Food Manufacturers & Distributors
More and more Australians are being diagnosed with coeliac disease (as well as other forms of medically diagnosed gluten intolerance). This means there is an ever growing demand for high quality gluten free products. Coeliac Australia appreciates the efforts of gluten free food manufacturers in providing products that meet this demand.
People with coeliac disease source their gluten free products from supermarkets, health food shops, online and other independent retailers. The ‘Health Food Section’ of major supermarkets is often the first port of call, but they are also encouraged to identify other suitable products in other supermarket aisles.
What does ‘gluten free’ mean in Australia?
The legislation for labelling of products in Australia is set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). The Code is administered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, a bi-national Government agency. The Code is enforced by State and Territory Departments and Food Agencies within Australia and New Zealand. Coeliac Australia has representation on both government and industry committees relating to the gluten free standard and allergen labelling. The standard for claims in relation to gluten labelling is found in Standard 1.2.8 Nutrition Information Requirements, Clause 16:
16 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 no –
(i) oats or their products; or
(ii) cereals containing gluten that have been malted, or 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.
(4) A claim to the effect that a food contains gluten or is high in gluten may be made in relation to a food.
Gluten derived ingredients
Standard 1.2.3 Clause 4 of the Code: Mandatory Warning And Advisory Statements And Declarations discusses the compulsory declaration of certain allergenic substances and their products. This standard means that along with other common allergens, the source of any ingredient derived from a gluten-containing grain will always be declared on food packaging.
Collecting ingredient information from your suppliers
A Product Information Form (PIF) has been developed by the Australian Food and Gorcery Council (AFGC) for use by manufacturers as a standardised universal supplier questionnaire designed to capture standard information about ingredients, such as the presence of allergens, country of origin, performance characteristics, compliance with specifications and shipping information.
The Allergen Bureau has release a document titled Unexpected Allergens in Food. Foods and ingredients may be sourced from suppliers with limited understanding or different interpretations of the Australian/New Zealand allergen requirements. It is important to check all information from suppliers carefully and obtain clarification where allergen information is unclear or incomplete. This list may assist industry when verifying information from suppliers.
Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) have produced an Allergen Management and Labelling Guide that provides an overview of the regulatory requirements in Australia and New Zealand for the mandatory declaration of food allergens, guidance on good manufacturing practice, recommended labelling formats and the use the risk assessment process referred to as Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL).
The Allergen Management and Labelling Guide provides guidance for industry in managing allergens in the production environment, highlights the requirements for staff training and the responsibilities of minimizing cross contact through effective cleaning, handling and storage.
Precautionary Labelling (Cross Contact Statements)
Allergens may be present due to unintentional cross contact. This can occur at any point in the supply chain and often leads to the use of precautionary advisory statements e.g. ‘May Contain Wheat’.
The VITAL (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling) system is an essential standardised allergen risk assessment tool for food producers and allows the impact of allergen cross contact to be assessed. VITAL specifies a particular precautionary allergen statement to be used according to the level of cross contact identified. The unnecessary use of cross contact statements is discouraged to ensure accurate and consistent advice for allergic consumers.
Marketing your gluten free products
Coeliac Australia can help to promote your gluten free products to a captive coeliac audience.
Advertising opportunities exist in our National publication, The Australian Coeliac magazine.
You can license the Crossed Grain Logo to help promote your product as suitable.