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Professional resource for gluten free nutrition.

Dr. Schär Institute

Gluten-free labelling

Gluten-free labelling
Gluten-free labelling
In 2009, the European Commission introduced compositional and labelling standards [1] that set levels of gluten for foods labelled as either ‘gluten free’ or ‘very low gluten’.
These standards were designed to help protect the long-term health of people with coeliac disease. The levels of gluten permitted are based on recognised scientific evidence and are as follows:
  • ‘gluten free’- 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten or less
  • ‘very low gluten’- 21-100ppm of gluten

All foods including specialist substitute products such as gluten-free breads and flours which may contain gluten-free wheat starch, can be labelled as ‘gluten free’ providing they meet the established compositional requirements associated with the labelling claim. The ‘gluten free’ label may also be used for uncontaminated oat products that meet the gluten-free standard (i.e. ≤20ppm).

It is important to note that only foods containing cereal ingredients which have been specially processed to reduce the level of gluten can make a ‘very low gluten’ claim.

This regulation applies to all foods (both pre-packed and loose) sold in a variety of outlets including shops and catering establishments.

Allergen Labelling

In December 2014, the rules around allergen labelling changed following the implementation of a new European Regulation- the ‘Food Information for Consumers’ Regulation [2] (EU No. 1169/2011).

Whilst this piece of legislation builds on the previous piece of allergen labelling legislation, there were a number of changes which are outlined below:
  • The presence of any allergens within a product must be emphasised in the ingredients list so the consumer can easily identify them, for example, by highlighting, underling or by listing them in bold.
  • Information on allergens included within the product must be situated in one place on the food label. This means that the ‘Allergy Advice’ and ‘Contains’ boxes which were common are no longer allowed.
  • Previously, loose foods (those not packaged) did not have to comply with the food allergen labelling requirements; they now have to by law.


The 14 allergens that must be labelled if they are included in a product are:
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Crustaceans
  • Molluscs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts (namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazils, pistachios, macademia nuts or Queensland nuts)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cereals containing gluten  (namely wheat, rye, barley and oats)
  • Soya
  • Celery and celeriac
  • Mustard
  • Lupin
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at a concentration of more than 10 parts per million)

Advisory Labelling

Manufacturers frequently use statements such as ‘May contain’ to show that there could be small amounts of an allergen in a food product caused by cross contamination during production.  However, it is important to be aware that it is not a legal requirement to say that a food might accidentally contain a small amount of an allergen.

There are a number of different statements which manufacturers use on pack to warn of allergen cross contamination such as ‘May contain x’, ‘Made in a factory that also handles x’ etc. These statements are simply meant to provide the consumer with information on how the risk arises as opposed to the severity of the risk.

Further information on this topic

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Professional articles 6

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Presentations 8

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Studies 9

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Schar Pocket Sized Product Guide

A complete list of our Schär gluten free retail range, including allergen information, low FODMAP suitability and retailer listings.

Glutafin - Key Product Information and Ordering Codes

A comprehensive list of Glutafin products with their specific ordering codes, units per case, pack sizes, whether they are gluten free or gluten & wheat free, and key nutritional information.

Disordered Eating Attitudes and Behaviours in Coeliac Disease

Food labelling, the comparatively high cost of gluten-free foods and the difficulties associated with eating gluten-free outside the home influence the lives of people with Coeliac Disease (CD). For some, following the gluten-free diet (GFD) can lead to an increased risk of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours.

>> Read more... <<<
Satherley, R.-M; Howard, R; Higgs, S;

Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease

As new evidence and better analytical techniques emerge, more information is becoming available about our gut bacteria. It is becoming clear that the type and relative amount of bacteria present in our gut plays an important role in both health and disease.

>> Read more... <<<
Wilson, B;

The Influence of the Microbiome on Gluten-Related Disorders

This short article provides an overview of the differences in microbiota which exist in gluten-related disorders, with a particular focus on coeliac disease. It goes on to outline a planned controlled prospective study which examines changes in intestinal microflora in patients with wheat sensitivity.

>> Read more... <<<
Zopf, Y; Dieterich, W;

The importance of the microbiota in the pathogenesis and treatment of coeliac disease

The importance of intestinal microbiota and role of probiotics is well documented in some clinical scenarios and conditions, for example, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome. However, there are currently few studies on the relationship between coeliac disease and microbiota. This article looks to address and summarise the current knowledge base within this specific area.

