprofit that aims to push the FDA to comply with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. The group’s name comes from the statistic from the Celiac Disease Foundation that 1 in every 133 people has the disease. Together, they crafted the idea that became the world's largest gluten-free cake. To promote their effort, Forberger and Shepard teamed with the American Celiac Disease Alliance to send 5,000 letters to the FDA calling for prompt establishment of standardized gluten-free labeling. They also initiated an online petition with the same message that has gathered more than 10,000 supporters. Gluten Free Food Labeling Summitt in Washington DC. The event included a representative of the FDA and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who sponsored the original Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the world’s largest gluten-free cake, all nine layers of it. The summit and petition campaign appear to have worked. In August, the FDA announced that it would again invite public comments on gluten-free labeling with the goal of creating a uniform and enforceable definition by summer or fall of 2012. Source: http://news.rutgers.edu/focus/issue.2011-09-01.8807267282/article.2011-09-22.8756737280
  12. This article comes to us from Frederik Willem Janssen, Zutphen, The Netherlands, e-mail: teizjanz@PI.NET. If you have specific questions about it, please contact him directly. The Codex Alimentarius provides the gluten-free standard for European food manufacturers. This article will deal with foods that are officially labeled as gluten free. In the European Union there is a directive on foods for special dietary uses (89/398/EEG), and this directive is the basis for all national legislation in the countries of the European Union. Though the directive deals with gluten-free foods there is no assigned limiting level of gluten for gluten-free food yet, so it is up to the national regulatory bodies of the member states to set their own level. There is however, an international body handling these matters: Codex Alimentarius. Codex Alimentarius is a Geneva-based International organization jointly run by the World Health Organization and FAO , and its aim is to establish worldwide standards for foods in the broadest sense. Food legislation in many countries is based on Codex Standards, although it is not mandatory to implement them in all cases. There is a Codex committee producing standards on food labeling, on hygiene, on composition etc., etc. There is a committee on Foods for Special Dietary Uses (FSDU) and ... there is a Standard on gluten-free Food! The oldest Standard dates from 1981, and it says that foods may be labeled as gluten-free only if the nitrogen content of the protein derived from wheat is less than 50 mg N/100 gm on dry matter, which may be equivalent to about 20-30 mg gliadin in wheat starch. The calculation is quite complicated by the fact that most of the protein in wheat starch is starch granule protein and not gluten. There is a new Codex Standard in preparation, and a proposal to set the limiting level of gluten to 200-mg gluten/kg (20-mg/100 g) gluten-free food on dry matter. If we assume that half of the gluten is gliadin, this equals 10-mg gliadin/100 g o.d.m., so the level has gone down by a factor two in comparison to the old standard. If accepted, the new standard will be valid for end products and not for raw materials. In my previous posting I already mentioned that there are comments on the proposal from Sweden ( One of the reasons why the level in the Standard has not yet been effected (the proposal has been dealt with already two years ago) is that there is no validated analytical method (ring-tested) available to check compliance to this level. Though it might look rather simple to analyze gluten, it is generally done with an Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay - ELISA, it is in fact very tricky, and especially as the term gluten is very imprecise. Gluten is a mixture of gliadin and glutenin - each composed of several sub-fractions - and its composition with respect to sub-fractions is cultivar dependent. There is also an effect on the recovery caused by the heat processing of the food, and although excellent work has been done by Dr Skerrit of CSIRO in Australia to circumvent this problem (he designed a method based on omega gliadin, which is the most heat stable gliadin fraction), there is still a feeling that this method still needs to be improved. Remember that agencies charged with enforcement of food laws must be able to bring suits against producers of non-complying gluten-free foods. So analytical methods need to be robust and accurate. Codex Alimentarius bases its standard on scientific facts, and thats why there is no zero tolerance. There is simply no scientific evidence that this is required (at least there is no concordant view among scientists about the maximum tolerable gluten intake), and it is reasoned that any unduly reduction in the permissive level will reduce the number of gluten-free food available unnecessary. Though Codex Alimentarius has been criticized in the past for being a food-producer driven body it is still the only world-wide forum for food standards, and its role within the framework of the GATT and WTO makes its work of sterling importance in settling trade disputes. In 1993 the National Food Alliance (UK NGO) produced a report titled Cracking the Codex. This report stated that even though the voting in Codex is nationwide, and quite often by consensus, there is a large impact of the producer lobby, especially in the preliminary stages of decision making. Even though there is no implemented standard in national legislation many countries will stick to the Codex Standard. The conclusion is that in many countries food labeled as gluten free will almost definitely contain gluten. As the regulatory agencies of most countries will not press charges against producers of gluten-free foods if the level is below the Codex Standard limit (though, as said, some countries may have lower regulatory levels). Codex Standards still do not have the status of national laws.
