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Pure Gelato? I wouldn't call it "PURE", let alone "GLUTEN FREE"!!!

Updated on August 21, 2010

False "Gluten Free" claims on Pure Gelato Ice Cream

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Pure Gelato is an Australian ice cream food service supply company servicing many various food outlets and cafes within Australia. It has received many awards for its taste and peoples' experiences. Many of their ice cream flavours are classified as 'gluten free' as well. Some are even dairy free. They offer a vast variety of flavours and, although not the best tasting in the world, their qualities certainly outdo any of those in our local supermarkets.

[Recently, when heading down to the shops during my holidays, I came across across this unique cafe. They sold a large variety of coffees, teas, desserts, cakes and lunches, some of which were marked on the menu as being gluten free. I was impressed at the effort they had gone to offering such a variety of meal options. I then looked in the ice cream cupboard and saw that many of these ice creams were also marked as being 'gluten free'. They, of course, were some made by 'Pure Gelato'. I checked out some of the flavours, aware that since they don't keep individual scoops in each ice cream container (i.e. use the same scoop in all their ice creams), they may contain traces of gluten. Having had 'coeliac disease' for many years I was very aware of this possibility. Then I looked at the bottom of one of their flavour cards. Clearly, and blatantly, there was a 'GLUTEN FREE' claim referring to particular ice cream flavours (these were Pure Gelato cards, not those from the Cafe, so Pure Gelato are just as much at fault as the cafe!)].

To my disappointment, I noted another misuse of the 'gluten free' term.

For an item to be declared as 'gluten free', it MUST be 100% gluten free! You cannot claim a food item to be gluten free if it may contain any trace of gluten! YOU CAN'T!

Look carefully at AUSTRALIA'S LABELLING LAWS! CAREFULLY:

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.

What part of the above do these food companies and service outlets NOT UNDERSTAND? Let me know, and I'd be more than happy to discuss it with you.

If you have a food allergy, severe intolerance, or condition similar to that of Coeliac Disease, then DON'T (for goodness sake) eat their ice cream. Their food service buyers clearly can't be trusted. AT ALL! Even if you don't notice any symptomatic signs of discomfort, be aware that you could still be doing long-term internal damage to yourselves!

And to you, PURE GELATO!, I think your research with regard to gluten free labelling was lacking and flawed and for you to be darting the 'gluten free' term in everyone's faces when it is clear that the flavours my not be completely gluten free absolutely disgusts me. It is SICK!!

"GET RID OF YOUR SILLY GLUTEN FREE PROMOTIONAL TAG UNLESS YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY 100% GUARANTEE YOUR ICE CREAM FLAVOURS TO BE 100% GUARANTEED GLUTEN FREE!"

"If you're keen on promoting your gelati as 'gluten free' make sure that your buyers are FULLY and COMPLETELY aware of cross-contamination concerns and AT LEAST demand that they use separate scoops in their ice cream."

Phew!

They can have their rewards, for their so-called 'excellent' ice cream in Australia, for having so many gluten free options, for having it all as far as I'm concerned. As long as it's true. In this case, it ISN'T! They are not complying with the law with regard to gluten free labelling at all! Even though it may be 100% gluten free after leaving the factory, THAT is bound to change as soon as the first 'contaminated' scoop goes into a gluten free flavour that has already been contaminated by other flavours.

In this case I would seriously advise omitting the 'gluten free' label on your ice cream tags as it is misleading advertising to claim something as 'gluten free' no matter how little gluten YOU think might be present in the final product!

We, as coeliac/food-allergic consumers should be confident that, when a food item is labelled as being 'free from....' or '.... free', it actually is guaranteed to not contain any fraction (no matter how minuscule whether due to contamination or what!) of that reactive food! SIMPLE! Either that or make all your ice creams gluten free.

Leave your views on this topic, as businesses need to acknowledge consumers' needs and not just be focussed on the amount of money they can make, because I can tell you that money won't come if consumer needs aren't met!

Acceptable

Each ice cream has its own dedicated scoop. Risk of cross-contamination is significantly reduced and better hygiene methods have been practiced.  Greater Purity!
Each ice cream has its own dedicated scoop. Risk of cross-contamination is significantly reduced and better hygiene methods have been practiced. Greater Purity!

Unacceptable

"Where is the scoop? Sitting in a water tray, I suppose, contaminated with all other matter from various ice cream flavours!" Cross-contamination is highly evident here! If any particular flavour is not gluten free, you CANNOT claim 'gluten free'.
"Where is the scoop? Sitting in a water tray, I suppose, contaminated with all other matter from various ice cream flavours!" Cross-contamination is highly evident here! If any particular flavour is not gluten free, you CANNOT claim 'gluten free'.

Discussion

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    • infonolan profile image
      Author

      infonolan 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for your comment Bob P.

      I agree entirely. Thankfully we have some of the most stringent gluten free labelling standards in the world. But like you say - they're still not enough. I guess it would be difficult to define "NO GLUTEN", however - at least for the time being...

    • profile image

      Bob P. 6 years ago

      The bigest problem is that Australian requirement that allows "NO DETECTABLE GLUTEN" to carry the "GLUTEN FREE" Tag. This is not good enough as many Coeliacs cannot tolerate ANY Gluten. "Gluten Free" Must mean just that: NO GLUTEN!! Our Labelling Laws are far too slack.

    • infonolan profile image
      Author

      infonolan 7 years ago from Australia

      Anonymous - It is not the fault of the cafe, as they had been following the guidelines of their supplier - this is of concern at many cafes I have been to (though I did mention that this was of concern to the cafe manager, who informed me that I should contact Pure Gelato regarding the matter).

      In Australia, food laws do not differ between food establishments and food manufacturing practices.

      As for something safe to eat, most ice cream is already safe to eat on a gluten free diet anyhow - why does the manufacturer even need to promote it as such? Particularly when the food service outlet has control over the matter.

      Or, perhaps I could have just assumed that the gluten free labelling laws were being followed and made myself very sick instead.

      Also, with regard to contacting companies - never did I receive any direct response regarding my concern, hence the reason for publishing and advertising this particular post.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 7 years ago

      Why don't you contact the companies with your concerns instead of just attacking them on the internet? They may simply be unaware of the need to use a separate scoop to avoid cross-contamination. And are you sure that laws about food labeling also apply to restaurants? In many countries, they do not. It's disappointing to see that so many of your posts are attacks on companies that are trying to work with those of us with coeliac disease. I've found that simply explaining my concerns works much better than accusing people of breaking the law and trying to hurt me. These people are trying to help us find something safe to eat. If you had asked to talk to the manager of the cafe and explained that you appreciated the effort, but that they had cross-contaminated the gluten-free ice creams, you may have made a lasting change in that cafe. You should at least contact companies and try to resolve your concerns that way before posting attacks on your blog here and advertising them all over facebook.

    • infonolan profile image
      Author

      infonolan 7 years ago from Australia

      joe, unfortunately yes some of the ice creams do contain gluten (cookies and cream in particular plus some others which use wheat glucose syrup as a flavouring agent)! Which really isn't a problem, if they know how to prevent cross-contamination from occurring.

      In this case, it's pretty obvious they don't.

      By law, in Australia, you cannot call something gluten free if it isn't free of detectable gluten. If a product is cross-contaminated it will contain detectable gluten. SIMPLE!

    • profile image

      joe attaboy 7 years ago

      They use *gluten* in the ice creams down there? Jeez, I made ice cream in NY for nine years as a kid...that may be the worst thing I've ever heard.

      Now I'm having second thought about visiting Oz. ;-)

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