In a move to encourage more manufacturers to stay within the gluten free market, the Australian Food and Grocery Council is looking to have the definition of gluten-free modified to include 'safe' trace levels of gluten in manufactured products.
The move to loosen the definition has been backed by Coeliac Australia, who have raised concerns that the current strict gluten-free standard is forcing manufacturers out of the market.
"Our concern is that as the sensitivity of the test improves it will impact on the ability of manufacturers to confidently label their products as gluten free,'' Penny Dellsperger of Coeliac Australia told SMH. ''We might lose the term gluten free all together."
As present, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand states that in order to make a gluten-free claim, a product must have no detectable gluten, and that a product can make a low gluten claim only if it has less than 20mg gluten per 100g of food.
An AFGC spokesperson said that Coeliac Australia had been in contact with them regarding a possible application to FSANZ to modify in the definition.
“We are working very closely with coeliac Australia to consider an application to ensuring safe levels in claiming gluten free,” the spokesperson told Food Magazine.
The AFGC echoed Coeliac Australia’s concerns, stating that as manufacturing equipment becomes more sophisticated and can detect trace levels of gluten that was not previously possible to detect with older technology, it is becoming increasingly more costly for food manufacturers to stay within the gluten-free market.