Thursday, 29 May 2014

Why we're lovin' McDonald's... at Disneyland Paris

If you want to know the secret of our survival at Disneyland Paris, it's this: McDonald'sWell... partly anyway.

It's a whopper! No, sorry that's Burger King! Must be a Big Mac ;)

Why? Because it was cheap, and reliable(ish), you know what you're getting and... well, we were on holiday!!

Oops! Now I know I've probably alienated half of you already - especially you healthy eaters, but there wasn't exactly much choice! When it comes down to a choice of McDonald's or starve, I know which one I'd rather choose!

OK, OK, that's perhaps overdoing it a little, but the thing is, this:

Disneyland Paris bills itself as a land of magic and dreams come true, but when it comes to dairy and gluten free cuisine, despite being situated in a country famous for it's culinary delights (think brioche, croissants, moules marinere, creme brulee etc. etc.) it just doesn't match up for folks with allergies! 

Land of Dreams?

There are, it is true, any number of places to eat at Disneyworld Paris, and we by no means explored them all. However, we soon learned enough to put me off too much experimentation. It just became too exhausting!! You may have already read the post about breakfast. I have yet to describe our experiences of dinner... 

When The Hub suggested going to McDonald's for the first lunch of our holiday, I thought, 'Why not? It's only one day after all. I expect we'll find somewhere else to try tomorrow...'

Long before we left for Paris, The Hub had already checked out the allergy menu for Disneyland Paris McDonald's, online. 

He had been excited to discover that not only could 'Baby' have her 'usual' Fish Finger Happy Meal, that she has every time we visit McDonald's in the UK (although in France it was more like a 'Filet o' Fish' without the sauce), but also the Chicken Nuggets, which are most definitely NOT listed as dairy free in the UK! 


Funny that - how McDonald's can provide something dairy free in one country but not in another!

'Baby's' lunch.

Also, we discovered, in France, you can get a packet of fruit (apples and grapes) as an extra side for no extra cost - you'd pay for that in the UK (except, for some strange reason, on the first Friday in a month). Knowing that otherwise 'Baby' might not be getting much of her 'five-a-day,' that was quite reassuring - to know she was a getting a portion of something, somewhere along the line! Thankfully, she likes apple.

Unfortunately, there was not much sign of anything gluten free, for me - I was hoping for the gluten free burger buns that you can apparently get in Sweden (so I've heard), but no!

So I was left with my 'usual' - fries and salad - which came with a nice little pot of dressing!

Pour Moi!

It wasn't terribly exciting for me, I must admit, but 'Baby' loved her Happy Meals! As it was her holiday and she was denied treats that other kids could have (like ice cream), I'm afraid my wish to compensate for this overrode any other consideration.  

Unable to read the menu, 'Baby' was blissfully unaware that other kids were having McFlurries or donuts or Big Macs with cheese etc. 

Eating her McDonald's gave 'Baby' the chance both to feel and be 'normal'.

Priceless that!

Some practical points:

1. Check out the menu online before you go - just to make sure it hasn't changed. In the UK, you can also check online, but it's a bit unwieldy - you have to check each item individually. It's easier to go in and ask to see the allergy menu, which should be printed on the reverse of your tray liner  - yes really!!

The French online version is much easier to follow than the English - as long as you can read French!

2. It's not situated in the most obvious place - Disneyland Paris McDonald's is tucked away in a corner behind The Rainforest Cafe, towards the lake end of the Disney Village - almost as though they're slightly ashamed of it. That doesn't stop plenty of people finding it, though!

3. It gets very busy, so go as early as you can to avoid little kids having to wait too long for their food, and also to avoid running out of what you want - the salad was all gone by mid-afternoon on our last day.

4. The Hub found that the best thing was to use one of the quick self-ordering points. You have to pay by card, but it was easier to work out what was what.

Now I should perhaps add, at this point, that I have since been warned that last year there was some controversy regarding McDonald's and cross-contamination - apparently due to using the same oil for different products. I had not heard of this before and cannot say that I have ever found this to be a problem for us - either here in the UK, or abroad in Paris.

