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That Waitrose are no longer issuing a list of gluten free products for Own Label items?

(31 Posts)
trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 12:39:25

This really.

One used to be able to download from their website up-to-date lists of Own Label items for different dietary requirements (one being suitability for people avoiding gluten or coeliac disease)

However, last year these lists were pulled. The only thing available now is a drop-down/flag on a limited number of items (mainly dairy or fresh vegetables). A couple of times when I looked, even this flag showed some inconsistencies. Allergy labelling is no good as it does not take into account cross-contamination.

Often when I shop there now I end up not buying items that I otherwise would as I cannot take the risk (think chocolate, mayonnaise, soup, etc). The lockdown makes things worse as there are issues with deliveries from other supermarkets and I have to resort to buying from places that are close by (Waitrose being one of these).

This is not exactly a budget supermarket and some of these are certainly not budget items (e.g. the Dutchy Originals range). Also, they seem to spend a lot on aesthetics, packaging and the quality is generally good. How can they seem to have such disregard for this issue? Specially when they were able to compile these lists before? It must be impacting sales, surely?

I raised this with their customer support team who usually appear to be helpful but they did not seem to be interested.

Am I missing something?
Sorry for the rant and long post.

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ReincarnatedDodo Wed 20-May-20 12:41:30

Sorry, what's the issue with allergy labelling?

I don't understand that point, if it wasn't useful we wouldn't have it surely.

ReincarnatedDodo Wed 20-May-20 12:43:13

I have found that loads of ingredients have changed recently - things that didn't use to have my allergens in that I have eaten for years now do - it's frustrating as it is changing constantly. Same with Palm Oil, lots of products that didn't have it in before now do.

It's tough to keep lists like that up to date when producers and manufacturers are constantly changing ingredients.

Always look at the labels.

MammaHC456 Wed 20-May-20 12:44:10

This is something that I was planning on looking into. My partner is coeliac and as we want to ttc, I am looking at going gluten free for the sake of prev/bf. His preferred shop is Waitrose so I had planned to start looking at all this but so disappointed to hear this if it’s true. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and they give you a tick list chart to work out what you can eat 🤦🏽‍♀️ I will query this on twitter and by mail and get back if I hear anything.

trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 12:46:19

The issue with allergy labelling for coeliacs is that, even if gluten is not an ingredient, the food may have been cross-contaminated during the manufacturing process.

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trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 12:48:00

MammaHC456 great idea, hadn't thought of Twitter

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trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 12:49:53

Marks & Spencer have fewer items that are suitable but they seem to be taking things more seriously regarding this.

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ReincarnatedDodo Wed 20-May-20 12:52:18

Cross contamination is an issue with all allergens though. I have an allergy to something that only has to be listed over a certain amount (sulphites). Glass bottles get washed in sulphites before they are filled with drinks a lot of times.

I literally have had to check, and have to check regularly that the process hasn't changed, if I want to drink a drink out of a glass bottle as it is not labelled on the bottle if it's been washed in sulphites prior to filling.

Chicchicchicchiclana Wed 20-May-20 12:52:21

This is quite niche. What is your AIBU? Perhaps start a petition or enlist the help of Coeliac UK?

TheGreatWave Wed 20-May-20 12:55:15

Coeliac UK is a good place to start.

trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 12:58:07

Chicchicchicchiclana I would not describe this as niche

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Queenunikitty Wed 20-May-20 13:04:19

Waitrose has never been great with gluten free, maybe try another supermarket? Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s are better and even M&S. I’m coeliac and so is my DC and I still shop there because it’s the nearest. In the past when I lived abroad in Asia, I just avoided anything that may contain gluten so no bread, pasta etc or any ready made food or sauces if any kind. It’s the only way to be totally safe.

trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 13:04:34

TheGreatWave yes, the problem is that there are a number of people who have issues with gluten / sensitivity and have to follow a strict gluten-free diet (whether they have been diagnosed with coeliac disease or not). Not everyone may want to or can afford to join the organisation.

I think large supermarkets should make this information available to customers regarding own brand products.

What I find annoying is that they used to be able to produce this list and have now pulled it.

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ReincarnatedDodo Wed 20-May-20 13:07:48

@trulydelicious You do realise that gluten is not the only allergen, and to be honest, in Ceoliac disease is not an emergency life threatening illness such as anaphylaxis, don't you?

If they did this for Gluten, they need to do it for all twelve common allergens at least.

Chicchicchicchiclana Wed 20-May-20 13:10:26

Coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity are not niche, no.

But complaining that a specific supermarket no longer has a drop down menu of gluten-free products on their website is a very specific complaint so wouldn't it be better to try and target your complaint in a place where it will have most impact?

Not AIBU, the arsey end of Mumsnet.

trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 13:20:51

Queenunikitty yes, it's true. It's just that with the lockdown and all the disruption it would be easier if I could shop at Waitrose as it's close

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trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 13:22:52

Also, if they can send the lists to Coeliac UK, why can't they make them available to the public?

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TimothyTerrible Wed 20-May-20 13:26:17

Are you looking in the right place? Isn’t this it?

trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 13:26:23

ReincarnatedDodo yes, could be. I'm not too familiar with other allergies, though

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trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 13:34:05

Thanks TimothyTerrible. Those are mainly products labelled as gluten free by the manufacturer (e.g. Alpro, Tyrrells) or Waitrose Free From range (mainly gluten free bread or pasta)

However, if you were to buy say chocolate, mayonnaise or olive oil from Waitrose Own Label you wouldn't know if it had been cross-contaminated with gluten or not (which the previous list that they published used to tell you)

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TimothyTerrible Wed 20-May-20 14:00:01

Perhaps it’s because they can’t guarantee there’s no cross-contamination outside of the Free From range? I can see its annoying if that information used to available and now isn’t though.

trulydelicious Wed 20-May-20 14:19:27

TimothyTerrible yes, what's puzzling is that they make this list available to Coeliac UK but are no longer making it available directly to the general public. Doesn't make sense to me confused

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beabitnicer Wed 20-May-20 14:36:14

"You do realise that gluten is not the only allergen, and to be honest, in Ceoliac disease is not an emergency life threatening illness such as anaphylaxis, don't you?"

How bloody ignorant. It may not cause anaphylaxis but repeated consumption of even tiny cross contaminated amounts of gluten can lead to bowel and stomach cancer, osteoporosis and a whole range of other health conditions. Just because it doesn't kill you in the next 10 minutes doesn't mean it's not killing you internally. And there are all those who claim we shouldn't treat cancer for those who self inflict it (which btw I don't agree with), but they would argue that this cancer is self inflicted as if we'd just avoided gluten and been a little more careful we wouldn't then have subjected cancer on ourselves.

"If they did this for Gluten, they need to do it for all twelve common allergens at least."

This is agree with, it should be done for all the major allergies that legally require declaration on products. It is a matter of saving lives, both in the short and long term.

beabitnicer Wed 20-May-20 14:37:28


I thought that if there was a risk of cross contamination then it legally had to be listed as 'may contain' on the packaging? Is this not still the case?

ReincarnatedDodo Wed 20-May-20 15:36:10

@beabitnicer We are in agreeance - my point was that it needs to be done for all. I know about the risks of Ceoliacs in the long term, don't worry, I am not ignorant.

Allergen labels need to be for all of the twelve common allergens realistically if this is to be done by supermarkets.

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