Close [x]
By using the site you express your consent to the use of cookie files, some of which may be already saved in the browser folder.
For more information, please follow the Privacy and using cookie files policy for the service

Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

Increase font sizeDecrease font sizeHigh-contrast versionText versionText versionRSS ChannelGet QR codeWersja polska

You're here: Home > About us > About us > News

Gluten-free products - inspection and advice provided by UOKiK

< previous | next > 06.04.2021

Gluten-free products - inspection and advice provided by UOKiK
  • It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people should not consume gluten for health reasons.
  • With this group of consumers in mind, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection financed the testing of food products conducted by a non-governmental organisation Stowarzyszenie Przyjació³ Bezglutenowej Mamy.
  • One out of the 33 products tested exceeded the limits specified for gluten-free food, contrary to the information included on the label.

More and more people decide to go on a gluten-free diet. Some do it because it has become trendy, but there is also a group of people who cannot eat cereal products for health reasons. Those who suffer from coeliac disease have to follow the most restrictive diet due to the fact that even small amounts of gluten contained in food may harm them. It is estimated that this condition affects approx. 1% of the population, i.e. nearly 400,000 people in Poland.

'The Office financed the testing of food products that were labelled as gluten-free or did not contain information about the presence of this allergen specifically for consumers for whom gluten poses a health risk. Although on 1 July 2020, the issues related to food control were fully taken over by the Inspectorate of Agricultural and Food Quality, we decided to support the project that will help people with special dietary needs,' says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

The test, financed by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, was conducted by Stowarzyszenie Przyjació³ Bezglutenowej Mamy. The accredited laboratory tested 33 products, including sweets, flours and pasta from the group of naturally gluten-free products, meat products, and snacks. Excessive amounts of gluten were detected in one case, i.e. "Krupniok gryczany" (blood sausage with buckwheat) produced by Bacówka Towary Tradycyjne, despite the fact that the product was labelled as gluten-free. It is encouraging that further inspections of this product conducted by the Sanitary and Epidemiological Station and the Inspectorate of Agricultural and Food Quality did not reveal any irregularities. More information about the results of the tests is available at https://bezglutenowamama.pl/wyniki-badan-33-produktow-z-klosem-na-zawartosc-glutenu/

Regulations concerning gluten-free products

Proper labelling of products is very important for people on a gluten-free diet because even food that is naturally gluten-free, such as buckwheat, may contain gluten that has gotten into it from other products during the production, packaging or transport process. According to the EU regulation, the description "gluten-free product" means that the manufacturer declares that it contains no more than 20 mg/kg of gluten. Although this is a voluntary assurance given by the entrepreneur, the regulations state that information related to food must not mislead the consumer. This means that during inspections carried out by state authorities, the manufacturer should provide evidence of the gluten-free nature of the product, such as laboratory test results.  Supervision over the proper labelling of food of plant origin in production plants is exercised by the State Sanitary Inspection, and in the case of food of animal origin - by the Inspectorate of Agricultural and Food Quality.

How to find gluten-free products in a shop

Apart from the term "gluten-free product" placed on the packaging of food safe for people with coeliac disease, graphic symbols such as various types of crossed ears of grain are also used. In many countries, consumers may notice the same symbol indicating that products are licensed by the Association of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS).  In Poland, it is granted by the Polish Coeliac Society.

The absence of the graphic symbol or the term "gluten-free product" does not mean that the product in question contains gluten. In such a case, consumers should carefully read the list of ingredients on the packaging. Labels must inform about ingredients causing allergies, which must be highlighted, e.g. written in a different font or colour or against a different background. In the case of products sold in bulk, look for information about allergens on the label next to the product. 

'The obligation to provide clear information about allergens allows consumers, for example, with coeliac disease to find products that are harmful to them. As a result, reading the list of ingredients becomes easier. However, appropriate regulations are not enough; what is important is the right attitude of food manufacturers. I would like to remind them that they have to be responsible. They have to remember that not only consumer satisfaction but also human health may depend on proper labelling, says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Lodging complaints about food

Regulations related to lodging complaints about products also provide for the possibility of filing  complaints about food. However, it is very difficult to find, let alone prove, that a product contains allergens, contrary to the information included on the label. Product tests such as those conducted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and Stowarzyszenie Przyjació³ Bezglutenowej Mamy may be helpful to consumers. If, on the basis of laboratory tests, the consumer knows that he/she has been misled, he/she can lodge a complaint about the product to the shop where he/she bought it and demand, for example, a refund or exchange if for another one. In any case, the consumer may notify state institutions, such as the State Sanitary Inspection or the Inspectorate of Agricultural and Food Quality, which may inspect the food manufacturer.

Podcasts about the gluten-free diet

If you want to know more about the gluten-free diet, listen to podcasts ( in Polish) produced by Stowarzyszenie Przyjació³ Bezglutenowej Mamy and financed by the  Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. You will learn, among other things:

Consumer support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer advocates – in your town or district

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

Read also

Special edition #UOKiKtestuje - cars
Special edition #UOKiKtestuje - cars

On the occasion of Children's Day, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection tested 10 models of remote-controlled cars. ...>

Over PLN 60 million fine for the owner of Biedronka stores
Over PLN 60 million fine for the owner of Biedronka stores

President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny imposed over PLN 60 million penalty on Jeronimo Martins Polska. The owner of the Biedronka chain misled consumers about the country of origin of fruit and vegetables, which could have distorted their purchasing decisions. ...>

New Developer Act - better consumer protection
New Developer Act - better consumer protection

The Sejm has passed a new developer act that will strengthen the protection of people buying residential property in the primary market. One of the most important changes is the creation of a Developer Guarantee Fund, from which money will be paid out, among others, in case of bankruptcy of a developer or a bank above the amount guaranteed by the BFG (Bank Guarantee Fund). ...>

Contracts for supply of agricultural products - UOKiK recommendations for farmers
Contracts for supply of agricultural products - UOKiK recommendations for farmers

Farmers, are you aware of what a contract for the supply of agricultural products should look like to be beneficial for you? Please check the recommendations of UOKiK. ...>

President of UOKiK initiates proceedings concerning the practices of Cefetra Polska
President of UOKiK initiates proceedings concerning the practices of Cefetra Polska

The President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny initiated proceedings against the Cefetra Polska company. The entrepreneur may be unfairly exploiting its contractual advantage. ...>

Insurance extension and higher premium only with consumer consent - charges against Compensa
Insurance extension and higher premium only with consumer consent - charges against Compensa

Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK has filed charges against Compensa Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń na Æycie. ...>

Top