To avoid cross-contamination at the table, I wiped it carefully, with my usual pack of wipes, and then laid a couple of serviettes under our food, for extra measure. That seemed to do the trick!!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I said, 'What about Breakfast at... Disney?'

A little background...

There are various ways to 'do' Disneyland Paris. You can stay completely outside of the Disney Resort, and be completely independent; you can stay in a Disney 'Partner' hotel, or you can stay in one of the Disney Resort Hotels. 

Having heard reports that Disney could cater for those with food allergies, The Hub suggested that we try one of the resort hotels - in order to save time as much as anything. The Hub, being self-employed (every day he takes off work for holiday he is basically losing money - so each day costs him twice over), was prepared to spend the extra - so we could make the most of our short time there. 

Big gulp! 

I agreed, but must admit to feeling some trepidation about putting our food fate in the hands of unknown others!   

The four star hotel we chose, New York, was about as close to the Disney Village and Parks as you could get. The only hotel closer to the attractions was the five star Disneyland Hotel - which is basically built right over the entrance to Disney Park. 

Our deal included half board: breakfast (eaten in the hotel) and vouchers for dinner that could be redeemed in resort restaurants/hotels, as well as a voucher for a refreshment break. This could, apparently, be exchanged at a number of venues within the parks, for a hot or cold drink and cake.

Now you might think that paying extra entitles you to a better quality of food, but it would appear not!

Back to Breakfast...

Mickey Mouse place mats! 

You are expected to book a time for breakfast! No rockin' up at whatever time you choose! You have to tell them at check-in. We opted for an early-ish hour, just before it was due to get busy - that way we thought we'd get more choice.

It was nice and fairly empty, at the time we chose...


If you have an allergy, you need to mention it to the staff who seat you. You then get presented with this - every morning!

A basket of Free From

A basket of Valpi Form products. That's it!

Everyone else gets buffet tables loaded with all sorts of stuff to choose from.

Put quite simply, Disneyland Paris Resort Hotels do not negotiate over food with anyone. If you have an allergy, or are coeliac, Valpi Form is all they're prepared to give you for breakfast. It stays in it's packets and you help yourself - presumably to reduce the chances of cross-contamination. 

That's great if you have multiple allergies, and are anaphylactic, as you know exactly what you are getting, but then you've got to hope that the last person to handle the packets had clean hands too - that weren't smothered in your allergens!

I mean, someone else with no milk allergy might have handled the boxes with buttery fingers - you just have no idea.

However, if you have just one allergy or are OK with 'may contain traces' you might wish for a bit more flexibility. When you compare this experience with our breakfast at Beefeaters in England (read about it here), you might feel a bit hard done by! 

What's in the basket...

1. One serving (two slices) of gluten free and milk free bread (wrapped). This appears to be soya free, but doesn't state anywhere that it is. Also it is made without egg but may contain traces of egg. No mention of nuts!

See the English Ingredients label?

This bread was quite hearty. It was quite moist, not too crumbly and not at all holey (unlike some gluten free breads I could mention). I liked it.

It was a good job that I liked it, as I had to eat it as it was - the toaster on the buffet table was (inevitably) used by anyone and everyone.

The other problem was that there was no margarine provided in the basket. There were individual sunflower margarine servings on the buffet tables, but there were no ingredients labels on them. So, The Hub Googled them. 

The only information The Hub could find online was for larger tubs of sunflower margarine by the same firm, which did contain milk. Now, sometimes products of different sizes/packaging contain different ingredients and these could have been okay, but because we couldn't tell, we just stuck to straight jam or honey on our toast (you could check the ingredients list of these, because they were on the side of each jar)! 

2. One box of Crac Form (the name made me laugh) which is a bit like Crackerwheat crackers. You can clearly see what it's free of on the front: 

Love the free from labelling on the front!

I must admit, this stuff doesn't float my boat - it's not at all filling and feels like you're eating some form of polystyrene!! However, if you're egg free, well, there's not much else you can have!! It came in two large packs inside the box - so basically, if you weren't the first person opening the packet (and you wouldn't want a whole one) you ran the risk of other people having handled it.

