Food fraud: Gluten-free BS in Ireland because health and legal concern

Partner Amy is gluten intolerant and has gone through a battery of increasingly valid tests to prove the point.

gluten_free_bison_2It’s a pain to shop for her and make meals, but she tolerates me, so there’s some angelic halo hovering above her poofy hair.

Irish food manufacturer Largo, whose products include Tayto, has admitted it sold crisps containing a high amount of gluten in a packet that was supposed to be gluten-free.

The company has pleaded guilty to breaching food safety regulations – a criminal offence.

Luke Byrne of reports that in May last year, a mother from Arklow, Co Wicklow, bought a 50g packet of O’Donnell’s mature Irish cheese and onion, gluten-free crisps for her 10-year-old son.

However, she noticed he was beginning to suffer a reaction to the crisps when his ears started turning red.

The mother complained to the company and the HSE subsequently brought a case against the food manufacturer.

Judge Grainne Malone said that the case was “a very serious matter” and the court was told the maximum penalty on indictment in the circuit court was a €500,000 fine and/or three years in prison.

However, the judge accepted jurisdiction of the district court in the case.

Giving evidence, HSE environmental health officer Caitriona Sheridan said that, in order for a product to be labelled gluten-free, it was required to have a gluten content of less than 20 parts-per-milligram.

tayto-gluten-freeWhen the crisps that were the subject of the complaint were tested, they were found to have more than 700ppmg.

A second control sample of the product was also taken, which lab tests found had more than 100ppmg of gluten.

Two other complaints were made about the presence of gluten in the gluten-free products. The company decided not to send out two pallets of products, identified as containing the incorrect crisps.

Counsel for the company, Andrew Whelan, told the court the issue was identified as a malfunction in the line.

“My client’s response to this had been ‘hands up’,” he said.

Mr Whelan told the court that Largo, which the court was told has an annual turnover of €90m, had spent €100,000 to remedy the problem and gluten-fee products were now packaged in a “totally segregated” production area.

Shouldn’t this have happened before?

Ohio college opens entirely gluten-free dining hall

As I bought some gluten-free lasagna sheets for Amy before the heat becomes to oppressive for lasagna, I was reminded of Kent State. reports that Kent State University restructured Prentice Cafe in Prentice Hall after administrators noticed a rising number of students with intolerance to gluten.

Kent State says it’s the first campus to offer an entire dining hall that’s certified gluten-free. The cafe was certified by the Gluten-Free Food Services Certification Program, which is a food safety program.

Gluten-free is not a food safety issue, except for those who are celiac or intolerant.

Gluten-free ain’t Salmonella-free: Glutino rosemary and olive oil snack crackers recalled because of possible health risk

Glutino, a division of GFA Brands, Inc. based in Paramus, NJ, is voluntarily recalling Glutino Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers. The recall is being initiated because the seasoning supplier, Kerry Ingredients, recalled the seasoning blend due to possible Salmonella contamination. Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers products with “Best By” date of October 26, 2014 are being recalled because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses.

The recalled Glutino Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers were distributed nationally through retail and warehouse club stores. The product affected is sold in a 4.25 ounce and a 20 ounce opaque white box with a “Best By” date of October 26, 2014 stamped on the top of the box. The recall is limited to the Glutino Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers and does not extend to any other Glutino products. The affected Glutino UPCs are:

6 78523 03861 1

6 78523 03863 5

No illnesses have been reported to date with consumption of the Glutino Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers. Customers who purchased this item are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 201-421-3970 or

That gluten-free bar is for dogs, not humans

The whole gluten-free thing has jumped the shark, if it already hadn’t two years ago.

According to the New York Times, about 15,000 plastic-wrapped copies of The Hollywood Reporter arrived on desks in Los Angeles. Inside these special copies of the publication, which has a subscriber base of about dogsbar70,000, was a “gluten free” nutrition bar — seemingly no big deal, just another of the magazine’s advertiser-related giveaways.

The president of one television studio chomped into it, as did one of his subordinates. A senior publicist at PMK-BNC tossed the bar into a drawer and started eating it a week later for a snack. This reporter did the same thing.

It was dog food.

“Yes, we heard people ate the dog bar thinking it was for humans,” said a clucking Lynne Segall, The Reporter’s publisher. “On the plus side, it was gluten-free.”

The “stunt,” as Ms. Segall called the giveaway, was part of a $45,000 ad purchase by Dog for Dog, a pet food company backed by the comedian Chelsea Handler; the rapper Snoop Dogg, who now prefers to be known Snoop Lion; and Ryan Kavanaugh, the chief of Relativity Media. For every item bought, Dog for Dog says it donates an item to a needy canine.

The TV executives (right, not exactly as shown) and power publicist who privately acknowledged chowing down on the blueberry-flavored Dogsbars said they only glanced at the wrapper before taking a bite. (They refused to speak on the record, for the obvious reason.) Only when something didn’t taste quite right did they read the smaller print:

“All Natural. Gluten Free. Snack for Dogs.”

Are chia (pet) seeds safe?

When I think chia seeds, I think chia pet head with hairstyles by Lyle Lovett or the dude from Eraserhead.

But when a microbiologist and cook marries a French professor, anything is eraserheadpossible.

I prefer fun with fermentations, but Amy’s trying this largely lactose and gluten reduced diet because of diagnosed intolerances. I’m old but can try some new things.

A couple of French professors from Wales who were in New York for years and now Adelaide came to visit for the weekend to take in the British Lions versus the Queensland Reds rugby match Saturday night.

We entertained them at the ocean (low tide) and I woke up early and tried lyle.lovett.hairsome new approaches to baking for breakfast.

The muffins on the right are primarily buckwheat flour, with some quinoa and coconut flour, a bunch of fruit, and stuff.

The things on the left are polenta rolls, with some quinoa, garlic, rosemary, and, chia seeds.

Both made with soy milk and lime.

And now that chia seeds are widely available and favored by hispsters, it’s a good idea the UK Food Standards Agency is going to evaluate their safety.

Infoods Ltd (based in the UK). It is requesting an opinion from the Agency on the ‘equivalence’ of their chia seeds, which are grown in particular regions of South America, with the chia seeds grown in Australia and marketed by The Chia Company.

The European Novel Foods Regulation includes a simplified approval procedure for when a company believes its novel food is substantially IMG_0419
equivalent to a food that is already on the market. In such a situation, the applicant can submit a notification to the European Commission after obtaining an opinion on equivalence from an EU Member State – in this case the UK.

Chia is a summer annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Labiatae family. The plant grows from a seedling to develop lush green foliage before it produces long flowers that are either purple or, less commonly, white. These flowers develop into seed pods to produce chia seeds. Although chia is grown commercially in several Latin American countries and Australia, the seeds have not been consumed to a significant degree in Europe.

The applicants’ chia seeds will be used in the same products as those for which approval was granted earlier this year for The Chia Company’s seeds (bread products, breakfast cereal, fruit, nut and seed mixes and bread and 100% packaged chia seeds).