Gluten Free Labelling Laws in Australia

Gluten-Free Labelling Laws in Australia around Oats

Here in Australia you will see foods labelled as gluten free, gluten friendly and low gluten – What do these mean? 

You may notice that all of our oat products such as our steam rolled oats, oat biscuits and oat muesli are not contaminated with gluten products and have tests showing nil gluten content, that’s because we can’t actually say that they are gluten-free due to the gluten-free labelling laws in Australia. 

FSANZ’s is our labelling governing body here in Australia and its their role is to protect the health and safety of people in Australia and New Zealand through the maintenance of a safe food supply.  FSANZ is a partnership between ten Governments: the Commonwealth; Australian States and Territories; and New Zealand.  It is a statutory authority under Commonwealth law and is an independent, expert body.

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 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 in choosing food for people with coeliac disease in Australia.

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code require the following:

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.

Gluten free grains:

Ingredients derived from gluten containing grains must be declared on the food label, however small the amount.

Foods labelled as “low gluten” contain less than 200 parts per million of gluten. Australia does not have a very large range of low gluten foods and be aware low gluten foods are not recommended for a strictly gluten free diet.

This new code of labelling applies to all food sold or prepared for sale in Australia and New Zealand and food imported into Australia and New Zealand.

Here at GF Oats Australia, we refer Coeliac patients to the guidelines set for consuming oats by the Coeliac Australia association. (link on our website)

Please also refer to our Research studies published on our site (link) for the latest on coeliac patients consuming oats. In fact only 1 in 100 may react to uncontaminated or gluten free oats. There is currently a study on oats being conducted on oats at Monash university funded by the Coeliac Society as part of the requirements of the food labelling laws, moving towards updating the clause.

Lets now look at how to understand food labels:

1. Products Marked Gluten Free

The easiest way to work out if gluten is NOT contained in a product is to look for products marked “Gluten Free” on the product label. If a product is marked “Gluten Free” it does not contain any detectable gluten. You do not need to look at the ingredients list, the gluten free statement overrides the ingredients list.

If a product is ‘labelled gluten free’, you should not need to look at the ingredient list. Those ingredients that you would think should not contain gluten though, chia seeds, chickpeas, rice etc you need to be careful as some of these are once again cross contaminated at the farm level. If they don’t state, they are gluten free, please call the company and request their gluten free test. If they don’t have one, you can assume they are in fact cross contaminated.

2. Gluten Free Ingredients.

You can read the ingredient list to determine if a product is classified Gluten free, that is, it contains no detectable gluten. Once you start taking notice of what ingredients are actually in the products we consume, we start to see a lot of products actually do not contain gluten. This is a bonus for someone requiring a gluten free diet. This way takes a little practice but in time you will become confident in understanding different labels and a whole new range of products will open up to you. Soon you will have a new list of favourites which will allow you to make new recipes. Foods that are not marked gluten free but are gluten free by ingredients are often a lot cheaper. So, not only do you get to eat a larger range of food, but you also get to save money.

3. Foods that are naturally Gluten Free

These include a large variety of foods such as:

Fats and oils, milk (except flavoured milk – you need to check the ingredient list), milk alternatives (ps double check they don’t contain thickeners that are derived from gluten grains), eggs, nuts, legumes and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables

unprocessed meat (beef, lamb and pork), poultry and fish – cold meat bought from a delicatessen MAY contain gluten. Ask the shop assistant and check the ingredient list. Rice, corn (maize), sago, soy, tapioca, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, sorghum, quinoa, chia, hemp, teph and arrowroot.

(1)    the prohibition of gluten free claims on foods is extended such that the criteria for making a gluten free claim includes no detectable gluten; and no oats or their products; or no cereals containing gluten that have been malted or their products. 

And with that, we hope that you can understand a little better as to why we don’t label our oat products as gluten-free. No matter what though; at GF Oats, we really love oats and we’re dedicated to providing you with the best oat products that aren’t contaminated with gluten. 

You can read about our story and the beginnings of GF Oats on our Aussie Oat Story blog post and find great recipes such as the Gourmet Oat-based Pizza if you love oats as much as we do!





Labels:  About our Oats,  GF Oats Labelling Laws, GF Oats Clarification



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