Great Australian Ice Creamery? Not So Great for Coeliacs!!!

False 'Gluten Free' Ice Cream advertising

Recently in my travels, I came across this nice Ice Cream shop (which is apparently a chain) known as the Great Australian Ice Creamery. Curiously I wandered in to see what was on offer. Of course, being Coeliac, my choices are somewhat more limited. I usually have to ask about which ice creams are gluten free and ask for a separate ice cream scoop to be used to scoop my ice cream selections from different containers. As soon as I walked in, however, I saw a notice on one of the windows. They quote: "over 90 percent of our ice creams are gluten free, so come and experience the huge range of delicious treats at The Great Australian Ice Creamery." I was excited to see an ice cream outlet stressing so outrightly that most of their ice creams were gluten free. It was pleasing to see that society seems to be aware of our gluten free needs. I went inside to have a look at their ice creams. Many were labelled as "GLUTEN FREE". I began to order a couple of different scoops of ice cream.

Unfortunately, though, they used exactly the same scoop as that used for scooping all their other ice creams. The server told me that due to cross-contamination, none of their ice creams could be guaranteed 100% gluten free. I was also advised that some of their ice creams labelled gluten free were out of date and had gluten in them (some of the stickers on the glass panel appeared to be old and worn).

What the Great Australian Ice Creamery is doing is ILLEGAL! The information they are providing to patrons is misleading and incorrect. Had I not checked with the server, I could have 'glutened' myself badly due to having consumed a product labelled gluten free that contained gluten. They did not quote any other allergens on their labels. All it said was (eg):

Vanilla

GLUTEN FREE

As can be seen, having read the above, this is false marketing. They are trying to exploit this 'niche' market probably to raise their income. No other effort was put into this gluten free 'thing' other than shoving a big "GLUTEN FREE" statement onto their ice cream flavour stickers and making it WELL KNOWN to the public. Individuals with Coeliac Disease don't seem to be respected like they should, these days, and it disappoints me that businesses care about only making one thing count for them: MONEY!!

And to the Great Australian Ice Creamery, all I can say is: "GET RID OF THOSE GLUTEN FREE LABELS BEFORE YOU BECOME LIABLE FOR FALSE ADVERTISING! You will eventually regret this sort of marketing if you don't refrain from posing your gluten free message to the public. Either that, or use separate scoops (spade-style works well!) in every single ice cream dish to prevent cross-contamination, as this is such an issue at this day in society. Just because you may not have heard of one experiencing any noticeable signs of discomfort, be aware that people with Coeliac Disease may be damaging themselves in the long term without noticing any symptoms in the meantime. Don't increase consumer confidence if it can't be done PROPERLY!"

I do feel for my fellow coeliac consumers who have to face this exploitation and make a choice they sometimes don't want to. While some non-coeliac gluten intolerant individuals will be fine with small amounts of gluten, individuals with coeliac disease must keep gluten away from their diet at all costs to reduce the risk of many associated conditions as they grow older. This is what needs to be realized by our foodservice industry as a food item cannot legally be labelled as "GLUTEN FREE" unless the product is 100% guaranteed, gluten free.

[EDITED TO ADD 17/Oct/2010 - It has recently come to my attention that the statement on the GAIC Menu Page has recently been altered to describe the ice creams as "gluten friendly", INSTEAD OF gluten free *snort*.]

[EDITED TO ADD 12/Feb/2011 - The 'GLUTEN FRIENDLY' term is ILLEGAL to use in Australia.  It does not fit the FSANZ Standard 1.2.8 Code!]

[EDITED TO ADD 3/Mar/2011 - All 'gluten' terms have been eliminated from the GAIC Menu Page.  They no longer claim their ice creams on their website as 'gluten free' OR 'gluten friendly'.  It is great to see that this business has addressed the concerns highlighted in this post.]

