A bid to relax the definition of gluten free food is potentially dangerous, says a specialist who is so worried he has written to the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Geoffrey Forbes, a gastroenterologist at Royal Perth Hospital, says Coeliac Australia is making a mistake to lobby for an increase in the amount of gluten that food can contain and still be classified as gluten free.
Since 1995 Australian food has needed to contain "no detectable gluten" to be classified as gluten free, he says.
However, new technology has resulted in fewer foods passing the test, so Coeliac Australia and the Food and Grocery Council have lobbied Food Standards Australia New Zealand to increase the threshold to less than 20 parts per million.
Other countries have accepted the higher benchmark, but Dr Forbes says it will not be safe for all patients.
"Some patients are more sensitive to gluten than others.
"I accept Coeliac Australia's point that as the sensitivity of food testing improves it makes it harder and more costly for a manufacturer to label food as gluten free."
However, he believes the problem can be solved with threshold of three parts per million, which is the accuracy level of the current generation of testing devices.
He says Coeliac Australia provides invaluable support and advice to patients, but he does not agree with its interpretation of the scientific literature.
However, Coeliac Australia says its view is based on sound research accepted in the UK, most of Europe and Canada.
It has been approved in the US within the past two weeks and is also the view of the World Health Organisation, says spokesman David Sullivan.
He says all packaged food that claims to be gluten free should need to give additional information about the actual level of gluten.
"We want people to be able to consume food safely at an affordable cost and also have some variety.
"The biggest issue for coeliacs is keeping to their diet. If that gets harder and harder to do it means more people are not complying. That has long-term health risks.
"We are looking to make it as easy as possible but still make it completely safe," says Mr Sullivan.