A spelty food label

bionaspeltHere’s a label on a Biona vegan mini-burger product, which I think is interesting for two reasons.

First, although it’s not the first example I’ve come across of underlined allergens (see the Jollyum products in my round up of new free from discoveries at the NOPE show in April), it is the first I’ve come across of allergens being both underlined and in bold. Effective, I think.

Second, it’s a good example of the realisation of a concern I mentioned previously regarding the new labelling legislation. Remember: unless the ingredient is gluten itself, there’s no obligation to declare ‘gluten’ on the label when gluten is present, only the source gluten grain. When that grain is wheat, this is unlikely to cause problems for people; and ditto I presume rye and barley.

But when it is spelt, as it is in this case, I think it could lead to errors – because, as we know, many mistakenly assume spelt to be gluten-free. I don’t mean coeliacs, here – most coeliacs are thoroughly clued-up as to what they can’t and can eat – but well-meaning relatives and catering establishments and publishers, for instance, who can and do get this wrong (although newly diagnosed coeliacs could be at risk too).

The ‘spelt flour’ in the ingredients could just as easily be rendered ‘spelt flour (gluten)’ according to legislation, but this is contrary to what the The British Retail Consortium advise its members. No, I have no idea why they do this either, but I shall put it to them, and perhaps we can get clarification.

Edited to add: In fact, legislation holds that it should be made clear that spelt is wheat … 

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