(photo credit: Courtesy)
Food products that have a maximum of 20 parts per million (PPM) of gluten –
which according to experts is not enough to cause abdominal and other problems
in celiac patients – will soon be labelled as having “No Gluten.”
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now, any amount present would force manufacturers to label the product as having
gluten, thus making it very difficult for celiac patients to find processed food
they could safely eat.
One out of 75 Israelis has celiac disease, and
many of them are unaware of it.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder
of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages
from babyhood onward. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, children’s
failure to thrive and fatigue, but in some people, the symptoms are not
The disorder results from a reaction to gliadin, a gluten
protein found in wheat and similar proteins found in other common grains such as
barley and rye. Gluten is not found in corn or rice, for example.
exposed to gluten, the celiac patient’s immune system interacts with the
small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. That leads to atrophy of
the villi lining the small intestine and ineffective absorption of
nutrients. The only cure is a lifelong gluten-free diet.
decision on labels was made on Monday by the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and
Health Committee, headed by Likud MK Haim Katz, which unanimously approved it.
Thus Israel joins many other Western countries, which allow up to 20 PPM of
gluten in “gluten-free” products.
The regulation will come into effect
immediately after their publication in Reshumot
, the Knesset
Katz said the new rule will ease the lives of celiac
Lior Harish of the Celiac Association added it was “a great day
for children [and adults] with celiac. Israel companies will be able to put
products for them on the shelves that until now were allowed only for export to
countries that approved the 20 PPM rule,” he said.