There have been a number of things this week that have added to my resolve to teach people how to cook and enjoy simple, healthy freefrom food.
Firstly, the product recall issue.
Hopefully if you are in the UK you will know what I am talking about when I say that…
On travelling back from a lovely weekend away with family last Sunday, I was catching up on social media to discover that a number of gluten-free items had been recalled by Tesco, Sainsburys, ASDA, Waitrose, Genius and Livwell. Since I make nearly everything from scratch I wasn’t too concerned but of course I passed the news on through my social media channels…and just managed to prevent one of my readers from eating a pizza that was on the recall list. Clearly she was very grateful to have read my update that stopped her from going through “3 days of misery”.
Since then further recalls have been made with more items being added to the original list. Not a few hours later…but days later. And this time, they did affect us because our lovely family had sent us home with some cakes for Roo as a treat…that happened to be included on this later list.
Luckily Roo has not been sick, but she has been over emotional this week which is usually a sign that she has had some level of contamination.
Coeliac UK reported that the levels of gluten in the products ranged from 5 to 80 parts per million, ppm (20 ppm is considered safe for coeliacs)…so I guess we got lucky with our cakes being in the lower end.
But the whole ‘parts per million’ issue still confuses me. If products can legally have 20 ppm and be termed gluten-free, why were products being recalled that had less than that?
Why, when I ordered some flour on prescription last month, was it called gluten-free unyet it is made from wheat starch?? For those that are interested it was the Finax flour, which I had fully researched and decided upon because it contained no rice…only to find that the ones available on prescription are made from wheat starch?! OK, wheat starch that contains less than 20 ppm gluten, but wheat all the same! Should I feed it to Roo??!
Anyway I digress…back to the product recalls and why my resolve to teach people how to cook has been strengthened!
Cooking your own food is empowering. Provided you source your ingredients well, you have full control over what you put into your body. OK, sourcing ingredients isn’t simple…I know there can be problems with them too. But on the whole you know what you are getting.
Buy processed foods and your power is removed. You have no idea what is going on in the factory, what happens when the food leaves the factory, how the product has been stored in the shop, etc.
So, although you might be time strapped consider this…
You can make 12 muffins in about 30 minutes; freeze all but one and you won’t be tempted to eat them all at once; you always have a sweet treat in the house when you need one and you don’t have to add all kinds of additives and preservatives to keep them fresh and delicious; you don’t have to go to the shops when someone pops around for coffee!
It makes sense and think of all the time you would save in shopping trips!
The same goes for savoury meals and snacks. Make double the recipe; freeze it and have access to ‘safe’ meals and snacks when you need them.
In a few weeks I am trialling a cookery class with a couple of ladies from my local Coeliac UK support group. Although I am nervous I am determined. If you have a restricted diet it is so important to know how to cook, and my resolve has been strenthened by these latest recalls.
In addition to the recalls, I found out today that two people in my small village had been diagnosed with coeliac disease yesterday; one a child and one an adult (different families).
Thinking back to the time when Roo was first diagnosed reminds me of the confusion and questions we had. Although we were relieved that we knew what was wrong with her, there was so much to learn (and that was for someone who already followed a wheat-free diet!).
If I can help just one person to navigate the mindfield of the freefrom world and teach them how to cook a few of their favourite dishes then I will be happy.
So you see, my resolve to carry on this sometimes tricky and lonely job has been given a boost this week.
How has your week been? Have you been affected by the product recalls? What do you think about the ‘parts per million’ issue? I’d love to hear from you. And as ever, if you make any of my recipes please share the pictures on your favourite social media channel with #freefromfairy!
Have a great weekend, and if you want to read more about the factories making our gluten-free foods then read this wonderful post by Carly at Gluten free b!
UPDATE TO POST – a letter from Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Genius founder:
I shared this with: