Changes to European legislation will result in gluten-free labelling changes from 20th July 2016 as statements, such as ‘no gluten-containing ingredients’ (NGCI), will no longer be allowed on packaging.
The factual statement ‘no gluten-containing ingredients’ was introduced as an option for food businesses to provide information about the absence of gluten-containing ingredients in foods and primarily used by caterers who felt they could not guarantee gluten-free in a commercial kitchen environment.
Reading ingredients lists and checking packaging takes time, and eating out remains the biggest challenge for many people living with coeliac disease. When Coeliac UK asked their members whether they found the NGCI statement to be useful, they found that in practice, on packaged foods the statement is not relied upon and consumers tend to use the ingredients lists more often to feel reassured that what they are eating is safe for consumption as it does not guarantee that the product is free from cross-contamination. They also found that alternative statements to gluten-free often led to confusion amongst consumers, so are hopeful that the changes coming into effect in July will make it clearer for consumers with coeliac disease to choose safe foods.
Whilst manufacturers and caterers adapt to the changes, consumers may still see NGCI used on some packaged foods and menus, although they will be phased out over the coming months. Regardless of the recent EU referendum result, the UK is still subject to EU regulations around food labelling and will be for at least two years.
Source: Coeliac UK