Wheat, gluten and allergens

Around 1% of people in the UK have coeliac disease (sometimes referred to as gluten intolerance). This is a lifelong autoimmune disease which is caused by the immune system reacting to gluten. This makes labelling claims about gluten in foods an important issue.

Gluten is a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye, barley, and can contaminate some oat products. People with gluten intolerance (coeliac disease) need to avoid all food containing gluten.

Gluten can be present in food as an ingredient or accidentally by coming into contact with gluten-containing ingredients, such as wheat flour or breadcrumbs, used in the same premises.

Gluten free labelling levels are:

  • ‘gluten-free’: at 20 parts per million of gluten or less
  • ‘very low gluten’: at 100 parts per million of gluten or less – however, only foods with cereal ingredients that have been specially processed to remove the gluten may make a ‘very low gluten’ claim

Ingredients to avoid if you are allergic to wheat:

Bran
Breadcrumbs
Bulgar
Couscous
Flour
Gluten
Kamut
Matzoh
Pasta
Seitan
Semolina
Spelt
Tabouleh
Triticale
Wheat
Whole wheat berries

Products which might contain wheat include:

Baked goods (eg bread, cakes, donuts, muffins)
Biscuits
Breakfast cereals
Flavouring (natural/artificial)
Hydrolysed protein
Baking mixes/powder
Battered fried foods
Canned soups/stocks
Icing sugar
Ice cream cones
Lollies
Malted milk
Pancakes
Processed meats
Sauces/gravy mixes
Snack foods
Soy sauce
Starch (eg modified, vegetable, gelatinised)
Surimi
Vegetable gum/starch

Flour includes all-purpose, bread, durum, cake, enriched, high gluten, high protein instant, multigrain, pastry, plain, self-raising, soft wheat, steel ground, stone
ground, wholemeal, whole wheat+ bran, germ, flakes, sprouts

Thankyou to Food Standards Australia for this information.

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