>> Read more... <<<
Körner, U; Groeneveld, M;

Nutritional adequacy of a Gluten-Free Diet

Research into the nutritional adequacy of a gluten-free diet is limited. This article looks at an ongoing Italian study with the aim of understanding more about the nutritional quality of a gluten-free diet.

>> Read more... <<<
Pellegrini, N;

Dietary adherence and the gluten-free diet

This short article looks at the issues surrounding adherence to a gluten-free diet and effect on quality of life in coeliac patients.

>> Read more... <<<
Lee, A;

Growing cereals/pseudocereals in Italy and Europe (2013)

Lorenzo Barbanti
Assistant Professor
DipSA (Department of Agricultural Sciences)
University of Bologna, Italy

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Overview on the use of pseudocereals and minor cereals in gluten - free products (2013)

Ana Ferrer-Mairal
Associate Professor in Food Technology
University of Zaragoza, Spain

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Introduction to alternative grains: history and consumption in Europe (2013)

Luud J.W.J. Gilissen
Senior scientist at Plant Research International (PRI) of Wageningen UR, The Netherlands

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Suitability and safety aspects of cereals and pseudocereals for gluten-free foods (2013)

Peter Koehler
Professor for Food Chemistry
Technical University of Munich, Germany
Vice director of the German Research Centre for Food Chemistry

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Oats and wheat starch in coeliac disease – acceptance and reactions by patients (2013)

Markku Mäki
Pediatric gastroenterologist and full Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Tampere, Finland

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Dietary pattern analysis: a comparison between matched celiac and non-celiac subjects (2013)

Nicoletta Pellegrini
Associate Professor
Department of Food Science, University of Parma, Italy

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Nutritional values of the „new“ cereals and pseudocereals (2013)

Bianca Pelzer
Association of Cereal Research (AGF)
Detmold, Germany

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Safety and wholesomeness of oats for coeliac people - analytical aspects (2013)

Hannu Salovaara
Head of Food Technology division
Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

International Symposium "10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects", 30.11.2013, AREA Science Park, Trieste (Italy)

Long- term response to gluten-free diet as evidence for non-celiac wheat sensitivity in one third of patients with diarrhoea- dominant and mixed-type irritable bowel syndrome

The aim of the study was to analyse if HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 are suitable markers for the diagnosis of wheat sensitivity (WS) and to evaluate the long-term clinical response to a GFD in a defined cohort of patients with IBS-D and IBS-M.

>>Read more<<
Barmeyer, C; Schumann, M; Meyer, T; et al.;
2016 September

New NICE Quality Standard on Coeliac Disease supports the provision of gluten-free food on prescription

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched its first Quality Standard on coeliac disease, aiming to drive measurable improvements in the diagnosis, support and health of people with coeliac disease. It also identifies the need to address health inequalities.

>>Read more<<
2016 December

Randomised clinical trial: the efficacy of gut-directed hypnotherapy is similar to that of the low FODMAP diet for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

The aims of the study where to perform a randomised clinical trial in patients with IBS, naïve to dietary or psychological therapies, to compare the effect of gut-directed hypnotherapy with the low FODMAP diet, alone or in combination on symptoms and psychological health over both a short (6 week) and long term (6 month) period.

>>Read more<<
Peters, S.L; Yao, K; Philpott, G;
2016 September

Using best practice to create a pathway to improve management of irritable bowel syndrome: aiming for timely diagnosis, effective treatment and equitable care

This pilot project outlines the methods employed in one CCG to successfully develop a cost-effective IBS pathway with reduced secondary care involvement and improvement in patient care.

>>Read more<<
Williams, M; Barclay, Y; Benneyworth, R; et al.;
2016 September

Diet low in FODMAPs reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome as well as traditional dietary advice: A randomized control trial

There are a number of clinical trials to support the observation that a reduction in dietary FODMAPs is beneficial for IBS patients, but so far no randomised control trial has demonstrated that a low-FODMAP diet is superior to the traditional or ‘first line’ dietetic advice that is commonly offered to IBS patients. The aim of this multi-centre, parallel, randomised, controlled trial was to compare the effect on IBS symptoms of a low-FODMAP diet compared with traditional dietary advice in single-blinded fashion amongst outpatients with IBS in a setting resembling normal clinical practice.

