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3 June 2019

FDF publishes updated gluten labelling guidance

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The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has today published 'Gluten Labelling Guidance: Best Practice for Prepacked Foods which Include or Exclude Cereals Containing Gluten'. This updated UK best practice guidance provides advice to food business operators on how to label food products that include cereals containing gluten, and which claims can be made relating to the absence or reduced presence of gluten (e.g. gluten-free). The Gluten Free Industry Association (GFIA) now joins Coeliac UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) as supporting partners of this guidance.

The document has been developed to illustrate examples of different labelling situations, with special consideration given to oats and wheat species. It provides information about the distinction between coeliac disease and cereal allergy, advice on precautionary allergen labelling, and a flow diagram for making gluten absence claims. It also includes an overview of the relevant EU and UK legislation and guidance.

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said:

“The Food Standards Agency welcomes the FDF's work to achieve greater consistency in how the presence of cereals containing gluten and gluten-free claims are labelled on prepacked foods. Having a trusted consistent approach will make it easier for people with coeliac disease or with allergies to these cereals to find and understand the labelling information they need. And that means they can make safer food choices. I am very pleased to see further progress in this important area of public health and consumer protection.”

Alex Turtle, Food Law, Labelling and Enforcement Manager, FDF, said:

“To be able to choose a safe prepacked food, allergic consumers need clear information about its composition; whether it includes any cereals containing gluten or has been produced gluten- free. It is vitally important that food manufacturers provide legally compliant labels that present consistent allergen information. FDF is committed to providing best-practice regulatory guidance and we hope that this updated, more comprehensive, guidance continues to support food manufacturers, of all sizes, to make informed labelling declarations regarding their products.”

Norma McGough, Director of Policy, Research and Campaigns at Coeliac UK, said:

"The Charity supports the updated FDF best practice guidance for the food industry. By distinguishing the presence of allergens (i.e. gluten-containing cereals) with the absence of gluten in foods (i.e. gluten-free), the guidance helps highlight the important distinction between an allergy to cereals and coeliac disease. We also welcome approaches to limit use of precautionary statements relating to the presence of cereals containing gluten in prepacked products.”

For more information, please contact Ella Stanbrook, Corporate Affairs Executive (Media), on 020 7420 7131, ella.stanbrook@fdf.org.uk

Notes for editors:

  • The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector. For more information about FDF and the industry we represent visit: www.fdf.org.uk
  • 'Gluten Labelling Guidance: Best Practice for Prepacked Foods which Include or Exclude Cereals Containing Gluten' is available on the FDF website
  • The initial version of this guidance was published in June 2015.
  • Coeliac UK is the oldest and largest coeliac disease charity in the world and has been working for people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis since 1968. For more information, visit www.coeliac.org.uk
  • Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK wide charity operating solely for the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. For more information, visit www.anaphylaxis.org.uk
  • The British Retail Consortium is the go-to trade association for all UK retailers, promoting the story of retail, shaping debates and influencing the issues that matter to the industry. For more information, visit www.brc.org.uk
  • The Gluten Free Industry Association (GFIA) represents and promotes the common interests of UK Gluten Free manufacturers on a wide range of issues. More information »

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