Friday, 15 February 2013

Supermarket scandal- how to go from horse to allergy food

Nobody who has seen the news this week can fail to be anything but shocked by the horsemeat scandal, but this is an amazing opportunity for supermarkets to clean up their acts and sort out their production. This could be an excellent time to start thinking about how allergens enter the food chain. If you have allergies and are signed up to the Anaphylaxis networks emailalerts for anytime an allergen enters food chains unexpectedly will know how much worry this can give people, but also on a daily basis howfrustrating the supermarket shop is for people with allergies. A simple restructure could suddenly mean I could again eat certain crisps or cereals, or M&S samosas or some ready meals. Sometimes I wonder how close a nut may have ever come to the foods labelled "may contain nuts". An overhaul is needed. There has never been a better time.

Good stockists for allergies!!

Now as someone with a nut allergy, Tesco's allergy info is confusing and often leaves me wondering whether or not I should actually be eating something. Sainsbury's is better, and has a big allergy section- I stock up on Doves Farm flours, own brand chocolate especially the crispie bars (I'm an addict, mostly because of years of intermittent chocolate availability- really it sounds pithy, but I genuinely may need a 10 step program with assurances that no one will know my real name),  also their own brand pasta is good but avoid if on Weight Watchers as it is high points, and they sell this great powder which makes cheese sauce for lasagne etc. But if you have a nut allergy avoid any condiments which have a Tiger brand name as it has a nut warning on. Ridiculous to put in a "FreeFrom" section but thats just me. The baked goods always look good, but I can't comment on taste as I am allergic to egg and they all have it in. A couple of years ago Sainsburys made an excellent "Be Good To Yourself" christmas pudding which just happened to be free from everything bar wheat and was lovely and every year I hope they bring them back. My mum makes great puddings but we only get one, Sainsburys sold these mini ones and it was such a treat! Anyway, Asda is a bit cheaper and again, good if you don't have a nut allergy. They sell gluten free flour in a bigger bag, and lots of cool little bits, just no good for me.

My food champion used to be M&S! How I loved them and told all of my friends, and gushed as I walked around their food aisles, but the years moved on, and clearly so did their need to cut costs as suddenly last year I could no longer their crisps as they had warnings along the lines of "not suitable for NUT, SOYA, EGG and MILK allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods". Well thank you M&S! I dread the "New and improved recipe" labels as this always means they've added milk, or M&S's own blue "allergy update" stickers- these rarely go in my favour. But, and its a big BUT, M&S is still one of the few places I can eat a ready made chinese (God, I love their duck), or get a samosa for lunch (sandwiches are always out due to the mayo obsession, oh and my lettuce allergy), when I go to my elderly granddads house who cannot cook and has carers I can have an M&S Thai Green Curry and you have no idea (well if you're reading this blog, you probably do!!) how amazing that feels. Waitrose is ok but has a lot of nut warnings on silly stuff. CO-op is riddled with allergy warnings so I buyveg and brands but nothing else.

Hope this helps!