• food packaging
    Is Your Packaging Gluten Free? Is Your Packaging Gluten Free?

    Is Your Packaging Gluten Free?

Is Your Packaging Gluten Free?

I invited Chris Bekermeier to write a guest post today, discussing packaging. Chris is based in the US, and so is discussing packaging in the US, but the issues are the same wherever you are. I’m certainly going to be investigating wheat-based packaging here in the UK after reading his article… please feel free to add your views in the comments.

Over to you, Chris!


food packagingWhen you’re going gluten-free, ingredients matter. However, another big question you should be asking both yourself and the stores where you buy your food is, “Is the packaging gluten-free?” Whether you’re an old hand at living without gluten or just beginning to go gluten-free, you likely know how to check the ingredients of what you’re buying. The problem is whether or not the packaging itself is free of gluten, and many people aren’t aware that it may not be.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and is used as a thickening agent and for flavor in many pre-packaged foods. While the majority of these foods list their ingredients on the packaging, new innovations in “going green” encourage companies to make the packaging itself out of wheat. In 2004, researchers at California’s Agricultural Research Service Western Regional Research Center teamed up with EarthShell to look into the manufacture of wheat-based packaging. They found that wheat-based packaging is fairly simple to make and much better for the environment, but didn’t address the question about whether or not this packing would be gluten-free.

In 2011, Bio-Mass Packaging, in partnership with Bridge-Gate, offered a line of biodegradable wheat-based packaging containers specifically for takeout restaurants and caterers. Unfortunately, these can be especially harmful […]

  • Domino's gluten free pizza
    On Spontaneity and Pizza On Spontaneity and Pizza

    On Spontaneity and Pizza

On Spontaneity and Pizza

This weekend, we did something that we’ve never been able to do before.

We ordered pizza. For the whole family. To be delivered.

This might sound trivial but it is a very big deal for us. First of all, we live right on the edge of any delivery area… another 100 yards, literally, and we’d be out of reach of all pizza delivery routes.

But much, much, more importantly, we could order a gluten free pizza as part of the main order. No messing about with trying to time a home-baked pizza to coincide with take-away pizza…

This was, of course, Domino’s pizza. Domino’s are perhaps the best known pizza delivery company, and I expect you’ve heard that they are now offering gluten free pizza.

You hadn’t?

This is how it works… Choose your pizza (one size only at the moment for gluten free), and then customise it, adding sweetcorn, removing mushrooms, etc – to choice – and requesting a gluten free base. Adding side-orders and desserts is easy online, too, and items that contain gluten are clearly identified. If you order online, you can track the progress of the pizza too, which is a nice touch.

Simple, isn’t it? Just another customisation option.

Behind the scenes, Domino’s will have allocated the creation of the gluten free pizza to one person, who will supervise it through the process. Only that one person will deal with that pizza, even down to cutting it up at the end. I spoke to our local branch, who assured me that they’ve had training in how to handle it to avoid contamination.

Our pizza order came, and the delivery person explained very clearly which was the […]

Gluten Free in Egypt

view of the nile at sunset We’re just back from a week in Luxor. That’s Luxor, Egypt… and the gluten free member of the family managed just fine. And if we can, you can. Go for it!

Here’s what we did:

  • we packed emergency supplies for the plane journeys, including snacks: but they weren’t needed. We flew EgyptAir, and they provided a gluten free meal in both directions. The bread roll on the way out was branded Lifestyle, so we knew it was OK; however, the one on the way back looked identical to the ‘normal’ ones… she didn’t eat it. Our taste-tester told us it tasted ‘normal’, not gluten free.

    Tip: check everything – don’t assume.

  • we packed Sainsbury’s baguettes and rolls. These varieties need cooking and/or refreshing; we were self-catering, and I knew that the apartment would include a microwave/combi oven.

    Tip: I split the bread-stuffs between the cases, in case one got lost en-route.

  • we packed snacks (rice cakes, gluten free biscuits, peanuts and raisins etc) in both our carry-on luggage and the suitcases.

    Tip: chocolate will melt. Freeze an ice-cube-bag of water because it is flexible when frozen, and put the frozen bag inside a ziplock bag so everything stays dry (for the way out – and for the way back, if you can refreeze it and still need it).

  • we also packed a sachet of Helen’s Bread Mix, so that if we ran out of Sainsbury’s bread, we could make a loaf – which we did, reasonably successfully, in the microwave/combi oven. It did need refreshing daily, because of the heat.

Allergy Alert: Home Farm Speciality Foods Sauces

These are not products I’m familiar with, but here’s the listing from the Food Standards Agency:

Home Farm Foods Beef Stock, 450g
Home Farm Foods Black Bean Sauce, 212g
Home Farm Foods Chicken and Rib sauce, 395g
Home Farm Foods Chicken Casserole sauce, 470g
Home Farm Foods Chicken Stock, 450g
Home Farm Foods Diane Sauce, 395g
Home Farm Foods Hoi Sin & Chilli Sauce, 212g
Home Farm Foods Hoi Sin Sauce, 212g
Home Farm Foods Plum Sauce, 212g
Home Farm Foods Red Wine Casserole Sauce, 470g
Home Farm Foods Rich Beef Casserole Sauce, 470g
Home Farm Foods Roast Beef Gravy, 450g
Home Farm Foods Roast Chicken Gravy, 450g
Home Farm Foods Sausage Casserole Sauce, 470g

‘Best before’ date (for all products): up to and including August 2013

The allergens on these products have not been correctly listed. These products may contain celery, sulphites and wheat. More information available at the Food Standards Agency.

Allergy Alert: Asda Free From 5 Caramel and Chocolate Wafers

We’re sad to hear about this one: these are our current favourites.

There’s an alert out on both these: the Caramel ones and the Chocolate ones.

For the Caramel ones: Best before dates of 24 December, 14 Jan 2013 and 21 Jan 2013 may contain gluten at levels higher than permitted.

For the Chocolate ones: Best before dates of 3 December and 21 January may contain gluten at levels higher than permitted.

If you have any of these, don’t eat them, but take them back to the shop. For more information, visit Food Standards Agency.