Tayto Crisps Ireland have pleaded guilty after breaking food safety protocols with it's gluten free. It was found some of their products were not testing at the safe gluten levels for Coeliacs.
Think you're safe eating food marked gluten free? Well you would hope so, but for firm Largo who produce Tayto crisps in Ireland, it seems that even when the pack is marked gluten free you are far from safe with the company pleading guilty to breaching food safety regulations.
In May last year there was a complaint from a mother in Co Wicklow after her son reacted to a pack of cheese and onion gluten free crisps. The mother complained to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who brought about the court case which happened at Navan District Court on the 11th November 2016. Two other people also complained following the first complaint.
For a product to hold the gluten free label it has to be rigorously tested to ensure gluten levels fall below 20 parts per million, the amount that is deemed safe for Coeliacs.
The crisps in question were tested to see what the exact gluten level was and the crisps were found to contain 700 parts per million of gluten, which is over 35 times the safe level. Another batch was tested and found to contain 100 parts per million. Following these tests two subsequent pallets of crisps where apparently stopped from going out as they were identified as containing the incorrect crisps.
The court case has been adjourned until December 16 where the victims mother can be present for the outcome if she wishes and the company could face a fine of up to €500,000 and/or a 3 year prison sentence.
The judge handling the case also requested a medical report into the the possible outcomes of a Coeliac sufferer who has ingested gluten before issuing her judgement.
Largo have also stated they are prepared to make a donation to a Coeliac charity. A nice gesture but does this really make up for the criminal offence they made?
Tayto's Bistro range currently has three flavours which hold the gluten free emblem; Mature Irish Cheddar Cheese and Spring Onion, Crushed Sea Salt and Aged Vinegar and Thai Sweet Chilli, it is believed that the company has now put in a "totally segregated" production area. Mr Andrew Whelan, counsel for the company also stated that the company had spent €100,000 to remedy the problem despite telling court that their annual turnover is 10,000 below that at €90,000.
There is more info on this case on herald.ie