FSANZ calls for submissions on proposal for gluten claims about foods containing alcohol
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has assessed a Proposal to permit nutrition content claims about gluten in relation to food containing more than 1.15 per cent alcohol by volume to continue to be made when Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims becomes mandatory. FSANZ has prepared a draft food regulatory measure.
Pursuant to section 61 of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act), FSANZ has now called for submissions to assist consideration of the draft food regulatory measure.
Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims, which regulates nutrition content and health claims, was included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code in January 2013. When that Standard becomes mandatory in January 2016, nutrition content claims about gluten content in relation to food containing more than 1.15 per cent alcohol by volume (including beverages) will be prohibited. Until then, under the transitional arrangements for Standard 1.2.7, nutrition content claims about gluten content in relation to such foods are permitted, as long as the food meets specified conditions.
Consumers with coeliac disease must avoid consuming gluten to prevent ill-health. These consumers will no longer have access to gluten free or low gluten information within the range of foods containing more than 1.15 per cent alcohol by volume when Standard 1.2.7, as it currently reads, becomes mandatory.
FSANZ has therefore prepared this Proposal to amend Standard 1.2.7 so that nutrition content claims about gluten content in relation to food containing more than 1.15 per cent alcohol by volume continue to be permitted after January 2016. Under this Proposal, the conditions for gluten content claims, previously in Standard 1.2.8 – Nutrition Information Requirements and now in Standard 1.2.7, are unchanged and will continue to apply. The amendments proposed will allow gluten content claims to continue to be made about such food, under the same conditions that were in place before Standard 1.2.7 was gazetted.
FSANZ said this would enable consumers with coeliac disease to continue to make suitable choices appropriate for their condition, within the range of alcoholic beverages and other food containing alcohol.
Gluten-free sector in other countries
Australian Food News reported earlier in December 2014 that the gluten-free market in the US is estimated to reach sales of $8.8 billion in 2014 — an increase of 63 per cent between 2012 and 2014 — according to market research organisation Mintel.
In April 2014, Australian Food News reported that market research organisation Innova Market Insights had found that ‘free from’ foods and beverages claims such as ‘gluten-free’ was booming in many parts of the world, widening into new categories and increasingly moving into the mainstream with introductions from major food manufacturers and brands.
Meanwhile, in May 2014, Australian Food News reported that a study from the University of Nottingham ahd found there has been a fourfold increase in diagnosed cases of Coeliac disease in the UK over the past two decades. However, still three quarters of people with Coeliac disease remain undiagnosed.
FSANZ submission process
All submissions on applications and proposals will be published on the FSANZ website. Material that is provided in-confidence will not be published, but FSANZ will record that such information is held. In-confidence submissions may be subject to release under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1991. Submissions will be published as soon as possible after the end of the public comment period. Where large numbers of documents are involved, FSANZ will make these available on CD, rather than on the website.
Under section 114 of the FSANZ Act, some information provided to FSANZ cannot be disclosed. More information about the disclosure of confidential commercial information is available on the FSANZ website at information for submitters.
Submissions should be made in writing; be marked clearly with the word ‘Submission’ and quote the correct project number and name. While FSANZ accepts submissions in hard copy to our offices, the preference is for electronic submissions through the FSANZ website via the link on documents for public comment. Submissions can also be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for submissions is 6pm (Canberra time) 24 December 2014.