  13. Celiac.com 02/06/2009 - The European Union’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued new rules for foods carrying the ‘gluten-free’ label. Under the new rules, foods labeled ‘gluten-free’ must have less than 20 parts of gluten per million. This new standard represents a ten-fold reduction over the prior rules, which set the gluten limit at 200 parts per million. The FSA also established a separate labeling category for cereals that have been specially processed to reduce gluten to levels below 100 parts per million. These foods may not be labeled ‘gluten-free,’ but must carry some other label such as ‘gluten-reduced,’ or ‘very-low gluten.’ The FSA indicates that the exact labeling for such products should be undertaken at the national level. Foods that are naturally gluten-free and acceptable for a gluten-free diet cannot be labeled as ‘gluten-free,’ or ‘special-diet,’ but may say that they are ‘naturally gluten-free.’ The rules require the term ‘gluten-free’ or ‘very-low gluten’ to appear prominently on the package label in a way that indicates the “true nature of the food.” These rules are designed to help people with celiac disease make more informed decisions about the gluten content of the food they eat. The new rules provide strict definitions for gluten and related grains and proteins, and gluten-free foods, and mandates standards for testing and measuring gluten levels in food. They also mandate that quantitative determination of gluten in foods and ingredients be based on an immunologic method or other method providing at least equal sensitivity and specificity, and that all testing done on equipment sensitive to gluten at 10 mg gluten/kg or below. The rules cite the Enzyme-linked Immunoassay (ELISA) R5 Mendez method as the officially sanctioned qualitative analysis method for determining gluten presence in food. European food makers can voluntarily adopt the new labeling system any time. Compliance becomes mandatory for all EU food makers on Jan. 1, 2012. Regarding the three-year delay, the FSA cited a need on the part of some manufacturers for time to make formulation and packaging changes. * Sources: Food Standards Agency: New rules for 'gluten free' foods
  14. Celiac.com 08/17/2008 - People with celiac disease and others who rely upon gluten-free foods to maintain good health got some good news recently, when the Codex Alimentarius Commission the international body responsible for establishing food safety standards, adopted a single, clear standard for foods labeled as gluten-free. Such a uniform standard will help people seeking gluten-free foods to make informed decisions about the foods they are buying. The standard will also allow Europe and North America to share a single standard, so that buyers can be confident that any foods labeled as ‘gluten-free’ from those countries will meet the Codex standard. Things in the gluten-free world have not always been so progressive. Here’s a quick history of how the Codex standards for gluten-free foods have developed over the last three decades: In 1981, the Codex Alimentarius Commission established the earliest standard for gluten-free foods. Under this original standard, foods could be labeled “gluten-free” if they were made from naturally gluten-free grains, such as corn or rice or from gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye) that had been rendered gluten free through processing. At the time, no reliable test existed for assessing the presence of gluten, and so tests gauged the levels of gluten by measuring levels of nitrogen. This early standard permitted foods rendered gluten-free to contain no more than 500 milligrams of nitrogen per kilogram of grain. From the standpoint of those with celiac disease, this early standard was well meaning, but unreliable, and thus not particularly helpful for folks with celiac disease. The 1981 standard remained in effect until 1998, when the Codex Alimentarius Commission made revisions to the Codex standard and published the Draft Revised Standard for Gluten-Free Foods. The 1998 standard was the first to rely on testing standards that could detect gluten levels, and thus, for the first time, established specific gluten levels for gluten-free foods. The 1998 standard called for foods produced from naturally gluten-free ingredients to contain 20 parts gluten per million, or less, while those rendered gluten-free, such as wheat starch, could contain no more than 200 parts per million gluten. The 1998 standard remained in effect until the Commission met again in 2006, this time making an important reduction to the amount of gluten permitted in foods containing ingredients that have been rendered gluten-free through processing. According to the 2006 standard, foods made from naturally gluten-free grains could still contain 20 parts gluten per million or less, while foods made from ingredients rendered gluten-free through processing must contain 100 parts gluten per million or less. In November 2007, the Codex Alimentarius Commission met again, and, among other things, changed the name of the standard from the Draft Revised Codex Standard for Gluten-Free Foods was “The Draft Revised Standard for Foods for Special Dietary Use for Persons Intolerant to Gluten.” The name change is significant because, for the first time, the standard reflects the special dietary needs of the gluten-free community, and thus seems to put the needs of the community ahead of special interests. In the 2007 meeting, the Commission also established the latest draft standard calling for gluten-free foods to be made from naturally gluten-free ingredients and/or ingredients containing wheat, barley, rye, or crossbred varieties of these grains that have been specially processed to remove gluten, and to contain gluten levels of 20 parts per million or less. The biggest change made to the draft standards at the 2007 meeting is the addition a new category of foods called, foods “specially processed to reduce gluten to a level above 20 up to 100 milligrams per kilogram.” This category includes foods, such as wheat starch and other starches, made from wheat, barley, rye, and hybrids of these grains processed to reduce gluten to between 20 up to 100 parts gluten per million. In July 2008, the Codex Alimentarius Commission met again and officially adopted the 2007 official Codex standard. Although this new development has yet to appear on their website, here is the new standard: 2.1.1 Gluten-free foods Gluten-free foods are dietary foods a) consisting of or made only from one or more ingredients which do not contain wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer,and/or consisting of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat, spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to remove gluten, and the gluten level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer. 2.1.2 Foods specially processed to reduce gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg These foods consist of one or more ingredients from wheat (i.e., all Triticum species, such as durum wheat,spelt, and kamut), rye, barley, oats1 or their crossbred varieties, which have been specially processed to reduce the gluten content to a level above 20 up to 100 mg/kg in total, based on the food as sold or distributed to the consumer. Decisions on the marketing of products described in this section may be determined at the national level. The Codex Alimentarius Commission will meet again in Rome from 29 June to 4 July 2009.
