False Gluten Free Claims in Food Outlets

By: Aniko Silk   On: 29 May 2018 

Audits by Victorian Environmental Health Officers and subsequent analysis for gluten content, identified that 14 of 158 samples or almost 9% contained detectable gluten in products offered as "Gluten Free"

A new survey was recently conducted as part of the City of Melbourne food sampling program, required by the Food Act. A report published  in The Medical Journal Of Australia this week confirms, that Victorian Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) conducted the survey with surprise site visits collecting at least one food item promoted as gluten-free.

Subsequent analysis for gluten content identified that 14 of 158 samples or almost 9% contained detectable gluten and so were not compliant with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand definition of gluten-free.

This test, whist disturing, showed an improvement resulting from their enforcement as the previose test surveys were at 20% in 1914 and 15% in 1915.

The only Medical treatment available for coeliac disease includes a permanent strictly gluten-free diet and their health is compromised by exposure to even small (milligram) amounts of gluten.

Medical practitioners say that patients often say that they have been accidentally exposed to gluten when eating out and that many restaurants and cafes aparently dont undestand the risks for coeliacs.

Coelics represent only a very small portion of the population (<2% ) however the risk of consuming gluten can be severe.

The problem seems to be exacerbated by a large number of oaten cereal products being brazenly advertised falsely as Gluten Free Oats.
As well as a large number of people, without good reason, deciding that Gluten Free products might be good for them when they are not coeliacs and so are negative for their health, and  thereby diluting the importance of the real gluten free products which need to be manufactured in separate quarantined gluten free certified premises.

Aniko Silk is the executive chef at Opera Foods Pty Ltd and of Plum Organic Foods Pty Ltd. Opera Food's gluten free products & brands are manufactured in a separate gluten free certified premises.