3. One box of Chocolate Chip Cakes (individually packed, within the box).

Individually wrapped

These were gluten, dairy, soya and peanut free, but not much good if you can't have egg!! They were quite nice as free from cakes go - they were soft and not dry or crumbly. Not my usual breakfast fare, but... needs must!

4. One box of Marble Cake (individually packed, within the box). These seemed quite popular, but were basically the same as the chocolate chip cake, without the chips!

5. One box of Chocolate Chip Cookies (in packs of three, within the box).

Not much translation skill required here :)

These tasted like standard chocolate chip cookies, so were quite acceptable, but... I wouldn't have biscuits for breakfast. However, when there's not much choice...

The ingredients. Bit blurry, I'm afraid!

so what can you do??

These were gluten, milk, soya and peanut free. No mention of egg in the ingredients, but no indication why not.

5. One box of Shortbread Biscuits (in smaller packs of about three or four, within the box).

Sorry, not the best shot!

The packet just said 'gluten free' and 'lactose free' but there was no other mention of milk or indeed of soya, so we took a risk and both 'Baby' and I seemed fine with them. They did actually taste quite nice.

Taking a chance...

However, not entirely satisfied with what was on offer, and being less risk adverse than myself, when it comes to feeding 'Baby,' The Hub sourced some bacon and fried potatoes for her, from the buffet table. I wasn't exactly happy with this, but it happened whilst my attention was elsewhere and she was happily tucking in, before I realised what was happening!

From time to time The Hub does this - uses his own man logic. To him, it's logical that bacon is cooked in fat. He is not so aware as I am, dealing with 'Baby' day-to-day of cross-contamination issues, although I do try to 'educate' him. 'Baby' is very sensitive to traces of milk, but not anaphylactic, so it's never fatal, but it's still unpleasant for her. Sometimes it pays off, but there are other times when it doesn't. 

Risks taken and survived (on this occasion), I risked the bacon (visual inspection revealed that they were served in big metal trays, in which they may well have been cooked, with nothing drippy served either side), but not the fried potatoes, as processed potatoes (which these clearly were) are often coated in wheat flour of some kind to make them crispy. Having no idea if this was the case, I steered well clear!

'Baby' loves her bacon!

'Baby' didn't come to any harm from eating either these or the honey-coated cereal, that was also available from the buffet table. Although, I must admit, The Hub did Google the cereal ingredients first! These were served from large plastic dispensers.

'Baby' eats her cereal dry!

'Baby' often eats her cereal dry, although there was actually no need for her to do so, as soya milk is available, on request,  from the hotel. We, in fact, brought our own milk for 'Baby' as she is extremely fussy. Being long-life, it was OK to pack, and once open, was stored in the fridge at hotel reception!!

It turns out you can store stuff there as long as you package it appropriately (we tied 'Baby's' milk inside a plastic bag, and wrote our name all over it). You also have to sign a form to say that you are leaving it there at your own risk (there was a small fridge in the hotel room, but it was stuffed full of hotel refreshments, so we didn't use that).

There were a few other items on the buffet table that we helped ourselves to - fruit and drinks. However, the coffee needs a mention!

Pour moi!

I don't know about you, I NEED coffee in the morning - first thing! 

But... this coffee was served from a machine - the kind that also dispenses coffee with milk, or hot chocolate!! Not to be recommended for those with milk allergies, or who are breastfeeding an infant with milk allergy, then!!

You could however have bottled water or fruit juice.

Good job we passed Starbucks on our way to the Parks each day, then!!

Some reflections...

If you're gluten free, you'll be fine with a Euro Disney breakfast. It may not be what you're used to, but you won't starve. You'll also be fine if you're dairy free and okay with soya. Beyond that, you may want to bring your own bread/muesli/dairy free milk/whatever. 

