Now this is not a rant, I’m taking full blame for this latest ‘wheating’, but things went a bit wrong in the what allergy household when husband-who-was-trying-to-help offered to cook me some supper after I had just returned from doing the Waddesdon 5k run in sweltering heat one evening last week.
The run was great fun by the way, hard work, over half UP hill. I won’t tell you my time (slow) or where I came in the race (near the back), but I didn’t finish last and I didn’t walk so am very proud.
So back to the burgers. I’m confused myself sometimes. I do buy gluten free burgers from M&S which we both enjoy. But I also buy burgers from Aldi which the husband can enjoy which are much cheaper but in surprisingly similar packaging. This makes me think of the Aldi advert, I like these ones, but I also like these ones… but I digress.
I was tired. It was late. Mr What Allergy checked the packaging and asked me if I’d like the remaining burger, to which I replied, “Oh yes please.” So there was my mistake. I knew, if I’d had my mind on sensible operating mode, that these were Aldi burgers which I don’t normally eat due to my wheat allergy.
Now firstly, to put your minds at rest, my wheat allergy is not severe. It’s very mild and doesn’t result in any of my normal anaphylactic or skin eczema reactions so we probably don’t take it so seriously, certainly I don’t. Though the consequences are painful and uncomfortable (I won’t go into details) they are not frightening or life threatening. So don’t worry. I was fine but you can tell what’s coming next.
I ate the burger, which was delicious by the way. Cooked to perfection and good quality meat, lovely and juicy and thick… but then I felt the familiar cramping begin. My stomach was churning and swelling. You don’t need the details but it wasn’t a pleasant night after that. All is well now and I think I’m finally back to normal. The lesson here is, that even when you check labels thoroughly there will be times when you are exhausted. Your family and you may get confused because you can eat that brand but not that brand and you buy both for whatever reason… it gets complicated.
And when the bit with the vital information is stuck over a ridged bit in the plastic moulded packaging and gets split, crumpled, wet and begins to degrade it’s very, very hard to check for allergens. I know, I know, you check in the shop and I did. This was never meant for me. There was a nice piece of steak in the fridge for me but, well, the burger was easier, I was flaked out and not thinking and I really wanted that burger (minus bun of course).
Can you see wheat flour in the above label? No you can’t, because it’s right under all that damage.
This is where our old faithful the Contains: ‘allergen list’ would have come in very handy; two chances to spot the allergen. Instead of just saying, for allergens see ingredients in bold, which I can still just about read. I can’t help thinking that we’ve gone back a step with the new labelling.
It seems just stupidness that the packaging would contain probably far fewer words, thus giving us short sighted allergics two chances of spotting the allergen e.g.
What WAS on the label here:
ALLERGY ADVICE: For allergens including cereals containing gluten see ingredients in bold
What could have been on the label here:
Allergy Advice: Contains Wheat
But hey ho. This is the law, this is where we are right now.
Am I the only person who has this problem? Anyone find labels fight back and sneak in allergens when you’re guard is down? Coeliacs out there? Do you allow gluten containing products into your house or go totally gluten free? I don’t feel I can make my husband cut out wheat (as well as all my other allergens: all nuts, all dairy, soya, tomatoes, soya and celery…) so with careful planning, safety measures and copious care we usually get it right. I do often end up cooking two meals instead of one which is frustrating… but I think my diet is limiting so not healthy to force onto others.
On Monday night, to set the balance straight, we had lovely M&S wheat and gluten free burgers for tea. Sans gluten and just as delicious ;o)