Patients were recruited via local newspaper advertisement. Those with GI disease other than IBS (e.g coeliac disease, IBD) were excluded, alongside patients following a diet that excessively restricted certain nutrients (e.g low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan etc). Seventy five patients were selected as suitable and entered the study, all of whom met the Rome III criteria for IBS, These patients were randomly assigned to two groups and commenced either a low FODMAP diet (n=38) or a diet frequently recommended for IBS with greater emphasis on how and when to eat rather than on what foods to ingest (n=37), patients were asked to follow these diets for 4 weeks. Symptom severity was assessed using the IBS Symptom Severity Scale (IBS SSS) and patients completed a 4-day food diary before and at the end of the intervention. Patients received thorough verbal instructions from one of three study dietitians regarding the diet they would need to consume. They were also provided with a brochure containing further supportive information, designed specifically for the study. All of the dietitians had previous experience of working with IBS patients and thorough knowledge about FODMAPs and general IBS dietary advice. The term ‘FODMAPs’ was not used during dietetic consultations and patients were simply advised to follow ‘diet A’ or ‘diet B’. It was felt that the use of the term ‘FOMDAP’s may have introduced an unwanted placebo effect based on the recent publicity associated with this approach and the resulting high expectations of patients. The traditional IBS diet prescribed implied a greater focus on how and when to eat rather than on what to eat. The diet was based on first line IBS dietary recommendations from NICE and the British Dietetic Association. Specifically the participants in the traditional dietary advice group were instructed to:

• Regularly eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, never too much or too little each time
• Never be hungry or too full
• Eat in peace and quiet and chew thoroughly
• Reduce intake of fatty or spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, onions, cabbage and beans
• Avoid soft drinks and carbonated beverages, chewing gums and sweeteners that end with –ol
• Eat fibre but distribute the intake evenly during the day

Sixty seven patients completed the dietary intervention (33 completed low FODMAP diet and 34 completed the traditional IBS diet). The severity of IBS symptoms was reduced in both groups (P<0.0001) at the end of the 4-week diet, without a significant difference between the groups (p=0.62). At the end of the trial, 19 patients (46%) in the low FODMAP group had reductions in IBS SSS of ≥ 50, compared to baseline, v’s 17 patients (46%) in the traditional IBS advice group (p=0.72). Food diaries and nutrient intake assessment (via nutrient analysis programme DIETIST XP v3.1) demonstrated good adherence to dietary advice in both groups.

The authors of this study concluded that both diets improved IBS symptoms, without any clear differences between the two approaches, therefore combining elements of both diets may have the potential to further reduce symptoms. Providing a customised dietary treatment approach based on patient experience of which foods are already known to be triggers for symptoms, or testing for the presence of carbohydrate malabsorption at baseline could be beneficial. Future studies should also more clearly investigate the different impacts of individual FODMAPs on symptoms.

Resource: Gastroenterology 2015; 149:1399-1407
Bohn, L; Storsrud, S; et al.;
2015 December

Glycaemic index of some commercial gluten-free foods


Gluten-free products present major challenges for the food industry in terms of organoleptic, technological and nutritional characteristics. The absence of gluten has been shown to affect starch digestibility, thus increasing the postprandial glycaemic response. However, in recent years, gluten-free technologies have been improved, thus possibly modifying this quality parameter. We investigated the glycaemic index (GI) of 10 commercial foods aiming to update the GI values of the most common gluten-free products consumed in Italy.

The in vivo GI was evaluated for six bakery products and four types of pasta. The postprandial glucose response was obtained in two groups with 10 healthy volunteers each.

The overall GI values ranged from 37.5 for breakfast biscuits to 66.7 for puffed multigrain cake. Breads and pasta had GI values consistently lower than those previously reported in the literature.

The present study showed that several commercial GF products exhibited low and medium GI values, not confirming the previous observations on the high GI of GF. However, considering the multiple formulations and processes for preparation of these products, further studies are recommended.

Resource: Eur J Nutr. 2014 Oct 17.

Francesca Scazzina • Margherita Dall’Asta • Nicoletta Pellegrini • Furio Brighenti
2014 October

Diets that differ in their FODMAP content alter the colonic luminal microenvironment.


A low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) diet reduces symptoms of IBS, but reduction of potential prebiotic and fermentative effects might adversely affect the colonic microenvironment. The effects of a low FODMAP diet with a typical Australian diet on biomarkers of colonic health were compared in a single-blinded, randomised, cross-over trial.