I took some Genius dairy, gluten and soya free brioche in my luggage, and some almond milk for me, but it wasn't necessary - there was bread and cake for me and as I couldn't eat any cereal and usually drink my coffee black, the almond milk was useless.

All in all, although I know the restaurant staff are probably fairly low paid and possibly low-skilled in terms of food preparation, I can't help wishing that the hotel was more flexible in terms of catering for food allergies. It shouldn't be that hard to make sure that bacon or fried egg was gluten, dairy and soya free, at the very least!! And as for the coffee... pfft!!

If I'd known how generally inflexible and ill-informed the staff at Disney were, I'd have taken 'Baby' some bread rolls from good old Angleterre, as by the end of the week, my lil' wheat eater was begging for bread. Although bread in the UK is generally milk free, I had no idea about French bread, so wasn't giving in to her desperate pleas. Who'd have thought that something so simple as bread would have been such a sticking point?? It's hard when they're little and don't understand. I'm just glad she didn't have any non-allergenic siblings, to make her jealous!!

My conclusion is: Beefeater definitely did it better - for us, anyway!!

Related Post: 

Travelling Eurostar with the Dairy Free Baby and Me

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Travelling Eurostar with the Dairy Free Baby and Me!

Once the holiday at Euro Disney, or Disneyworld Paris was booked, the next step was deciding how to get there.

'Til now, all our holidays since 'Baby' (bar one) have been in the UK - so we can travel by car. Our only journey abroad with her had also been by car. The two day trek through France is still etched quite firmly on our memory. Of course she's older now, but... the scars remain!!

The advantage of travelling by car is that you can take as much as you can fit into your car (ours is a people carrier, I love the space) and have flexibility to go where you want, whenever you want once you reach your destination. So if you need to source free from food, from somewhere, you can. I love the sense of security that gives me! 

See, I like taking EVERYTHING I can!


'Let's go by train,' suggested The Hub. 

'Eeeeeek!' I thought. Let go of my security blanket?? 

'What if we need to find 'safe' food??' was my primary consideration. But also, I'm not the lightest of packers - I always feel the need to pack for every eventuality... 

Yet... I was strangely allured by the adventure... and attracted by the speed - I knew a drive would take much longer and would leave The Hub more tired.

We did also discuss flying, but decided that it would be no quicker that the train, once you allowed for hanging around in airports - where (if flights were delayed) we could be left wondering where we were going to get supplies of 'safe' food from!

Still, I was concerned about the food situation on board the train!

Living in the South of the UK, we could have taken the Eurostar from St. Pancras in London, or Ebbsfleet. However, we discounted that, on the basis that travelling through London might take a fair bit of time in itself. 

Instead we plumped for Ashford, in Kent, from whence it would take a mere two hours to get to Disneyworld Paris. This meant less food to worry about! As the train left at 11.00 am English time. 12.00/12.30 pm being 'Baby's usual lunch time, we just needed to think about lunch.

LOVE the Disney theming at Ashford station!

And there's more!

We did enquire about food on board the Eurostar. If you travel Premier class, food is included and you can book special diets. See here

They do Vegan, dairy free or gluten free, or a child's meal, but nothing that combines more than one option, so we soon decided against paying the extra - I needed a combination of gluten and dairy free, at the very least, and there was no mention of dairy free children's meals (we have the same problem with travelling by plane)! Other than that, the food in the buffet car was basically Waitrose snacks and sandwiches - nothing notably dairy and gluten free. 

That meant taking a packed lunch.


The outward bound journey

As I mentioned in our previous post, we stayed overnight at Premier Inn, and breakfasted at the Beefeater next door, to avoid missing the train due to any mishaps. Therefore, we were able to take our electric cool box to the hotel, buy provisions from the nearby Sainsbury's (after we'd checked in) and keep it overnight, ready for the next day.

Just look at all the Free From in the Sainsbury's at Ashford!

