The AOAC Food Allergen Community has published its first newsletter for 2014 and is seeking contributions by June 30 2014 for the next issue. The latest of these free publications features several articles on various aspects of gluten detection and labelling, as well as the regulatory environment surrounding these factors.
One article describes a proposed move by the Chilean Ministry of Health to modify the definition of gluten-free in that country. The proposal indicates that the term “Gluten-free” and its symbol shall be used only when the analytical result of the food sample is not higher than 1 mg/kg prolamin. Given that most gluten detection methods currently available have not been developed and validated to reach such low levels reliably, such a level would pose a significant challenge to the food industry and food laboratories. It is much lower than the 20 mg/kg gluten defined by the Codex Standard 118 which has, to-date, been adopted by most jurisdictions in relation to gluten-free labelling.
Also reported in the newsletter is a study that used Canadian consumption patterns to estimate the level of incidental gluten potentially present in the diet of people with coeliac disease. Grains that are naturally gluten-free, such as rice, buckwheat and soy, potentially contain some level of gluten-containing cereals such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale, due to standard food production processes. The study sought to quantify the risk and found that levels of gluten in naturally gluten-free ingredients may be a concern, especially those containing a higher level of fibre. The authors of the study suggest that people with coeliac disease should use grain products labelled as ‘gluten-free’, as these must contain less than 20ppm gluten. Grain products that would otherwise be expected to be naturally gluten-free are allowed to contain higher levels of gluten that is adventitiously present, as long as the products are not labelled gluten-free.
A further article is presented on a gluten quantitation method for rice-based products that has recently been adoption as an AOACI 1st Action Method. This came as a result of a collaborative study using a G12 antibody sandwich ELISA system. Twenty laboratories conducted the gluten quantitation tests on standardised samples of rice flour, rice-based chocolate cakes and rice crisp breads that had been spiked with varying levels of gluten. Based on all the collaborative study results, a detection limit of 4 mg gluten/kg was calculated for rice-based products analysed with the G12 antibody gluten ELISA method. The full report will appear in an upcoming issue of Cereal Foods World.
The newsletter can be read in full here. This issue also provides a link to subscribe to receive future issues of these newsletters by email.