False 'allergen free' labelling on Frito Lay products
About Frito Lay
Frito Lay is a mainstream snack food company based in North America. They sell a large variety of products including potato chips, corn chips, grain chips, and more. Their comprehensive product range consists of products described on the Frito Lay website as being free of gluten and particular allergens. These include products not containing porcine enzymes, additives, lactose/milk, MSG, and soy along with a whole lot more. This is great for individuals like myself with a gluten intolerance and fructose malabsorption problem as they even list products that are free of onion in the U.S. product range. They also have lists of products that are Kosher certified plus a whole lot more.
Potato Chips FOR SALE
Fear of False Advertising
Curiously I browsed their pages to see what products are onion free as well as gluten free and I was surprised to find such a large range of products that could potentially be suitable for my diet. I even checked the ingredient lists on their product description pages to confirm this to be the case. And yes, there certainly is a great range of snack foods designed for many individuals following certain diets over in the U.S. and Canada. Far more than in Australia (just goes to prove how lazy our Smith's Snackfood Company is here in Australia!!)
It was interesting to note the lists they had of products 'not containing' certain allergens. However, I grew very wary that some marketing ploy may be occurring here. I carefully observed the pages for disclaimers and found a statement on their 'gluten free' product page that made my heart sink.
Some people suffer from an intolerance to foods containing gluten, which is a type of protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Neither wheat, rye, barley or oat ingredients are found in the Frito-Lay Products listed below (we include oats in this list as a precaution as oats are often commingled with gluten-containing grains). Please note however, that other than our LAY'S® STAX® Crisps, which are made on gluten-free lines, some of the products listed below may be manufactured on the same lines as products that contain gluten. Although our lines are washed between batches, it is possible for a slight residue to remain on the lines. In addition, the ingredients in these products may have come into contact with gluten-containing products prior to manufacturing. Individuals who are sensitive to gluten should take these factors into consideration in consuming these products.
I found similar disclaimers with regard to other allergens as well including milk, soy, egg and more! They claim their products to be free from allergens on their snacks and product description pages, yet they cannot fully guarantee their products to be free of these allergens.
It's so sad to see such businesses and companies undermining the severity of coeliac disease and common food allergies and intolerances; so much to the extent that they decide to exploit their niche markets to the general public for the sake of profit.
Now, had I been in the U.S. or Canada, and just picked up one of these products and read the ingredients I would assume many of these products are indeed safe for my diet. No warnings about products being manufactured on the same lines are portrayed here at all and I think it absolutely stinks that companies like this simply see us as a chunk out of the market to satisfy. I could have, quite potentially, made myself VERY sick from these products.
It takes 3 weeks for a typical coeliac disease affected individual's gut to heal. 3 WEEKS!!! And for WHAT?! All because of a product that SHOULD have been gluten free was contaminated from gluten!
My solution is simple. At least get rid of those "... free" terms and replace them with "no additional ..." because in some parts of the world, even though this may not be the case in the U.S. or Canada, this form of product labelling (or lack of it!) is prohibited and illegal. Australia is particularly strict about this and this sort of marketing would NOT be acceptable.
Leave your views here and bring more knowledge to this hub, as I am not fully familiar about the background in this, having come from Oz, but think it is very misleading advertising to promote products as such on their website yet attach a disclaimer as such!