A few weeks ago Mike (one of our sons and the “techie” for our website) visited Co Couture chocolate makers in Belfast. He discovered that they make Gluten Free chocolates so he bought some and posted a picture on our Facebook page. This really tickled your taste buds and generated a big response! Co Couture are in the process of developing their website to allow for online purchasing so keep in touch with them at www.cocouture.co.uk or contact them at [email protected]
Doherty Meats from Derry/Londonderry supply Gluten Free sausages which we, and many others, have sampled and can thoroughly recommend. They were at the recent Tesco Taste NI festival in Belfast and had a very busy few days!
We have been hearing very positive reports about BFree Wheat and Gluten Free bread so we have had a chat with the makers and they have told us some really great news!
First of all, because it’s so popular, they have now made it available in Ireland in Dunnes, Tesco, Supervalu, SuperQuinn and Centra stores!
And very soon they are coming to Northern Ireland! Watch our Facebook page for the “when” and “where” and you will know as soon as we have the details.
Find Bfree at www.bfreefoods.com
Meet Emma Cowan and her sister Kathy Jensen who produce our favourite “foodie” magazine – Flavour – Web site www.yourflavour.co.uk
The Autumn edition has just been published and, as usual, is full of interesting facts and articles about the food scene in NI and the border counties. In fact, in this edition they are talking to restaurant owners as far south as Drogheda and as far west as Sligo where they interview Seamus Thompson at Eala Bhan about his Gluten Free offerings.
Send Kathy an email if you want to sign up for their magazine or find out where to buy it – it’s great value!
If you have come across a new Gluten Free product that you believe would be of interest please tell us about it and share the experience.
The New Gluten Free Legislation
It would seem, from comments we are hearing and some blogs we have been reading, that the EU Gluten Free labelling legislation which came into force back in January this year is not necessarily having the effect the creators had in mind!
Here is a reminder of the relevant wording as it appears on the UK Food Standards Agency web site:
New labelling standards
The European Commission, using recent internationally recognised scientific evidence, has introduced compositional and labelling standards (Commission Regulation (EC) No. 41/2009) that set levels of gluten for foods claiming to be either ‘gluten-free’ or ‘very low gluten’, which came into force in January 2012. These levels are:
· ‘gluten-free’: at 20 parts per million of gluten or less
· ‘very low gluten’: at 100 parts per million of gluten or less – however, only foods with cereal ingredients that have been specially processed to remove the gluten may make a ‘very low gluten’ claim
These regulations apply to all foods, pre-packed or sold loose, such as in health food stores or in catering establishments.
The new labelling standards are an important public health measure to help protect the long term health of coeliacs.
These labelling standards will enable coeliacs to make informed choices about the foods that are safe for them to eat.
Where caterers are unable to justify ‘gluten-free’ or ‘very low gluten’ claims because of the risk of cross-contamination, if steps have been taken to control this contamination, caterers will be able to indicate which foods do not have gluten-containing ingredients, allowing coeliacs to make choices based on their individual levels of sensitivity.
The object of the exercise was, quote,
“These labelling standards will enable coeliacs to make informed choices about the foods that are safe for them to eat.
However, it’s apparent from some of the blogs we have read and comments on the web that some Coeliacs are not finding the new rules at all helpful. Furthermore, it is clear that many establishments are not complying with the letter of the law, probably through ignorance, and some of the major Gluten Free manufacturers have decided to stop issuing lists of their GF products and are telling Coeliacs to “read the ingredients” to decide for themselves.
Take Mars as an example. A couple of years ago I contacted Mars about their GF products and they emailed me a very helpful list. When I enquired again a few weeks ago here is their response –
“Thanks for asking about the gluten free status of our products.
On 1 January 2012, a new law was introduced to cover how foods can be labelled with claims about gluten. As you may know, it’s not always possible to make food gluten-free, and until recently there was no legal definition of what ‘gluten-free’ meant.
The majority of our factories are not grain-free and therefore the products made in them cannot be classed as ‘gluten-free’.
Whilst we recognise that consumers like to have lists of suitable products for their diet, this legislation change means that we are no longer able to provide these.
Therefore, at Mars we always encourage consumers to read the ingredients list to be clear when a product contains any allergenic ingredients as part of the recipe or in trace amounts. For a gluten intolerance or allergy, such ingredients would be cereals such as wheat, barley, rye and oats amongst others.
If you would like any more information on this legislation change or on gluten labelling, please visit the FSA’s website at www.food.gov.uk/safereating/allergyintol/label/gluten
Once again, thanks for getting in touch.
Mars Consumer Care”
Not very helpful, especially for a newly diagnosed Coeliac trying to find their way through the Coeliac pitfalls!
Have you an opinion on the new laws or have you experienced any problems? Why not drop us an email and tell us about it! Email to – [email protected]
Gluten Free Sweets
Here’s a website that just might tickle your taste buds –www.aquarterof.co.ukA Quarter Of is ‘an old fashioned sweet shop’, online, but more importantly, they stock a huge range of gluten free goodies!
Do you organise or are you in a Support Group anywhere in Ireland? Have you told your colleagues about us and our web site? Have you newly diagnosed Members? There is some useful information available to them by simply signing up for our Newsletter. Check here – www.glutenfreeireland.com
Our Facebook page is now very popular and, to date, we have 645 “Likes” which is pretty good but leaves lots of room for improvement! We get a reasonable level of interaction on our page but, again, we would love to see more folk use it to tell everyone about their favourite GF watering holes, support groups, or whatever Coeliac related experience you have had!
www.allergyshow.co.uk – Opportunity to visit the Allergy + Free From Show in Liverpool – 27 – 28th October 2012.
Derek, Tina & Mike