26 Nov 2014
By Wright Communications
According to Coeliac New Zealand (CNZ) the public need to make submissions to support FSANZ new proposal - to keep the gluten free label on alcoholic drinks - by 23 December 2014 to ensure the information remains on packages.
Coeliac disease is a permanent, autoimmune disorder caused by intolerance to gluten - found in wheat, barley, oats and rye - and causes the body to produce antibodies which damage the lining of the small bowel and make it impossible for the body to absorb certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food.
The 65,000 New Zealanders living with the disease must only consume food and beverages containing safe levels of gluten and rely on gluten-free labels to make the correct food choices for their health.
The recent proposal comes off the back of an earlier proposal FSANZ released in August this year which introduced the idea of a rule preventing alcohol from being labelled as gluten-free.
Following consultation with CNZ in August, FSANZ, agreed to revise the proposal on the basis that New Zealanders living with coeliac disease need gluten free labelling on foods and drinks to safely limit their intake of gluten and effectively manage their health.
CNZ President, Terry Hoskins, says he welcomes FSANZ's new proposal and hopes the public will support it and place submissions by the December 23 due date.
"This is an opportunity not to be missed by the public, and particularly for those 65,000 New Zealanders living with coeliac disease," says Terry.
"Keeping gluten free labelling on alcoholic drinks is important because not only is it a very real health issue for people with coeliac disease, it is part of a much bigger debate going on about what the appropriate levels of gluten are in foods, labelled as gluten free.
"As the organisation that supports people with coeliac disease in New Zealand, CNZ is leading this debate," says Terry.
To review the FSANZ's gluten free labelling on alcoholic drinks proposal please visit: http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz/code/proposals/Documents/P1035-CFS.pdf
To make a submission online visit: http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz/code/changes/submission/Pages/Submission-Form.aspx
To subscribe for updates from FSANZ visit: http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz/media/Pages/subscriptionservice.aspx
About Gluten Free legislation
The legal level of gluten in food and beverages labelled gluten free in NZ and Australia is 'no detectable gluten'. This contrasts with a level of 20 parts per million (PPM) set by the international Food Standard Codex Alimentariaus and supported by the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
The FSANZ standard of no detectable gluten was introduced in the early 1990's when it was not possible to detect gluten below a level of about 30ppm. Technology has moved on significantly since then. Methods exist today which can detect gluten down to levels measured to a few parts per billion.
About Coeliac New Zealand
CNZ is a charitable organisation based in Auckland. Its role is to ensure New Zealander's living with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis are diagnosed quickly, live healthy lives and have the prospect of a cure. The organisation does this by engaging with its members and stakeholders including the food industry and the medical profession to provide education support and improve the health and welfare of people with coeliac disease. Coeliac New Zealand was established in 1973.
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