The rules on making claims about gluten in food are changing on the 1st January 2012 and you may no longer be able to call your food gluten free unless the food has been tested for the gluten levels.
The Food Standards Agency has produced three guides to explain the new rules.
- Gluten factsheet for caterers
- Gluten regulations – frequently asked questions
- Guidance on the Composition and Labelling of Foodstuffs Suitable for People Intolerant to Gluten
The second and third factsheet explain the rules clearer to small food producers and caterers.
So as a caterer you can only label your food as ‘gluten free’ or ‘very low gluten’ if you buy in manufactured gluten free food and do nothing more than serve it or if you conduct appropriate tests on batches of meals ahead of service and reduce cross contamination using HACCP type processes.
If you have previously labelled your homemade, untested food as gluten free – you can now label it with ‘No gluten containing ingredients’. You can provide additional information to back this up. If you do this, it is advised that you speak to your local Trading Standards to check you are doing this correctly.
The following information is taken from factsheet – Guidance on the Composition and Labelling of Foodstuffs Suitable for People Intolerant to Gluten
Factual statements and further information about the risk of cross-contamination with gluten in either the manufacturing or catering environment can be communicated in a variety of different ways, including on websites, on product labels and in verbal communication between the customers and staff. By extension, product lists such as the Coeliac UK Directory would be allowed to communicate the absence of gluten-containing cereal ingredients in products. This information could also be provided via retailer product lists and customer care lines.
Factual statements are not permitted on foods specially prepared for people intolerant to gluten (Parnuts foods), where only “gluten-free” or “very low gluten” statements may be used.
Other allergy labelling information can be found on the Food Standards Agency website www.food.gov.uk