  15. This article comes to us from Frederik Willem Janssen, Zutphen, The Netherlands, e-mail: teizjanz@PI.NET. If you have specific questions about it, please contact him directly. The Codex Alimentarius provides the gluten-free standard for European food manufacturers. This article will deal with foods that are officially labeled as "gluten free." In the European Union there is a directive on foods for special dietary uses (89/398/EEG), and this directive is the basis for all national legislation in the countries of the European Union. Though the directive deals with gluten-free foods there is no assigned limiting level of gluten for gluten-free food yet, so it is up to the national regulatory bodies of the member states to set their own level. There is however, an international body handling these matters: Codex Alimentarius. Codex Alimentarius is a Geneva based International organization jointly run by the WHO and the FAO, and its aim is to establish worldwide standards for foods in the broadest sense. Food legislation in many countries is based on Codex Standards, although it is not mandatory to implement them in all cases. There is a Codex committee producing standards on food labeling, on hygiene, on composition etc., etc. There is a committee on Foods for Special Dietary Uses (FSDU) and ... there is a Standard on gluten-free Food! The oldest Standard dates from 1981, and it says that foods may be labeled as "gluten-free" only if the nitrogen content of the protein derived from wheat is less than 50 mg N/100 gm on dry matter, which may be equivalent to about 20-30 mg gliadin in wheat starch. The calculation is quite complicated by the fact that most of the protein in wheat starch is "starch granule protein" and not gluten. There is a new Codex Standard in preparation, and a proposal to set the limiting level of gluten to 200-mg gluten/kg (20-mg/100 g) gluten-free food on dry matter. If we assume that half of the gluten is gliadin, this equals 10-mg gliadin/100 g o.d.m., so the level has gone down by a factor two in comparison to the "old" standard. If accepted, the new standard will be valid for end products and not for raw materials. In my previous posting I already mentioned that there are comments on the proposal from Sweden ( One of the reasons why the level in the Standard has not yet been effected (the proposal has been dealt with already two years ago) is that there is no validated analytical method (ring-tested) available to check compliance to this level. Though it might look rather simple to analyze gluten, it is generally done with an Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay - ELISA, it is in fact very tricky, and especially as the term gluten is very imprecise. Gluten is a mixture of gliadin and glutenin - each composed of several sub-fractions - and its composition with respect to sub-fractions is cultivar dependent. There is also an effect on the recovery caused by the heat processing of the food, and although excellent work has been done by Dr Skerrit of CSIRO in Australia to circumvent this problem (he designed a method based on omega gliadin, which is the most heat stable gliadin fraction), there is still a feeling that this method still needs to be improved. Remember that agencies charged with enforcement of food laws must be able to bring suits against producers of non-complying gluten-free foods. So analytical methods need to be robust and accurate. Codex Alimentarius bases its standard on scientific facts, and thats why there is no zero tolerance. There is simply no scientific evidence that this is required (at least there is no concordant view among scientists about the maximum tolerable gluten intake), and it is reasoned that any unduly reduction in the permissive level will reduce the number of gluten-free food available unnecessary. Though Codex Alimentarius has been criticized in the past for being a food-producer driven body it is still the only world-wide forum for food standards, and its role within the framework of the GATT and WTO makes its work of sterling importance in settling trade disputes. In 1993 the National Food Alliance (UK NGO) produced a report titled "Cracking the Codex." This report stated that even though the voting in Codex is nationwide, and quite often by consensus, there is a large impact of the producer lobby, especially in the preliminary stages of decision making. Even though there is no implemented standard in national legislation many countries will stick to the Codex Standard. The conclusion is that in many countries food labeled as "gluten free" will almost definitely contain gluten. As the regulatory agencies of most countries will not press charges against producers of gluten-free foods if the level is below the Codex Standard limit (though, as said, some countries may have lower regulatory levels). Codex Standards still do not have the status of national laws.
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