Gluten Free Labelling Laws in Australia
Here in Australia, you will see foods labelled as gluten free, gluten friendly and low gluten – What do these mean?
FSANZ’s is our labelling governing body here in Australia and their role is to protect the health and safety of people in Australia and New Zealand through the maintenance of safe food supply. FSANZ stands for Food Safety Australia and New Zealand and is a strong independent body of experts on a panel, that has a partnership between the Commonwealth; Australian States and Territories; and New Zealand. One of the panellists includes a member of the Coeliac Society of Australia, representing those who have an allergy to gluten and are required to follow gluten free diets.
FSANZ is responsible for developing, varying and reviewing standards and for developing codes of conduct with industry for food available in Australia and New Zealand covering labelling, composition and contaminants. In Australia, FSANZ also develops food standards for food safety, maximum residue limits, primary production and processing and a range of other functions including the coordination of national food surveillance and recall systems, conducting research and assessing policies about imported food.
Australia & New Zealand labelling laws:
Our 2 countries are very tough when it comes to labelling laws and when you compare the laws here to other countries they are the toughest in the world.
Australia and New Zealand have the toughest labelling laws in the world; these have been set by the Australia New Zealand Food Standard's Code. This gives a great deal of confidence when choosing food for people with coeliac disease in Australia.
Gluten Free Labelling: Foods labelled as “gluten free” must not contain any detectable gluten; and no oats or their products; or cereals containing gluten that have used malt or their products. Nil gluten equals <3ppm which is the lowest the machines can test down to. In our online store, we can label our Honey as gluten free honey, we can label our soap as gluten free soap, but we are unable to label our oats as gluten free oats or our biscuits as gluten free biscuits, so we label them as gluten friendly.
Gluten Friendly is a term that is entering the market, seen on the menu’s around the country in restaurants, clubs & cafes. This is generally to protect the venues from any cross-contamination. The fact is unless you are eating at a dedicated gluten free venue, there is always a chance of cross-contamination. No matter how diligent the food prep is. In the case of GF Oats products, we are communicating that the product is safe for those avoiding gluten, not contaminated to gluten. This enables us to communicate our brand benefits to the customers who need us to comply with Food labelling guidelines.
Low gluten is another term you will see coined, however, the true definition of that is that the product tests to <20ppm. This is fine for people who are moderately sensitive to gluten. The difference between 3ppm and 20 seems small until you have an allergy to gluten, then this can make a difference.
There is currently a study being conducted at the Monash University on oats, funded by the Coeliac Society, as part of the movements towards labelling uncontaminated oats as gluten free here Australia to avoid the confusion of being the only country in the world that doesn't make the label claim.