Burger Edge - A little too edgy on 'Gluten Free' labelling

Gluten Free offerings at Burger Edge (posted 01 Sep '10)

It has recently come to my attention that the Australian Burger Edge franchise now offers gluten free buns supplied by Silly Yak Foods which can be paired with some of their meat patties and fillings. Great! Until you see the disclaimer on their website:

Excerpt

Press Release Document

"Please note that Burger Edge stores are not gluten free environments. While all reasonable precautions will be taken, there is the possibility that cross contamination may occur during the toasting process or during the assembly of the burger."

False Advertising

Unfortunately this disclaimer reveals false 'gluten free' advertising. In Australia, it is illegal to promote a product as gluten free when it isn't. Furthermore, it is not right to mislead customers into thinking a product is 'gluten free' when it may well not be (i.e. Allergen Matrix). If a product contains any detectable gluten, oats, or malted wheat/barley it is NOT gluten free! For a product to be gluten free, it must be COMPLETELY FREE OF Detectable Gluten, Oats, and Malted Cereals that contain gluten.

Excerpt from FSANZ (page 15) http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/ACF2A90.pdf

Gluten Free Labelling Laws

Claims in relation to gluten content of food

(1) Claims in relation to the gluten content of food are prohibited unless expressly permitted by this code.

(2) A claim to the effect that a food is gluten free must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains –
-- (a) no detectable gluten; and
-- (b) no –
-- -- (i) oats or their products; or
-- -- (ii) cereals containing gluten that have been malted/their products.

By identifying GF items as Gluten Free on their allergen matrix (i.e. GF=Gluten Free), they are identifying that the product complies with the above Gluten Free Labelling Laws! To then add a disclaimer is not only contradictory but also illegal!

I would say cross-contamination is highly likely at this practice due to the many burger options that DO contain gluten.  We as coeliacs need to be cautious and careful at any such business.

At least get rid of the red GFs on your allergen list as it's already accounted for under the Gluten column in the list. 

This is not good enough, Burger Edge!

Edited: Added 03 Sep '10:

ALERT! UNDECLARED PRESENCE OF DAIRY AND SOY IN GLUTEN FREE BUNS:

It has recently come to my attention that the information in the allergen matrix with relation to the Gluten Free Bun ingredients is incorrect. They contain both soy and dairy (or so I've been told). Neither of these are accounted for in the allergen listing. I'd seriously question whether this business is a safe bet at all for gluten free fare! Seriously!

Edited: Added 11 Feb '10

The above concerns have now been addressed. Their current allergen matrix now highlights the presence of dairy and soy in their gluten free buns.

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Comments 3 comments

Connie 6 years ago

The same thing goes for Dominos and other restaurants with gluten free items on their menu. Unless the cafe is a 100% gluten free cafe there is never going to be a guarentee of safety. I think most coeliacs are aware of this and if they have a severe issue with it then they just don't eat out.

It's like a muesli bar saying it may contain shellfish or traces of nuts. There may not be any in the factory but they say that just to cover their butts.


infonolan profile image

infonolan 6 years ago from Australia Author

I don't have a problem with "May contain traces of...' statements. My issue here is that the business is misusing the 'gluten free' term. If a product is labelled 'gluten free', it must comply with the laws mentioned above. To use the 'gluten free' term and then add a disclaimer is not only misleading toward coeliac consumers but also illegal. How hard is it for businesses and society to understand? Thanks for commenting, Connie.


Dr. Peter Osborne 6 years ago

I think that restaurants are doing what they can to try to help gluten free individuals have a social normalcy. It is always up to the individual to check what they are eating to avoid exposure to gluten. If you are not sure, don't support the restaurant.

All the best,

Dr. Osborne

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