Gluten-free crisps are a thing. Most supermarkets stock them and people who avoid gluten for medical reasons (namely, sufferers of Coeliac disease) or dietary reasons (those cutting down on wheat and gluten) will instantly reach for a packet of the comforting snacks especially if they have ‘gluten-free’ on the bag. As your writer did on holiday. But then I thought: hang about, aren’t crisps made from potatoes? Why on earth would a product that is made from potatoes, oil and salt – all naturally gluten-free ingredients – herald its gluten-freeness? Is it simply a marketing gimmick?
Planetfem spoke to the Coeliac UK, a society dedicated to providing help, guidance and information to those suffering from the painful and serious condition. Apparently, around 1% of UK citizens suffer from the condition and there is now legislation to help regulate the food industry and to help sufferers identify food better in order to maintain an often serious medical condition which can lead to osteoporosis, fertility problems, bloating, pain and nausea.
According to Coeliac UK, foods that have 20 ppm or less can be labelled as ‘gluten-free’. The term can be used on specialist substitute gluten-free products like breads, flours and crackers, which may contain gluten-free (Codex) wheat starch, as well as processed foods that are naturally gluten-free like soups, baked beans and crisps. The ‘gluten-free’ label may also be used for uncontaminated oat products.
So, while potatoes and potato products are naturally wheat-free, additives such as flavourings, colourings and additional ingredients can cause the products to not be. Also, as Walkers Crisps recently announced, the popular brand are no longer suitable for coeliacs, as they now state they’re made in a factory that contains wheat, gluten etc!
So, for sufferers or dieters – unless you’re partial to plain crisps, or your crisps specifically mention their gluten-freeness, bear in mind they could contain traces.
photo credit: Infolan. Hubpages