The cool box was too heavy to lug along with all our luggage, so the next day it had to stay in the car in the long stay car park (I have seen smaller ones online, but they come with mixed reviews, so we decided not to risk it). I took just an ice pack, for our lunch, that I'd been keeping cool in the ice box (OK it wasn't frozen by morning, but still quite cold). The Hub dropped us at the station with all our stuff. Only this time, rather than a boot full, we just had one trolley of luggage! You may like travelling light, but for me, this was a real departure! 

Look! The trolley even took the pushchair!

There is some food and drink to be had at Ashford station - both before and after you check in. We didn't explore it much, but it looked pretty much standard fare, for a station, so probably not up to catering for us. We did buy a banana though!

One thing I really liked about Ashford was the toys for little ones at the station. There wasn't much, but being new to her, they kept 'Baby' amused until it was time to board the train. 

Let's play!

The toilet facilities were pretty good too! Though no photos of those, you understand! :)

Just a little warning - boarding was quite frantic. It was literally chuck your stuff on and hope to reorganise it once you were all on board as the train left pretty pronto - two minutes before time, in fact!

Once on board, as we'd booked seat in a family area, it meant that 'Baby' made friends. The family area allowed the children to spread themselves out a little bit, and make some noise without disturbing others. This certainly helped the time to pass for the children and gave us a chance to chat too! Also, in these seats, we were near the loos!

Lunch was simple. 'Baby' had Sainsbury's ham between slices of Sainsbury's bread.

'Baby' likes open sandwiches best.

I plumped for some beetroot falalfel, which I bought the day before. Ironically they were from Waitrose - just like the food on board! These were accompanied by Warburton's gluten free bread and some salad.

They looked a bit strange but tasted alright!

Fortunately, I also had a supply of our Anzac cookies - great in a situation like this, 'cos they're quite filling! In fact, as it turned out, they came in handy throughout our time at Disney!

The return journey

The return journey was at 6 pm in Paris (5 pm English time). So around tea time.

There are no supermarkets or convenience stores at the Disneyworld end of this journey - only restaurants, gift shops and sweet shops. So, you cannot expect to buy food there. Our return journey was only accomplished with the help of Ronald Mac Donald. 

I kid you not! 

Unfortunately, we had to rely on Mac Donald's quite a lot, but at least we could!

In fact, the station at the Paris end is much more basic than the English end, and check-in was a complete rush, so it was impossible even to pick up a cold drink from a machine!!

Luckily, The Hub had a plan! It may have only been a fast food plan, but needs must when you're in a strange land. We went it to Mac Donald's in the Disney Village, about half an hour before we were due to check-in. There The Hub bought 'Baby' yet another Happy Meal, and me? Just a pack of fries!  :(  

Not that he was being mean, you understand - that's all I could have, as they were out of salad!

More important to me, though, was that 'Baby' had enough. I was fairly full from a late lunch anyway and... I'm not exactly wasting away!! 

However, watching The Hub tuck into his burger and chips and 'Baby' into her Happy Meal, I did wish (and not for the first time) that Mac Donald's would roll out the gluten free buns they sell in Sweden across all their restaurants - world wide... or hey! That special diets were catered for more widely. Still, I had one or two of those ANZAC biscuits remaining. One thing's for sure, those mothers of the First World War, THEY knew how to sustain the weary and hard pressed - those cookies are not only yummy, they're also actually quite filling and remain soft even when made gluten free.  :)

And weary we certainly were - not that we were the only ones - 'cos as The Hub went to get us some coffee from the on-board buffet car, he noted that up and down the train the kids were all still going strong, but all the adults looked exhausted!!

C'est la vie!!

Related posts: 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dairy Free, Gluten Free Breakfast at Beefeaters

Don't know if you're planning a trip to Disneyland Paris, but if you're dealing with food allergies you've got to think carefully about how you're going to get there. 

We opted for Eurostar - catching the train from Ashford station, in Kent. For us, given the hour that Eurostar sets off (one train to Disneyland each day, means no choice over time of day. That meant an over night stay somewhere. 

We decided to book a family room at a Premier Inn, not far from the station. One of the main reasons for this, was that The Hub discovered we could order a dairy and gluten free breakfast from the Beefeater Restaurant that was situated right next door!


