Posted: February 1st, 2023

Regulatory Standard of Gluten-free Food

While “gluten-free” is an optional claim that food producers can use on their labels, the FDA’s gluten-free food labeling rule defines what the claim implies on a food item. As a result, suppliers who claim their meals are gluten-free are accountable for ensuring that the claim is truthful, following all the rules, and not misleading. International standard: Gluten-free food provisions in Codex and the European Union (EU) stipulate that the product must not contain more than 20 mg per kg of gluten. Provisions under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 imply that gluten levels must be less than 20 mg (milligram) per kg (kilogram) . It must have the label declaration linked to sub-regulation 2.4.5 of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. The Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 and the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011 are both being revised to remove requirements regarding the standard “food particularly produced to lower gluten content to a standard 20-100 mg per kg” and “low gluten” and “cautioning for low gluten,” respectively. Gluten-free goods can be tested using strip-based quick test methods. These methods have not yet been certified by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). Manufacturers of such kits are urged to submit an application for kit confirmation and approval. One can visit the FSSAI website for more information.

Interpretation of the Label by the Consumer
The consumer should carefully study the label. The nutrition value of foods should constantly be checked by reading the labels for maintaining a gluten-free diet. While inspecting a food label for gluten-free safety, one must consider the following factors.

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The product should contain the gluten-free certification mark.

Always check the food ingredients because manufacturers these days keep changing them to improve the quality and taste.

If any food package does not hold the gluten-free mark, always look at the allergen warning.

Apart from allergen warning, some pre-packaged food containing precautionary statements like “manufactured in the same line with wheat” should also be avoided.

If the food label does not contain any gluten information, one can directly contact the manufacturer to confirm.

Gluten-sensitive people should avoid food labels which contain “wheat-free” because it may carry gluten-containing grains such as barley, rye, split of grain, or Kamut.

Consumers can also learn about other food safety and labeling provisions by visiting the website:

Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the small intestine. The patient cannot digest the food containing gluten, which leads to activation of abnormal immune responses. This causes damage to the inner lining of the small intestine, where food is being absorbed. It leads to defective absorption of nutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, calcium, and iron. Celiac disease includes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, malnutrition, and weight loss. The food items that should be avoided by people who have celiac disease are barley(barley malt), semolina, pure oats, triticale, einkorn, rye, spelt, and Kamut. Instead, foods that celiac patients can consume include fruits, vegetables, brown rice, corn, maize, quinoa, millets, buckwheat, tapioca, sago, carob flour, pulses, and legumes.

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