Happy “Gluten Free” Easter 2014

I said it last year and I’ll say it again….chocolate just tastes better in Easter Egg form!

There’s nothing better than experiencing peppermint Easter egg overload!

Its time again to give you some tips to really enjoy a gluten free Easter. Thankfully these days a lot of chocolate is gluten free. However, there are some chocolate products which are not.  By letting others know about some of the pitfalls we hope this will guarantee a safe and enjoyable Easter for everyone.

We still find one of the most common gluten free misconceptions is the ingredient wheat glucose syrup. Only a few years ago, wheat glucose syrup was excluded from gluten free diets. Further research into the processing of wheat glucose syrup has shown that it is actually gluten free. This also applies to colours including those with (wheat) in the ingredient list e.g. caramel colour (wheat).

This means there are now many food products that are safe for those following a gluten free diet. A useful tip when reading ingredient labels is that things ending in ‘ose’ such as glucose syrup, dextrose and glucose are safe and things ending in ‘arch’ (and derived from gluten sources) such as wheat starch are unsafe.

Coeliac Australia says a “Gluten Free” statement on a product label overrides the ingredient listing and is safe to eat  http://www.coeliac.org.au/ .  I have challenged a few products in my time based on my own suspicions of the ingredients listed or whether I’ve experienced a reaction so I will still always double check the ingredient list.  To make things easier, most labels now bold or underline allergens.

There are so many choices on the shelves this year. Several companies are now labelling their chocolate products ‘gluten free’.  However, if you’re okay with a ‘may contain’ statement you don’t need to buy chocolate products with a ‘gluten free’ label.  The tips below will help you when deciding what chocolate products to buy:

  1. Check all labels even if the product was previously safe in case the ingredients have changed.
  2. Wheat Glucose Syrup is safe for gluten free diets.
  3. The most common unsafe ingredients are Barley Malt Extract e.g. Lindt Milk, Mini Crunchie Eggs and Malteser eggs and Thickener 1400-1450 (wheat).  Other more obvious unsafe sources include biscuit crumbs and wheat semolina.

Those preferring a 100% gluten free certified Easter goodies can visit speciality stores such as Go Vita stores, Mrs Flannery’s Health Foods stores and online stores such as www.aussiehealthproducts.com.au , http://www.absolutelyglutenfree.com.au and  www.glutenfreeshop.com.au.  Make sure you allow enough time for postage to get the eggs in time!

Think about your Easter entertaining now. If you’re travelling don’t forget gluten free snacks and your emergency kit. If you’re visiting family or friends for celebration meals don’t forget to:

  1. Advise them of your needs in advance.
  2. Offer to bring parts of the meal you know will be hard for them to cater.
  3. Pack some back-up gluten free snacks in the event they accidently forget and add normal flour to the Easter cake!

If it all seems a bit much then luckily Coeliac NSW/ACT have been hard at work and hopefully tasting to create a list of safe and unsafe Easter eggs for 2014.  Check out the list here: http://bit.ly/1dPl94D

Hoppy Easter

Melinda

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