Coeliac UK has welcomed new EU food labelling regulations, claiming they will provide better certainty for people with coeliac disease.
The charity, which supports people who have the autoimmune disease cause by gluten, said it would help coeliacs manage their condition, and understand what products contain the allergen.
Despite the change to regulations, the charity is still urging retailers to put a clear ‘gluten-free’ label on relevant products, to assure customers.
Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, said: “Making sure businesses provide clear, unambiguous information to customers enables people with coeliac disease to shop and eat out safely and confidently. The new regulation means people with coeliac disease will have a better understanding of whether the food they purchase from a supermarket or order at a food venue contains gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.
“Although the rules are a great step forward, for total peace of mind, we are encouraging all caterers and retailers to label food gluten-free to show their customers what they can eat without fear of cross-contamination.
“Catering businesses will also benefit significantly as research shows people with coeliac disease - and the family and friends they eat out with - are worth a potential £100 million a year to venues willing to provide dishes labelled gluten-free. For businesses that have already taken up this option the impact on their bottom line is overwhelmingly positive.”
The regulations become law on 13 December, and will require businesses to provide information about allergens, either on product ingredients lists on-pack, or in the establishment if it is not packaged.
The new rules do not, however, require businesses to declare any risk of cross-contamination with gluten.
The EU rules were published in 2011 to give food businesses three years to get ready for the new provisions.