Acceptable

Separate scoops used for each ice cream flavour
Separate scoops used for each ice cream flavour

Unacceptable

Where is the scoop?  In a jug of water, I suppose, contaminated with all other matter... (sigh)! If any of these flavours is not gluten free, you cannot legally claim gluten free on any of them!
Where is the scoop? In a jug of water, I suppose, contaminated with all other matter... (sigh)! If any of these flavours is not gluten free, you cannot legally claim gluten free on any of them!

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Leave a Reply 9 comments

moonbun profile image

moonbun 6 years ago from London

I'm a fellow coeliac and that is shocking. It's hard enough finding gluten free foods to eat out, let alone companies like this actually lying about it!

Well done for exposing this.


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

What a surprise I got reading this. Yeeeuuuch. I will be very careful selecting and picking my ice cream in future. The cross contamination issue sounds like a recipe for trouble. Every ice cream should have its own scoop, surely they would have that? In Italian cafes they have it anyway. That is sick. Well done for bringing this matter forward! Love Hubbers on a mission! Heh!


infonolan profile image

infonolan 6 years ago from Australia Author

You're too Right! But on a quick side note I do feel that, out of fairness to various establishments around Australia, I intend to track down a vast majority of food service businesses with regard to false 'gluten/allergen free' marketing. Any feedback/suggestions/criticisms on places I may have missed would be well appreciated and I think it will pay in the long term! ;)

Cheeky Girl - You're right, it IS sick and this sort of place certainly doesn't exactly make me proud of Australian food standards, either (hence the title "Great Australian...). I take my business elsewhere, especially after having sampled genuine ice cream from upper class establishments in less rural areas. As I did this more often, I quickly began to realise that the ice cream at this *GREAT* Australian Ice Creamery probably not a whole lot more than 'hardened' milk and sugar, despite all the preservatives, additives etc. added. Baskin Robbins in the States and New Zealand Natural are the same way! Very little - if any - cross contamination control. All of the authentic Ice Cream establishments I have found, that are worth anyone's time, have always left spades in each ice cream container and are VERY aware of cross-contamination. I have yet to see one of these fine establishments label 'gluten free' on their ice cream flavours, yet they could probably quite rightly do so far more than the other aforementioned businesses.

Just goes to show, I think it's a money grabbing opportunity more than anything else.

* This comment was slightly altered to raise greater awareness in public exposure to this particular topic. Changes included sentence structure, etc. All content remains the same.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

I was at the supermarket the other day reading ice cream labels and created quite a following of people who did not know their was gluten in some ice cream!


Great Australia Ice Creamery 6 years ago

Dear Kelly,

I am in reply to your email dated 29th August 10.

If this concern of yours has been of any inconvenience to you and perhaps your family, please accept my apologies on behalf of our group.

Our group has been selling gluten free Ice Cream for many years now with the only product NOT GLUTEN FREE is the Cookies N Cream. We have not once been questioned by any health authorities or customers in regards to this issue and we have always ensured that whenever a new product is made the product specifications details are up to date from the manufacturer.

Kelly , I can assure you that this will be followed up with ALL authorities involved to have this cleared up. We believe that we are not false marketing our products and have been congratulated on many occasions of what we are doing.

I thank you for your concerns, could you please nominate the store that was visited by who ever,

Regards

Wayne Roberts.


Emily 6 years ago

I don't see anything on their website that says that 'over 90% of our ice creams are gluten FREE'?!?! They are gluten 'friendly' which means that the products may have come into contact with gluten. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT AND DON'T POST MISLEADING INFORMATION!


infonolan profile image

infonolan 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks, Emily. I have just updated this article.


moonbun profile image

moonbun 5 years ago from London

Great that something has been done about this. I hadn't (thankfully) come across the term gluten friendly until reading this. How is anything gluten friendly good for a coeliac? Whoever came up with that term needs to do some research.

Keep up the good work!


bookerboy profile image

bookerboy 4 years ago from Ireland

Heya - Im a fellow coeliac - and love your zeal! Its terrible the way theyd exploit an actual disease for profit - but then not care as to whether they were causing any harm or not!

Go you! :)

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