Eat as much as you want and kids go free.

Even better!!

We'd stayed at a Premier Inn a few years ago, but not realised that this option existed. Time to check it out, then!

I have to admit, I was pretty ecstatic to discover (as I perused the breakfast menu, the night before), that they serve unlimited Costa coffee at breakfast. A former tea addict, I am now, thanks to The Hub, firmly converted to 'proper' coffee!

Of course they serve tea too! 

I was also pleased to note the following:


See that? 'Gluten free bread is also available...' as is soya milk. 

Wow! Okay, many of us dairy free folks can't have soya milk, for one reason for another, I can't, and 'Baby' won't touch anything other than what she's used to, but I was impressed - I've stayed in a few hotels, since going dairy free and never noticed a hotel offer this option before. But maybe I lead too sheltered a life??

Having perused the allergy menu online, we turned up at the Beefeater for breakfast. I could not fault the polite service we were given. The buffet table was laden with the usual fare you're offered at most hotels: cereal, juice, etc. etc. Okay, there was no white linen on the tables, but there was the Costa coffee, as promised. It was served from a flask, but didn't taste too bad for all that.

Better than instant, any day!

As we thought 'Baby' would happily eat it, we ordered a cooked breakfast. 'Baby' was able to have sausage with her cooked brekkie, as it was dairy free. She also had hash browns.

Of course she didn't eat ALL of this, but I ordered a choice of things that I thought there was a chance of her eating!

I couldn't, have sausage, as the sausage wasn't gluten free, or hash browns, due to a 'significant risk' of cross-contamination, but I wasn't bothered, as there was still plenty of food on my plate:

Not going without

There was also dairy free sunflower spread on the table:

This toast's 'Baby's'

And look! Here's my gluten free toast! Happy days!

Two slices! I did eat it all, as I had no idea how well I would eat later in the day!

It was just as well we enjoyed that breakfast, it wasn't exactly a taster of things to come!

But more on that another time...

Friday, 2 May 2014

A miss is as good as a mile - Costa Coffee's new 'dairy free' wrap

Grr! So annoyed I have to find myself writing this post, when there is so much I want to tell you about our recent trip to Euro Disney.

Yesterday morning, I was extremely excited to see messages popping up on Twitter and Face Book, to the effect that Costa Coffee and had a new gluten free and dairy free option on their menu. And that in fact it was the kind of thing you might like to buy and eat for lunch on the go. 


'Oh, how exciting!! How that could revolutionize my life,' I thought.

I've been a fan of theirs for a long time, because we like their mini Cherry Bakewells's and I've also enjoyed their Christmas Cake Slice (only available at Christmas) both of which are gluten free but actually appear to be dairy free also, and have never caused us any problems. They've been a particular boon, since Starbucks stopped making their gluten and dairy free Chocolate and Hazelnut loaf.

Costa even tweeted me directly about their new product.

Here it is!

SO, not one to waste any time, I popped along to a nearby Costa Coffee to see for myself.

I was excited to see that they had used Newburn Bakehouse's gluten free Seeded Wraps, as I know that these re also dairy and soya free. Despite their price, I buy them regularly as they taste great, stay moist-feeling and don't fall apart too easily like some others do.

They were indeed in stock. SO I picked one up and perused the ingredients lists to see if they were also egg and nut free etc. - not for our benefit, but for those who are.

And then I spotted this:

See that, 'May contain' statement??

And I was shocked! Another 'May contain traces of milk' on another product claiming to be dairy free.

So NOT suitable for those with the potential for a severe allergic reaction OR for someone (like 'Baby') who is and certainly has been extremely sensitive to the slightest traces.

To me the word 'free' denotes 'completely free' NOT 'somewhat free' OR 'almost dairy free.' It's extremely misleading and a HUGE disappointment to anyone who is completely dairy free and who happens to come across these kinds of statements - particularly if they are newly arrived to the dairy free lifestyle, through a recent diagnosis and is struggling to get to grips with it all.

