Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the FIC of it

A trip into town to see what was happening #14allergens-wise on the EU FIC front ...

Nothing on display in BHS's restaurant - whatsoever. So I enquired with a lady serving chips, and she referred me to a gentleman I took to be head of kitchen.

"Do you have allergen information about the meals you're serving?" I asked.

Some rooting around under counter followed and the chap produced this dog-eared, spilled-upon piece of cardboard.

"What about the individual meals?"

Ah, he gestured, yes we have something. Up came a shrink-wrapped bundle of cards, which he had I imagine had for some time, but had not yet broken open - perhaps because he had not yet been asked to. And they weren't bad at all - although they seemed more geared towards staff than customers.

Some of the vegetable dishes raised my eyebrows - parsnips with gluten, sprouts with dairy - but overall, they seem to have done reasonably well, though the sheer volume of these cards did make me wonder how easy it would be to find individual meals each time a customer requested them. I wonder if computerised facilities may eventually be required?

I tried Marks and Spencer, and this is the sign I found.

There were some GF options on the menu, but it was too busy to press them further on all this, though had I been a food sensitive individual, I'd have probably just walked away anyway ....

Allergy Mum Emma Amoscato posted a picture on Twitter recently which she spotted at a Sainsbury's cafe, below, which revealed it to be a terrific place to dine if you're lupin and mollusc allergic - but not so terrific if you have a more everyday sensitivity ...

The new laws, it's fair to say, are going to take a while to bed in, but it will be vital to persist with challenging outlets which are taking the easy option, and essential that Trading Standards / Environmental Health get involved in helping businesses do better than this - as well as enforce where necessary.  It's going to be an interesting 2015 ahead ...

Monday, 15 December 2014

Nut another one … two

Further developments regarding the M&S / Kinnerton nut-warning confusion which I blogged about last week.

To recap, M&S Made Without Dairy chocolate - made by Kinnerton - carries a “not suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods” warning.

A further response from a senior source at M&S has confirmed that the chocolate IS manufactured in the nut-free zone at Kinnerton (they have a non-nut-free zone too). So why the warning?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Nut another one …

Marks & Spencer’s ‘Made Without Dairy’ chocolate is manufactured by Kinnerton’s, who operate a nut-free factory. And yet the M&S labelling for the products carry a nut warning. 

The warning is “Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods”. 

Why is this? I tried to find out. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Hiccups and FIC-ups

With days to go, it’s all about EU FIC Regulation No. 1169/2011 at the moment, with coverage on the BBC, the big charities (Coeliac UK and Anaphylaxis Campaign) spreading the word, plenty of print journalism in the trade press, bloggers and advocates sharing on social media. 

Although there are major changes with respect to eating out and non pre-packed foods (in an over-simplified nutshell: any of the 14 allergens present in a loose food / prepared meal need to be somehow declared or provided on request), I want to focus on labelling on pre packed food - which I covered over a year ago here

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Total recall?

Allergen-related product recalls are a seemingly weekly occurrence, sadly, but the latest one of Genius Gluten Free Denby Steak Pies seems more significant, somehow - possibly because it's a major brand, who make very good products, and because the error is a serious one, namely a non gluten-free pie packed into gluten-free pie packaging. That's an awful lot of gluten in a pie crust.

The Food Standards Agency communicated it on Friday 28th November, and tweeted it that same day.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

What should the free from aisle be free from?

For a while social media users have been sharing pictures of arguably non-free from foods in free-from aisles at supermarkets and the issue has undoubtedly led to a number of unfortunate incidents. 

Here's MrsC with some sugar-free but wheat-containing coconut cookies at Tesco, here's some multiple-allergen-containing choux pastries in Asda, courtesy of Debs Massey, some spelty crisps from Caz again in Tesco, and some wheaty cereals in Sainsbury's, spotted by Nathan. 

And here's perhaps the biggest sin: gluten-containing flour sitting between gluten-free flours, via Alex Walker. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Far Eastern Odyssey - or Idiocy?

You have a few weeks from the date at the top of this blog to catch up with Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey, Episode 2, originally broadcast in 2009, and repeated this weekend, in which the well-known chef discusses food allergies with a friend and former colleague, Tom Kine, while eating street food in Hanoi. The segment starts at around 39 minutes. Click here for the BBC iPlayer link - but here's an edited transcript. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Four years, two drugs: pharma treatments for coeliac are coming

Most press releases I get (sometimes over a hundred a day) are pretty dull, but a recent one from research and consulting firm GlobalData piqued my interest enough to survive the DEL key treatment.

It confirmed that two coeliac drugs are expected to enter the European market in early 2019 and early 2020 respectively (each a year earlier in the US).