Alerts

Food Standards Agency: more allergy warnings

The Food Standards Agency has said that restaurants and cafes should take steps to warn customers about possible allergens in food. They suggest that products made with ingredients which could spark an allergic reaction should have them listed on a card, label or menu, and that staff should always check whether a products contains a potential allergen when asked by a customer. guidance says.

At the moment, businesses which sell food prepared or wrapped on their own premises (such as sandwich shops, delicatessens, cafes and bakeries) are not legally required to say whether their products contain potential allergens. Ingredients which can prompt allergic reactions include nuts, milk, soya, mustard, eggs, shellfish, gluten and celery.

Apparently, the FSA has produced booklets and posters to promote the guidance to catering businesses and staff.

This has been welcomed by Coeliac UK. Sarah Sleet (CEO) said: “It is essential that cafes, delis and restaurants are fully aware of these guidelines and have a strategy for dealing with allergens be it from chefs to serving staff to ensure people with coeliac disease can make a safe choice.”

This is still only guidance, not mandatory, but should be welcomed nonetheless as a step forward. Many places, of course, already do their best to provide this information, either on the menu or packaging, or by asking the chef.

You can see the guidance notes here.

FSA Allergy Poster

(This is a smaller version of the FSA poster).

Allergy alert: Tesco’s granola squares contain wheat

I think it very unlikely that a coeliac will even have picked up a packet of granola squares to check the label, as granola is one of those products which almost invariably contains at least one of oats, wheat, barley and rye … but if you did, you may have been misled by a packaging error.

Tesco’s Finest Granola Squares (5 pack) with a best before date of 17 February 08 actually contain Tesco Finest Tiffin Squares, which definitely contain soya and wheat ingredients. These allergens are not declared on the label.

If you did buy some – don’t eat them.

More information

Allergy alert: Morrison’s low-fat summer fruit yoghurts

Unfortunately, there’s been a mix-up with the lids to these yoghurts.

From the Food Standards Agency:

A limited quantity of Low Fat Summerfruit Yoghurt film lids have been incorrectly placed on Low Fat Dessert Style Yoghurts which are otherwise fully and correctly labelled. The Low Fat Dessert Style Yoghurts contain gluten and egg which makes the product a potential risk for people with a gluten intolerance or egg allergy.

These are the four-pack Low Fat Summerfruit Yoghurts, with a use by date of 17 January 2008. If you’ve got some, don’t eat them but take them back to the store for a refund.

More details here

Allergy alert: rice crackers containing soy sauce

Oh dear, another one …

The Health Store has withdrawn its Japanese Rice Crackers, due to a labelling error. One of the ingredients, soy sauce, is correctly listed, but the components of the soy sauce – including wheat – are not listed. It is therefore not gluten free, and not safe for coeliacs to eat.

Problem items

The Health Store Japanese Rice Crackers 125g

* Batch codes: 7101 – best before date: 11/11/07
* Batch codes: 7142 – best before date: 22/11/07
* Batch codes: 7190 – best before date: 09/01/08
* Batch codes: 7218 – best before date: 06/02/08
* Batch codes: 7257 – best before date: 14/03/08

The Health Store has undertaken a recall of the affected batches. They are sold in health food stores.

If you have some of these rice crackers, don’t eat them. For more information, see the Food Standards Agency site.

You probably already know that most soy sauce is wheat-based, and therefore not acceptable on a gluten free diet. I know that if I’d spotted soy sauce on a label I wouldn’t have bought it, though it is possible to buy gluten free soy sauce, usually a Japanese tamari sauce such as Sanchi Tamari or Meridian Tamari. I think I’ve even seen Meridian in some supermarkets …

Asda withdraws own brand baked beans

If you’ve got any Asda own brand cans of baked beans in tomato sauce in your cupboard – don’t eat them.

They’ve been withdrawn due to the presence of undeclared wheat and gluten. If you have any tins of baked beans with the following codes on, return them to Asda for a refund:

Asda Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce, 215g
Best before date: end of October 2009
Production code: 7276

For more information, see the Food Standards Agency.