Independent gets it wrong again: spelt is not gluten free

You might remember that I quoted the Independent in September as saying that spelt was acceptable for a gluten free diet, and that I emailed them (twice) to remind them that it wasn’t …

According to the October newsletter, which came out on 1 October, Coeliac UK also contacted them to complain. They’ve received an apology from the author, but no public retraction yet. (I haven’t received any response, of course).

But on the 9th October, the Independent did it again:

For those with a wheat intolerance, Bacheldre Watermill’s spelt flour is traditionally made from a Roman grain and is gluten free.

I notice, though, that the couple at Bacheldre Watermill who produce this spelt flour do – correctly – tell us on their website that it contains gluten. Thank you Matt and Anne!

Do you get the impression that the Independent just doesn’t care? Or perhaps there is a fundamental failure to communicate within the organisation when a mistake is made. Perhaps we could ask them to put in the copy-editors manual that

spelt is not gluten free

after emailing everyone in the organisation and all their freelance writers first, because we know that people don’t always read the manual …

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Lucy is the mother of a coeliac, and has been managing a gluten free diet for her daughter for 20 years - though, to be fair, she does do most of it herself now...

3 thoughts on “Independent gets it wrong again: spelt is not gluten free”

  1. Do they have a “letters to the editor” or editorial section where they publish the public’s letters verbatim? Some American newspapers do that. Unbelievable, because not only is this a mistake, it’s a mistake where people’s health is at risk. This isn’t a simple reputation smearing mistake. Someone could get seriously ill from their mistake.

    I would also write to their competitors. Put them on the story, let them do a write up about how Spelt is NOT gluten free no mater how many times the Independent tries to make it so.


  2. Laney, do you work in PR? What a cunning scheme – I’d never have thought of contacting their competition. I’ll give them a day or so to respond, and then follow up. I’ll drop Coeliac UK an email too, to see if they can get some reaction.

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