Twenty-seven IBS and six healthy subjects were randomly allocated one of two 21-day provided diets, differing only in FODMAP content (mean (95% CI) low 3.05 (1.86 to 4.25) g/day vs Australian 23.7 (16.9 to 30.6) g/day), and then crossed over to the other diet with ≥21-day washout period. Faeces passed over a 5-day run-in on their habitual diet and from day 17 to day 21 of the interventional diets were pooled, and pH, short-chain fatty acid concentrations and bacterial abundance and diversity were assessed.

Faecal indices were similar in IBS and healthy subjects during habitual diets. The low FODMAP diet was associated with higher faecal pH (7.37 (7.23 to 7.51) vs 7.16 (7.02 to 7.30); p=0.001), similar short-chain fatty acid concentrations, greater microbial diversity and reduced total bacterial abundance (9.63 (9.53 to 9.73) vs 9.83 (9.72 to 9.93) log10 copies/g; p<0.001) compared with the Australian diet. To indicate direction of change, in comparison with the habitual diet the low FODMAP diet reduced total bacterial abundance and the typical Australian diet increased relative abundance for butyrate-producing Clostridium cluster XIVa (median ratio 6.62; p<0.001) and mucus-associated Akkermansia muciniphila (19.3; p<0.001), and reduced Ruminococcus torques.

Diets differing in FODMAP content have marked effects on gut microbiota composition. The implications of long-term reduction of intake of FODMAPs require elucidation.

Resource: Gut. 2014 Jul 12. pii: gutjnl-2014-307264. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2014-307264. [Epub ahead of print]

Halmos EP, Christophersen CT, Bird AR, Shepherd SJ, Gibson PR, Muir JG.
2014 July

Psyllium as a substitute for gluten in pastas


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of replacing gluten in favor of psyllium in pasta’s characteristics. This study takes an exploratory and quantitative approach and was sub-divided into four steps: selection and development of recipes and chemical and sensorial analysis. Modified samples of the pasta presented 100.0% of acceptance for individuals with celiac disease and up to 94.0% for individuals without celiac disease. The most affected characteristics were odor and texture. In terms of chemical composition, reduction of energy value was 26.5% and of proportional fat was 85.4% before being cooked. Substituting wheat flour for a mixture of gluten-free flours with psyllium did not alter preference or acceptability of modified products in relation to standardized ones and amplified feeding options for celiac disease patients. Thus, there were no damages in sensorial characteristics of these products.

Resource: Journal of Culinary Science & Technology Volume 12, Issue 2, 2014

Renata Puppin Zandonadi, Raquel Braz Assunção Botelho and Wilma Maria Coelho Araújo
2014 March

A Diet Low in FODMAPs Reduces Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Background & Aims: A diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) often is used to manage functional gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yet there is limited evidence of its efficacy, compared with a normal Western diet. We investigated the effects of a diet low in FODMAPs compared with an Australian diet, in a randomized, controlled, single-blind, cross-over trial of patients with IBS.

Methods: In a study of 30 patients with IBS and 8 healthy individuals (controls, matched for demographics and diet), we collected dietary data from subjects for 1 habitual week. Participants then randomly were assigned to groups that received 21 days of either a diet low in FODMAPs or a typical Australian diet, followed by a washout period of at least 21 days, before crossing over to the alternate diet. Daily symptoms were rated using a 0- to 100-mm visual analogue scale. Almost all food was provided during the interventional diet periods, with a goal of less than 0.5 g intake of FODMAPs per meal for the low-FODMAP diet. All stools were collected from days 17–21 and assessed for frequency, weight, water content, and King's Stool Chart rating.

Results: Subjects with IBS had lower overall gastrointestinal symptom scores (22.8; 95% confidence interval, 16.7–28.8 mm) while on a diet low in FODMAPs, compared with the Australian diet (44.9; 95% confidence interval, 36.6–53.1 mm; P < .001) and the subjects' habitual diet. Bloating, pain, and passage of wind also were reduced while IBS patients were on the low-FODMAP diet. Symptoms were minimal and unaltered by either diet among controls. Patients of all IBS subtypes had greater satisfaction with stool consistency while on the low-FODMAP diet, but diarrhea-predominant IBS was the only subtype with altered fecal frequency and King's Stool Chart scores.

Conclusions: In a controlled, cross-over study of patients with IBS, a diet low in FODMAPs effectively reduced functional gastrointestinal symptoms. This high-quality evidence supports its use as a first-line therapy.

Resource: Gastroenterology Volume 146, Issue 1 , Pages 67-75.e5, January 2014

Emma P. Halmos, Victoria A. Power, Susan J. Shepherd, Peter R. Gibson, Jane G. Muir
2014 January