Gluten Friendly - an ILLEGAL label!
Rid the Label!
LAYING DOWN THE LAW: Gluten Free & Low Gluten
In the past couple of years, many food service and restaurant-type businesses have been mindlessly jumping on the so-called 'gluten free' bandwagon, particularly within Australia and New Zealand! Much can be said about this (both good and bad) as many 'well-meaning' businesses interested in providing 'coeliac-'friendly'' meals tend to be slack in preparing meals for coeliac-diseased individuals (the majority of individuals who must follow a gluten free diet in order to maintain good health).
Because many businesses offering 'gluten free fare' have not been able to guarantee the gluten free status of many of these meals, and due to the strict laws surrounding gluten-free labelling in Australia, many businesses have resorted to labelling items intended to be gluten-free NOT as "gluten free" but more often "GLUTEN FRIENDLY"!
Personally, I know little of this 'gluten friendly' term. I do not know where it originated. I had only come across it earlier this year, when I found myself inside a Pizza Capers store in southern Queensland. I questioned the staff at the practice as to what this 'made-up' term actually meant. They informed me that it means that gluten is present in the environment that the gluten free pizza is made.
Initially, this made sense to me, as according to Australia's labelling laws, it is ILLEGAL to label something as "GLUTEN FREE" if it contains oats, barley malt or ANY detectable gluten as outlined by the Australian Food Authority.
That was, UNTIL I received a number of formal responses from various authorities outlining that it is ILLEGAL to claim something as GLUTEN FRIENDLY in the first place!
An alternative term that can be used in Australia and New Zealand is LOW GLUTEN. We see less and less of this term, particularly in Australia as many coeliacs are becoming increasingly sensitive to smaller 'trace' amounts of gluten. For items in Australia and New Zealand to be labelled as "LOW GLUTEN" they must contain NO oats, NO barley malt, and ABSOLUTELY NO MORE THAN 200ppm DETECTABLE GLUTEN!
Excerpt from FSANZ (page 15) http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/ACF2A90.pdf
Gluten Free Labelling Laws
Claims in relation to gluten content of food
(1) Claims in relation to the gluten content of food are prohibited unless expressly permitted by this code.
(2) A claim to the effect that a food is gluten free must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains –
-- (a) no detectable gluten; and
-- (b) no –
-- -- (i) oats or their products; or
-- -- (ii) cereals containing gluten that have been malted/their products.
(3) A claim to the effect that a food has a low gluten content must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains no more than 20 mg gluten per 100 g of the food.
-- (a) more than 20 mg gluten per 100 g of the food; and
-- (b) oats or malt
(4) A claim to the effect that a food contains gluten or is high in gluten may be made in relation to a food.
Common Australian FAQ:
Q. So, where exactly DOES the 'GLUTEN FRIENDLY" term exist in all of this? hmm?
A. ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE!
As can be seen above, there is ABSOLUTELY NO STATEMENT in the above code that expressly permits the use of the "GLUTEN FRIENDLY" term within Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, use of the gluten friendly term is ILLEGAL within Australia and New Zealand and is not permitted to be used in describing ANY food product whatsoever! NOT ALLOWED, ILLEGAL! Legally, the "gluten friendly" DOES NOT EXIST!
Businesses using the illegal "GLUTEN FRIENDLY" claim:
Below are some businesses within Australia and New Zealand who are currently using the prohibited "Gluten Friendly" description on their products. Each have been taken to task individually.
Eagle Boys Pizza
- Eagle Boys Gluten FRIENDLY (NOT gluten free) pizzas?! [What a joke!]
Oh, I can see how THEY couldn't afford to miss out on capturing a niche market, after the move from Domino's Pizza (view my hub on Domino's Pizza)!! Firstly, what is with the term "GLUTEN FRIENDLY"???...
- Too many crumbs falling off The Capers!
Well, I must admit that Pizza Capers was NOT the last business to jump on the bandwagon and offer pizzas for coeliac disease customers to dangerously indulge on. They were one of the first! Their use of the "GLUTEN FRIENDLY" term is illegal!
Great Australian Ice Creamery
- Great Australian Ice Creamery? Not So Great for Coeliacs!!!
Recently in my travels, I came across this nice Ice Cream shop (which is apparently a chain) known as the Great Australian Ice Creamery. Curiously I wandered in to see what was on offer. Of course, being...