Explain the Gluten Claim
The food industry is a tricky business! There are loads of rules and regulations, and rightly so!
FSNZ (Food Safety NZ), MPI (Ministry of Primary Industry) and other government departments are tasked with ensuring companies like ours, keep our customers safe by offering products of a quality standard which poses no risk in consumption.
When we formulated and launched our Hempy Bars, one of our goals was to make them gluten free. We brewed up a recipe without ingredients containing gluten and were stoked with the result, so stoked we decided to plaster the words “Gluten Free” across our home compostable packaging.
Gluten is a big ‘no no’ for those who suffer from coeliac disease (an autoimmune disease estimated to affect 1 in 70 Kiwis). It also affects many more people with gluten intolerance and for some causes inflammation in our bodies. With this knowledge, we have proudly created the Hempy Bar, avoiding this common protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
However, we didn’t realise the extent of the stringent rules and ongoing costs in making the claim. Our Hempy Bars are made in a large commercial bakery (it needs to be big so we can produce enough Hempy Bars to make them affordable) which also processes gluten-containing products. Our contract manufacturer always follows a stringent cleaning process prior to producing our bars. Further, to maintain the ‘gluten free’ claim, we follow up with a comprehensive third-party testing regimen through a government approved laboratory. This process is expensive and regrettably makes this non-viable for The Brothers Green to continue using the claim.
Going forward, without altering the Hempy Bar recipe in any way (the ingredient list remains the same), we have removed the “Gluten Free” claim from our compostable packaging. In the future we are exploring the use of Coeliac New Zealands’ Cross Grain logo, to show we support the work they are doing to make life easier for those suffering coeliac disease and gluten-sensitivities.
For further reading and explanations of the difference between standards across the globe, please check out the following links:What is gluten?
Coeliac disease overview from University of Chicago
Coeliac disease on Health Navigator
Threshold for gluten contamination can be safely set at 100ppm
U.S Food and Drug administration guide to labelling gluten free foods
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand
Cross Grain logo