Tag Archives: food standards agency

Seabrook’s to Restore Gluten Free Labelling

21 Mar

Long term readers of this blog may remember that back in October I wrote about Seabrook’s crisps.  Since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease these lovely crisps had been a great snack as they were easily available, labelled gluten free and very tasty.  A great addition to my packed lunch until last year they removed the gluten free labelling from their packs due to legislation changes.  You can read about the history and discussions on this subject here.

Since then I have survived on Burt’s crisps (from Devon) and also the coeliac favourite Pom Bears.  However, I was extremely excited to receive an email today from Emma at Seabrook whom I’d been speaking to previously.  In my last communication with Emma she had informed me that due to customer feedback they were reviewing the decision to remove the gluten free label.  Today she informed me that Seabrook had received gluten free certification and their entire range was now going to be gluten free and carry the crossed grain symbol!

Prawn Cocktail

I have to say a huge well done to Seabrook for listening to customer feedback and not only reinstating the gluten free labelling, but making the rest of their range gluten free (not all flavours were even previously) and going that extra mile to get Coeliac UK certification.  Also, another massive well done to the coeliac and gluten free community to getting the message across.  This just shows that there are companies out there willing to listen, and we are not always wasting our time by trying to encourage companies to give us gluten free options or clarify their labelling.

Seabrook Crisps marketing director Kevin Butterworth said: “Seabrook Crisps has always had gluten-free ingredients but we know that gaining Coeliac UK’s Crossed Grain symbol provides peace of mind to those with coeliac disease and we’re really proud to be able to offer them more choice.”

I am extremely happy that I can add these crisps back into my diet with confidence again, and that those on a gluten free diet will have a greater choice of crisps when the packaging changes in April.  You can read the full press release from Seabrook here.

I have asked Seabrook if they can provide me with an up to date allergen list for their products in the new range, and I will update this post with that information as soon as I receive it.

Update 26/03/2013: Seabrook have now provided me with an updated allergen list, reflecting the new April packs.  Correct as of 26/03/13.  You can view this here.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

Gluten Free Labelling Removed from Seabrook’s Crisps

8 Oct

UPDATE 21/03/13: Great news, gluten free labelling to be restored. This post has been superseded, see new post here

Since I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease last year, Seabrook have been one of the heroes as they labelled some flavours of their crisps gluten free.  This was particularly welcome in light of the issues we had with Walkers (packs previously labelled “suitable for coeliacs” now said contained gluten).   It has recently come to light however that Seabrook’s have removed the “gluten free” labelling from their packaging.

I contacted Seabrook’s to try to find out why the gluten free labelling had been removed, and this was their reply:

We have not put gluten into the flavours that previously didn’t have any gluten containing ingredients. A recent legislation meant changing the packaging  information and, instead,  if a packet contains ingredients which contain gluten an allergy warning will be stated on the packet.

Pretty much what I expected and not really telling us much.  I emailed some follow up questions, and here they are along with Seabrook’s answers.

Q1:  Could you give more information on the legislation that has caused the change please?  We are a knowledgeable bunch when it comes to gluten, so we know all about the 20 parts per million values that have to be met in order for the gluten free label to be applied.  I would really like to know exactly what has forced the change, and exactly how these legislations are impacting the food industry.  Sorry to be persistent here but it is a really important issue for us.

A1:  This was the Food Standards Agency Guidance on the composition and labelling of foodstuffs suitable for people intolerant to gluten Jan 2012 report.

Q2:  One concern that coeliacs had when Walkers removed the “safe for coeliacs” labelling was that although ingredients had not changed, Walkers no longer had any reason to be vigilant when it comes to cross contamination from other gluten containing products.  Are you still taking measures to prevent cross contamination from flavours that do contain gluten added ingredients, and if so what?

A2:  We still maintain the same strict standards within our manufacturing environment and our cross contamination procedures have not changed. However, as a result of the legislation we have chosen to remove the gluten free message across our range at this point in time. Instead, products that specifically do contain gluten include an allergen warning on the pack.

I also asked Seabrook’s if they could provide a list of flavours that have no gluten containing ingredients, and they sent back the following list:

Unsalted
Sea Salt
Cheese & Onion
Prawn Cocktail
C/Cheese & Chives
Canadian Ham
Oriental
2 Chilli
Desi Curry
 

I would have preferred a little more info on question one, but thanks in any case to Emma from Seabrook’s for answering my questions.  So what do you think as a fellow coeliac?  Will you continue to eat Seabrook’s crisps in light of their answers, or will you be sticking to the Pom Bears in future?  I would love to hear your thoughts so please comment below.

Update 15/10/12.  Following questions posed by Alex Gazzola in comments below, here is the latest response from Seabrook’s:

At Seabrook, we have not changed our manufacturing methods or quality controls in respect of gluten cross contamination since the 2012 guidelines were issued. All our analytical results demonstrate that we have fallen within the 20ppm threshold. However, the additional testing requirements to comply with the 2012 guidelines involve a degree of rigour and cost which, at the time they were issued, the business elected not to progress and accordingly we changed our packaging to reflect this. The authorities allow a period of grace for manufacturers in this situation to change the packaging over, hence the delay in some of the new packs appearing in the market place. One thing that we did not anticipate however was the extent of interest from our gluten intolerant consumers and, as a result, the business is committed to reviewing its policy in this area and will make further announcements in due course.

I welcome the fact that Seabrook’s are reviewing this policy in light of customer feedback.  Emma from Seabrook’s has promised to let me know of any further announcements, and I will of course share any good news with you all.

Update 21/10/12. Thanks to Shirley Quarmby, who has passed on a further reply received from Seabrook’s which is below:

Until recently we were able to claim our product as gluten free but due to new legislation of this year we can no longer state that claim.

Some of our products are wheat free but because they are made in a factorywhere gluten products are also made we can only advise customer that theyhave no gluten containing ingredients.

We have not made any changes to our recipes or our manufacturing processes, our change is all down to legislation.

I’ve attached a list of all our flavours and the allergens they contain.

UPDATE 21/03/13: Great news, gluten free labelling to be restored. This post has been superseded, see new post here

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

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