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09 December 2014 - MNT - Coeliac UK welcomes new EU regulation on food labelling as providing greater certainty for people with coeliac disease

Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten, welcomes a new EU regulation on allergen labelling in catering outlets and for retailers from 13 December 2014, as providing more certainty for people with coeliac disease in managing their condition.

The new EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation will require food businesses to provide information on ingredients which are allergens, in food sold unpackaged across all catering establishments as well as introducing changes to existing legislation on pre-packed food.

The new rules will mean all food businesses including restaurants, cafes, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars will need to inform customers if any of 14 allergens1 are included in the ingredients in the food they serve. If the food is not packaged, this can be communicated to customers in writing on menus or verbally through explanations by staff. It must be clear where or how the information can be found. However, the new rules do not require businesses to declare any risk of cross contamination.

Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK, explained: "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 if 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.