Recognizing the challenges faced by celiac patients, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has established the standard for 'gluten free foods' and their labelling requirements under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011. It has released a guidance note, set up standards and made easy to perform rapid tests available for the common consumer. The key takeaways from the guidance note:
People with celiac disease should not consume food product containing gluten (wheat, barley etc.)
· Only foods that contain 20 mg gluten/kg or less can be labelled as 'gluten-free'.
· The patients with celiac disease should:
o Buy foods that are labelled 'gluten- free'.
o Check the ingredient list and confirm that there is no gluten in the food.
o Check the food package for 'gluten free' label in the immediate proximity of the name of the product.
o Should not buy flour from local mills where wheat may also be grounded for other customer and there are high chances of cross contamination.
o Check FSSAI license number on the package(s).
o Always read the manufacturing/ packaging date and best before date before buying food.
o Check the labels, even on foods one buys regularly, as there may be some changes in ingredients used and that may contain gluten.
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India