Codex wheat starch

Codex wheat starch

Do I need to avoid wheat?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition caused by an intolerance to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. All people with coeliac disease are intolerant to gluten and therefore require a gluten free diet to help the small intestine recover and absorb nutrients from foods normally again.

A number of gluten free foods contain Codex wheat starch, or as sometimes referred to “Gluten-free wheat starch” which has had the gluten washed out to a trace level so it is considered safe for people with coeliac disease. These foods are gluten free but not wheat free. Some gluten free food manufacturers will use codex wheat starch in certain products to improve the taste and texture of the foods, for example in the production of gluten free breads and flour mixes. In order for these products containing Codex wheat starch to be labelled as ‘gluten free’ they need to comply with the threshold level of 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to do so, as set out in the Codex Standard for gluten free foods and the European regulation.

Other Codex wheat starch products can contain between 21-100ppm of gluten and have to be labelled as ‘very low gluten’ as set out in the Codex Standard and European Regulation. This is the second group of products and a very small minority of individuals who are particularly sensitive may still experience a problem if they eat these foods on a regular basis.

People with coeliac disease can eat gluten-free foods (i.e. 20ppm or less) in unlimited amounts. This includes products containing Codex wheat starch, which meet this criteria. It is important to be aware that not all brands will manufacture the wheat starch in this way, so always read the label to ensure the product is labelled as ‘gluten free’ for it to be safe to eat.

A small number of particularly sensitive coeliacs may be advised to avoid any products containing gluten-free wheat starch by their healthcare professional. If this is the case, they will be able to advise you on suitable alternatives.

With the exception of the Pain au chocolat and the Waffles, all Schär gluten free products are wheat free and do not contain codex wheat starch. If you would like a list of gluten free foods containing codex wheat starch please contact Coeliac UK.