19 Aug 2014

Gluten-free beer labels to be banned

7:55 am on 19 August 2014

Gluten-free claims will be banned from beer bottles under new regulations - frustrating brewers and people with gluten allergies.

Chris Mills, co-owner of Kereru Brewing.

Chris Mills, co-owner of Kereru Brewing. Photo: RNZ / William Ray

From January 2016, it will be illegal to sell alcohol using health related claims, which regulators have said will include statements asserting products are gluten-free.

Chris Mills from Kereru Brewing, said if the rule came into effect his company would probably stop selling gluten-free beer altogether.

Mr Mills said he was considered appealing against the rule, but it would cost tens of thousands of dollars and the small market for gluten-free beer was not worth the cost.

The rule change is not a blanket ban on all health claims, it will still be legal to market beer as "light" or "low carbohydrate".

President of Coeliac New Zealand Terry Hoskins said removing gluten-free labels was bad news for the 65,000 New Zealanders who could not consume gluten.

Both the Ministry of Primary Industries and Food Standards refused to be interviewed by Radio New Zealand about the new labeling rules.