Who can be trusted when it comes to foods labelled as gluten-free?
This is just one of our experiences, and we’d like to share it with you because it’s been happening way too often.
Manna Dew has been in the Gluten-Free business for about 16 months now. As such we’ve been extremely diligent in
sourcing our ingredient from Gluten-Free certified suppliers so that our products have no risk of
gluten in them.
It hasn’t been an easy ride(more like a maze), but I’ve found the right ones.
Gluten sensitive and Coeliac Londoners…
Here’s a quick behind the scenes story for you
We call the top UK online wholesalers and retailers to ask if their products are gluten-free. The agen
on the phone reassures me with a ‘yes’ several times. Naturally I feel good, like I’ve certainly hit the jackpot. I tell
myself it’s a great market and it’s easy to find what you need. I even praise the company he works
for based on what he was saying and proceed to making a large order.
A couple of days later I am awaiting this hefty shipment to come in and the courier arrives to drop it
off (finally I say to myself). Me and my baker are unveiling the goodies when my eye falls on the most dreaded phrase:
”Due to packaging methods this item may contain traces of soya, sesame, and gluten.”
Suddenly everything goes into slow motion, so ofcourse I call the supplier and ask whether there is a mistake on the product labels. He says there aren’t any mistakes in the labels.
I then proceed to ask if they are gluten-free and he says YES they are.
Now at this point I had to sit down as I was so shocked and thrown back by this reply, because it all made sense instantaneously. The
people selling this company’s products, entertaining customer queries, and making purchasing
suggestions have absolutely no clue what it actually means to be Gluten-Free, I’m merely just another sale statistic.
At the back of my mind I can hear myself, telling myself the following (yes you read that right): The definition of Gluten-Free foods by the food standards agency (FSA), the UK’s official food
regulatory and governing body, is as follows:
“Suitable for people with coeliac disease (these foods can have no more than 20 parts of
gluten per million). – See more at: Gluten Free Fact Sheet
Knowing this definition, i proceeded to ask the following:
1. How can it have traces of gluten if it is gluten-free?
2. How can they guarantee these traces are less than 20ppm to guarantee the product is
Obviously you can’t. No matter what anyone says its virtually impossible.
For this reason I ask all Coeliacs, Gluten-Intolerant, and lifestyle choosers to make sure that
your Gluten-Free foods are packaged in gluten-free environments, and have been handled by
equipment that does not handle any gluten whatsoever.
If there’s one thing this taught me its that some people have a different perspective, ‘Gluten Free’ to them is not necessarily ‘Free From Gluten’ but at least they are kind enough to tell you this via the labels.