By January 2012, all gluten free labels will be changed. Some labels have already changed and here is what they mean:
Gluten-Free means a food has less than 20 parts per million. It used to mean 200ppm.
Very Low Gluten means the old gluten labelling of 200ppm.
Some gluten intolerants and coeliacs can get away with the 200ppm but other can’t. It’s a case of trial and error.
Actually it is impossible to have a completely gluten free diet unfortunately as a lot of foods you wouldn’t think of as containing gluten do, like rice, although this is said to be the type of gluten that doesn’t affect coeliacs.
That may be, but gluten intolerants are often even more sensitive so you have to find what works for you. Oats, for example, are not a gluten grain, but much of it nowadays is contaminated with gluten from wheat, rye or barley during milling which is no doubt partly why many people can react to it.
In some supposedly gluten-free (<20ppm) products, manufacturers can use things like Codex wheat starch, which is supposedly manufactured to gluten free standards. However, as a severely wheat and gluten intolerant myself, I can tell you that that would set me off.
Luckily, gluten and the grains that contain it, have to be listed on the labels anyway now under common allergens so you should be able to see what’s in a product. But ALWAYS read the label like a hawk anyway if you are sensitive.
And, if you find a source of oats that is purely gluten free and doesn’t set you off, let us all know; I don’t ‘alf miss them!