As readers may already know, I have a page on this website – 14 Allergens Free Foods – dedicated to brands which only offer products free from all 14 EU-specified food allergens (as well as a few ‘near misses’ brands, who only use one or two allergens at most).
It’s a frequently visited page, probably because many food sensitive folk have more than one food allergy or food intolerance, or live in an atopic family with a colourful array of food allergies between all members, and therefore brands and products which tick many allergy boxes and show strong allergen awareness are likely to be high on their list of interests.
While the page is I hope a useful reference in itself, I’ve often felt a dedicated ’14 free’ resource – not only for new brands, but also ad hoc or little known products, including from non-free-from brands – might also be useful and popular.
And so I’m happy to introduce a new Twitter account – @14AllergensFree – which will share all #14allergens and #14free finds and other news I come across – and which I hope some readers may like to both follow, and recommend products for.
While I’m on the subject of 14 allergens, I’m glad to see that the ‘No Top 14’ category in the Free From Food Awards has returned for 2018. Launched last year, and won jointly by Essy & Bella (Peppermint and Cacao Nib Alternative to Milk Chocolate) and Tesco (Free From Garlic Baguette) in 2017, the category celebrates products “which have gone the extra 13 miles and include none of the top 14 allergens”. The 2018 Awards have just opened for entry, and you can find out more on the FFFA site here.
One of the most common complaints I hear, particularly among non-gluten food sensitives, is that most of the focus in free from is on gluten – with perhaps a little also on milk. Those allergic to say, peanuts and egg, live in dread and dismay at “may contain traces of eggs and nuts” warnings in the free from aisle.
Catering for ’14 free’ needs – and finding safely ’14 free’ products – may not always be easy, but if we can identify them, and celebrate them, perhaps brands will pay more attention to trying to remove unnecessary allergens from their products, to make them viable for more and more food-sensitive consumers.
Let me know of any you find – and do encourage excellent products and brands to enter the ‘No Top 14’ category in the Free From Food Awards too …
The full list of 14 allergens can be seen on the Food Standards Agency website here.