The maximum permissible level of gluten in gluten-free foods is to be slashed in a shake-up of international rules covering the category.

The global Codex standard currently allows products containing less than 200mg of gluten per kg to be sold as gluten-free. But that level is to be cut to just 20mg/kg after pressure from campaigners.

Coeliac UK told Codex the majority of coeliacs could tolerate between 20mg and 100mg of gluten per kg of product, and that this was easily achieveable by manufacturers. This week, it welcomed news the Codex Committee had opted for a lower level.

"The decision to change the Codex Standard has been debated for 13 years, which is far too long," said Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK. "Coeliac UK has worked closely with the FSA over the past two years to provide an evidence base for moving the standard on."

The EU will now develop a new description for gluten-free products that can be used on pack.