Food businesses reminded about the law on gluten free products

Barnsley Council is reminding businesses of the importance of providing safe and legal information in relation to gluten free claims.

The term gluten free can only legally be applied to food or menus if the food business can guarantee the food contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The law applies to both pre-packed  food  or food sold in cafes/pubs or other catering establishments. It is an offence to describe food with higher levels as “gluten free”.

Although from 2014 all food businesses have been legally required to know what allergens are in their food and provide that information to customers on request, the term gluten free goes beyond that information and guarantees that particular food does not contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten.    

Any food business that describes its food as gluten free must be confident that it has both assessed the gluten in the ingredients it uses and also puts systems in place to control the risk of cross contamination in the kitchen. 

Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “Businesses claiming their food is gluten free need to be very confident that is the case. Individuals suffering from Coeliac disease could be severely affected by even tiny amounts of gluten.”  

It is estimated that one in 100 people in the UK suffer from Coeliac disease or need to avoid gluten because it causes them extreme symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or severe abdominal pain. 

Food businesses that use the terms gluten free/very low gluten or no gluten containing ingredients on food they have prepared or on their menu, but are unsure of how these rules apply to them are asked to contact Regulatory Services.

The team is also interested to hear from residents who feel they have been given misleading allergy information by a Barnsley food business.

They can be contacted on 01226 773473 or regulatoryservices@barnsley.gov.uk

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