Thursday, 16 April 2015

CD: WYNTK - NEW edition!

There were late nights last autumn, when I set about trying to fully decipher upcoming changes to food allergen labelling laws, and what this would mean for consumers with food allergy, food intolerance and - especially - coeliac disease. Should gluten necessarily be mentioned in the ingredients when present? Is there any circumstance when you might see wheat unhighlighted? Where is a 'contains' statement still permitted? Answers: No, yes - and on bottles of booze. (As was I through much of this period.)

I needed answers in order to complete an update of my book on coeliac disease, the earlier print runs of which had almost sold out, and which my publishers had decided could do with a fresh new look.

Hoping and assuming you'll forgive the self-promotion, am happy to say that Coeliac Disease: What you need to know, the new edition, is published today, and to complement the extensively rewritten sections on labelling laws, I've added a lot of material on the food issues which tend to confuse those struggling to get to grips with the condition immediately following diagnosis - barley malt derivatives, GF and non-GF oats, glucose syrup, Codex wheat starch, spelt, and such like. Advice on eating out - and the new laws as they apply to food service - has also been added.

FODMAPs - which barely got a mention first time around - are given more emphasis in the 2015 issue, as they may be involved in persistent symptoms among GFD-compliant patients. There's also more on other food hypersensitivities, other gut disorders - and an updated section on the innovative research and future therapies which may lie ahead - vaccines, enzymes, drugs and the sometimes bizarre new developments in free from food.

I hope, if you choose to buy it, that you find it practical and supportive. Am always happy to answer questions and also welcome feedback on how to improve any future edition - as one will no doubt be necessary should those darned labelling laws ever get revised once again ...

Coeliac Disease: What you need to know is available from Amazon (UK) (£8.99), WHSmith (£6.29), Waterstones (£8.99), and Amazon (US) ($9.16)

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Why Vegan is not always Dairy Free: Part II

It's almost a year since I wrote a blog on why a 'vegan' declaration on a food or drink may not necessarily mean in practice that the product was safe for those with milk (or egg, or fish) allergy.

Following on from that post, my colleague and editor at Michelle Berriedale-Johnson asked me to write an article on the issue. I agreed, and started to research the subject in more depth. The piece has just been published on Foods Matter here

Do read it, if only for the thoughtful comments from Plamil's Adrian Ling. A summary, in point form:

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Hotel Chocolat and the milk-free 'milk' chocolate that may not be

Hotel Chocolat have some ‘milk-free 'milk' chocolate’ products - flavoured with almond not milk - which many milk allergic or intolerant consumers, and parents of, took to mean ‘milk allergy safe’ - and bought them.

For reasons which aren’t yet precisely clear, on Thursday (I believe), HC began to email those who’d bought the chocolate online ‘a note to clarify the dietary status’ of the products.

“ … no milk is added to the recipe, however our factory environment does use dairy products and there is always a risk of traces of dairy, making this product unsuitable for anyone with a specific dairy allergy”

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Gluten free and Free From at IFE

The International Food Exhibition (IFE) is a two-yearly trade show held at Excel in March of every odd year, and is usually a good showcase for both free from food, and vegan and vegetarian food, in which I also have a keen professional and personal interest. Here are some of the highlights from 2015's show.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Energy healing: an instant food allergy cure?

So this came in yesterday: 

Hi Alex, 

I read your blog on food allergies. I teach energy healing, and I have worked out a way to harmonise the threat of a potential allergen, so that the body no longer reacts. The treatment is instant, the results can be easily seen straight away with kinesiology, or indeed by consuming the foodstuff. 

I was wondering if you would be interested in writing a first person article on this in exchange for the treatment?  

For more info please refer to my website, and specifically this page on allergy desensitisation. 

Kind regards,

My response, lightly edited to avoid identification, was this:

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Food Sensitive Community: not fair game for political point-scoring

Top chefs attack EU rules on allergens in food reads the Telegraph this morning, to a collective sigh of frustration from those with food allergies, coeliac and intolerances, whose lives (in the case of those living with potential anaphylaxis) don't appear to be as important as the 'spontaneity, creativity and innovation' of the chefs which is supposedly being stifled by EU FIC 1169/2011 - the '14 allergens' labelling laws.

This latest salvo appears to have been co-ordinated by anti-EU campaign group Business for Britain, whose poorly informed take on the matter can be read here. They say that the laws require

" ... caterers and restaurant owners to conduct a comprehensive audit of every ingredient present within their dishes, which must then be displayed on menus ... "

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity: we're not there yet

Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist. Yes it does. No it doesn’t. Yes it does. Round and round we go, in an endless confusing circle of blinkered, righteous assertion. 

The scramble, when the news broke properly, to be among the first to share the latest 'pro-NCGS' research on social media or secure the most hits to one’s site on the back of it was no doubt ultimately won by The Daily Mail. But others covered it and shared it too - Live GF, Medical Daily, Neal's Yard Remedies, and countless more. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Methylisothiazolinone (MI): problem preservative

Although this blog is concerned with food allergy, food intolerance and coeliac, I am closely involved in the field of skin allergy too - and I've written a lot about a notorious preservative called methylisothiazolinone (MI) in the last couple of years. Here is some short background on it, together with some useful links for those already diagnosed with MI allergy.

In 2013, two dermatological organisations issued warnings about a relatively new 'epidemic' of allergy to MI - a preservative present in wet wipes, skin creams, washing up liquid, sun care, fabric conditioners and many more household cleaners and personal toiletries. I wrote about it for Skins Matter, about a year ago.