NEW SERVICES and an accreditation scheme have been launched to help caterers get to grips with new laws around gluten-free claims and take advantage of the £100m gluten-free market.
Coeliac UK, the charity, has produced a catering training package entitled: Accessing the Gluten-Free Pound: Preparing Food for People with Coeliac Disease.
There will also be a new service, comprising of online, face-to-face and tailored training along with a range of tools to help support the industry in training their staff.
The package also includes accreditations to help the industry communicate their efforts to customers with recognised and trusted symbols.
The charitys CEO Sarah Sleet said: Where people follow a gluten-free diet for medical purposes, the choice on where to eat out is driven by the person with the condition. The market is not just about catering for those with the condition, but also securing the custom of those they eat with.
From 1 January 2012, the first ever law governing gluten-free food came into place. Under the new legislation, foods labelled as gluten-free are required to be at a level of 20 parts per million (ppm) or less, which is 10 times more stringent than the previously accepted level. The law applies to both pre-packed and loose foods, so manufacturers, restaurants and cafes are all affected.
Sleet said that Coeliac UKs trademarked symbols will provide catering establishments with the competitive edge as the gluten-free market grows. By signing up to adhere to our standards, catering establishments will be able to use these symbols and become an accredited caterer, she added.
The EU has also put forward plans that will require the catering industry to make allergen information available to all customers by 2014.