Gluten Free and Me: Labels

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After that shock, you then go shopping.  I had no idea labelling was so confusing, not aided by the information that is sometimes put on the Allergy Advice Box which is contradictory to the list of ingredients!!

Without putting a huge list on here, there are a few surprising things you will find wheat starch/flour in:
Stock Cubes
Sausages
Beefburgers incl 100% Beef ones (yeah I know, doesn’t make sense)
Chocolate
Hot Chocolate
Mushroom Soup
Chicken Soup

The list goes on and on, in many fairly standard store cupboard ingredients.

*Since I wrote this 6 years ago (2012) many things have changed including the EU legislation on labelling, and given what has gone on just lately (a couple of deaths due to non compliance of this) it can only be a good thing.

Learning to read labels now is much easier than it used to be.  There are two Golden Rules here: READ THE LABEL, doesn’t matter what it says on the front, even if it states Gluten Free it’s always best to check.

DON’T TRUST THE PACKAGING: I was very nearly caught out with this one.  The Marks and Spencer Simply food Brown Sauce, for ages it was fine and I had stopped reading the ingredients as I trusted that it would be OK.  They then changed the packaging. Having not been able to find it on the shelf I realised that the packaging was different. So went back and checked again (yep you guessed it, it had been staring me in the face!!).  I just decided at that moment to check the ingredients just because they had changed the packaging, and discovered that this Brown Sauce (one of my favourites) now contained Rye Flour….therefore no longer suitable.  Why? It was perfectly fine as it was, so Why?

This incident just reinforces why,  if something changes, you need to be doubly careful. Most of the time it’s just a brand reinventing itself, but occassionally, as above proves, they will change the recipe, for no good reason.   GOLDEN RULE: Always check the ingredients label.

Because of this I had to start again to find a suitable Brown Sauce.  Most Ketchups are fine, but always check just in case.

Since the **EU Legislation came in stating that all 14 allergens have to be listed, and printed in bold on labels (and if in a restaurant the allergens should either be clearly marked on the menu or the staff, yes, all of them should know where to find the information. Do not be bullied into not being shown this, it is illegal practice)

They also introduced a minimum print size for ingredients labels so that they are not now impossible to read.  Which has been a godsend for me.

All of the above has made shopping for food 100 x easier, and therefore faster for me and it makes it a lot safer for those of us that need to read the labels to discover what items contain what, and to keep ourselves safe, reducing the stress to the health service.

The crossed grain symbol on the extreme left of the featured image is the internationally recognised symbol (registered by Coeliac UK here) telling you that a product is Gluten Free.

Stay Safe x

**Source: Coeliac UK  http://coeliac.org.uk

Disclaimer: This is my own experience. I am not a medical professional if anything in this series is appropriate for yourself please consult your doctor before taking any other actiion.

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