A free-from gold rush

Sir: Let’s get the recent Genius recall (thegrocer.co.uk, from 10 June) into proper perspective. We shouldn’t overreact, as the contaminant was between five and 80 parts per million, which is low and unlikely to cause harm. Furthermore, to their credit Genius management have been transparent, played the incident completely by the book and are undertaking root cause analysis.

However, it does beg the more broad question as to whether this is just the latest in a long line of seemingly increasingly frequent ‘one-off’ product recalls in the free-from category or whether something pretty important is being lost in the scramble for market share, turnover and retailer contracts. New companies have piled into the sector with big marketing budgets as free-from has been a latter day goldrush. That increases choice, but safety must continue to come well ahead of price competition and the scramble for profit.

Hamish Renton, MD, HRA


Loss of confidence

Sir: As a coeliac I am very worried this contamination has taken place at Genius.

The short-term effects of gluten contamination in coeliac patients such as myself are pain in the gut, nausea, cramps and diarrhoea. These last for a day or so for me but for others it may be longer.

This latest incident of gluten contamination of supposedly gluten free-food not only was wrong (contamination of up to 80ppm in food labelled ‘gluten-free’ is an offence) but has caused both short-term and long-term suffering among a group of patients who have no choice but to maintain a gluten-free diet for life. Confidence in the non-prescription gluten free market for diagnosed coeliacs seems at a very low ebb after this shocking incident and I am one of many coeliacs who are eating only prescription gluten-free (not Genius or Livwell) products from now on.

Name and address supplied


Making sense of advice

Sir: Your article ‘Consumers confused about how to make diets healthier’ (13 June, p5) raised a number of interesting points about the conflicting and misleading information being given to consumers about what constitutes a balanced diet.

We believe we all have a role to play in helping consumers better understand what constitutes a balanced diet and lifestyle. Last year, we launched the Making Sense of Sugar campaign, which provides factual information, based on robust science, on the role sugar can play in a balanced diet, as well explaining the properties of sugar and busting myths we often read around sugar and sugars.

We hope this, together with the significant efforts of others in our sector, will help people make more informed decisions about what they choose to eat and drink.

Sharon Fisher, communications manager, AB Sugar