As someone who is gluten free, I am aware that 'gluten free' is a legally protected statement. For a product to claim 'gluten free' status in the UK it must be tested and found to be below the officially recommended level of 20 ppm.  See the Food Gov information on this, here. This minimum standard helps me to select products that keep me safe.

Products that are made without gluten sometimes carry 'non gluten containing ingredients' or 'NCIG' on the label. In the same way, a food product that is NOT completely dairy free, could perhaps be best described as 'made without dairy' - it would be far more accurate and helpful. Perhaps even more helpful would be to state that a product is made 'without any milk or any milk by-products' - as so many people seem to think that eggs are also included under 'dairy' (it is in the US, but not the UK).

This week happens to be Food Allergy Awareness Week, and in this week of all weeks, for a product to be launched as 'dairy free' when it isn't, completely angers me. I'm still annoyed with The Coconut Collaborative (otherwise known as Bessant and Drury) for recently doing the same with their new coconut-based yoghurt.

I think it is high time that even though there are varying levels of sensitivity in the dairy free allergic world (see Michelle of 'Food Matters' recent blog post for elucidation on this point), a minimum standard is set that would protect the most vulnerable from companies making claims that can't be substantiated.

Also, Costa are presumably producing these wraps in a dedicated gluten free environment, in order to qualify for their gluten free status. They are no dairy ingredients in any of the products, that I can see, so I don't quite understand why they can't be completely dairy free also. 

I have tweeted Costa, yesterday, and this morning. Their representative is now apparently looking into it. I'll keep you updated if anything comes to light. 

On the picture above, you can see the words 'Costa Cares' (OK, it's upside down, but it's there), so... let's see if they do!!


Message from Costa Coffee Twitter account:

Just heard back and the product is free from dairy; the warning is standard due to cross contamination in-store.

Which is great news - in that we know there's no dairy in the product itself, but highlights precisely the problem that lie within blanket 'may contain' warnings...

If you don't know where the risk lies, how can you may an informed decision. *sighs*

And one has to wonder, if the wraps may come into possible contact with products containing dairy, might they not also run the risk of cross-contamination with gluten (or anything else for that matter)??? 

Oh the conundrums!!

Update 15th May, 2014:

Okay! So the message I got back from Costa was apparently wrong!

How did I find this out? By reading this post, by Kevin Gollop author of the blog 'Gluten Free by the Sea'.

Kevin was told:

“It is not possible to guarantee that the product is 100% dairy-free because it is pre-prepared in a third party factory, which also produces products with dairy in them. Therefore there is an extremely small chance of a trace of dairy being present.”

'Sorry!' I thought, 'Scuse me! That's not what I was told!' 

My concern was not merely for our situation, but also for other people who follow our blog, Face Book posts and Twitter feed. 

The statement in Kevin's post was confirmed later by 'Adam' via Twitter, in response to a tweet, by myself.

Sorry about this. We've now had confirmation and the statement given to Kevin is correct ^Adam

I'm extremely annoyed about this, because the original line they fed me was also the line that others were given (not just myself), and it was WRONG!! So I know the truth, and now you know the truth, but what about the others??

The reason this matters, should not need spelling out.But here we go:

If you suffer from an extreme sensitivity to milk you need to be given accurate information, in order to gauge the exact nature of risk involved. There's a whole world of difference between merely buying your prepackaged dairy free sandwiches in a coffee shop and actually facing a 'small risk' (but a risk nonetheless) of cross contamination occurring at the point where the sandwich is made. Obviously, if we all avoided buying dairy free food from premises also handling milk, we'd probably starve! However, buying a sandwich that's potentially been cross-contaminated at point of production is like playing Russian Roulette - one day your sandwich might be fine, the next (because someone neglects to follow procedure) you're not. 

Depending on the extent of your sensitivity to milk, you might not wish to take that risk.

I sincerely hope that Costa recognise the importance of this and take steps to ensure that this situation is not repeated.

This lunch time I'm eating my own wraps - made with Warbuton's wraps, which are completely dairy and gluten free. 

I know what's in them, 'cos I made them myself!