By Allergen Bureau

Allergen Bureau FAQs – making ‘allergen free’ and ‘gluten free’ claims

Can I make ‘allergen name free’ claims on my products?” and “Can I make a ‘gluten free’ claim on my product?”. These two questions are among the most frequent enquiries that the Allergen Bureau receives to its free helpline service.

To ensure industry has access to readily available, consistent, guidance on these frequently asked questions, both are included on the Allergen Bureau website in our Food Allergen FAQs

FAQ 1. Can I make “allergen name free” claims on my products?

In Australia and New Zealand, ‘lactose free’ and ‘gluten free’ are nutrition content claims, the conditions of which are set out in Standard 1.2.7 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). However, criteria for allergen free claims such as ‘dairy free’ or ‘peanut free’ are not included in the Code. Free claims instead fall under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the New Zealand Commerce Commission consumer laws and relevant State-Territory agencies which prohibit misleading and deceptive conduct. These organisations can view free claims as to literally mean zero or no traces.

In general allergen free claims should be supported by evidence of adequate due diligence. It is likely that a higher level of validation will be required to substantiate an allergen free claim than that used in the VITAL® Program, even when it concludes that the allergen is not likely to be present under normal Good Manufacturing Practice, and should be verified by regular product testing using an appropriate sampling program. Read More on this FAQ

FAQ 2. Can I make a “gluten free” claim on my product?

In Australia and New Zealand, ‘gluten free’ is a nutrition content claim, the conditions of which are set out in Standard 1.2.7 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). The Code’s conditions are that the food bearing the claim must not contain:

  • (a) detectable gluten; or
  • (b) oats or their products; or
  • (c) cereals containing gluten that have been malted, or products of such cereals.

The cereals that contain gluten are set out in Standard 1.2.3. Although the Code requires that the food must not contain detectable gluten, it does not define the LOQ (Limit of Quantitation) for such a test. The recommendations from the Allergen Bureau are that the test should be a validated or approved technique or kit (normally by AOAC); performed by an accredited laboratory; performed routinely as part of a proficiency program, and widely accepted in industry. The current industry view is that available tests with an LOQ of 5ppm meet this criteria. Read More on this FAQ