Cadbury chocolate is not gluten free. There is a bad news story out there for the gluten free chocolate lover. Cadbury has updated their packaging and in turn their 'may contain' clause to include wheat. This means that is it no longer deemed gluten free or safe to eat, for a person living a gluten free lifestyle. For the gluten free sweet tooth out there chocolate can been a saving grace. So much confectionary is off limits due to gluten being used in the actual product and/or the manufacturing process. Now Cadbury must be scratched off the list too.
I went to Cadbury to determine the reason for the 'may contain' clause update. I was in contact with a Kraft Foods Consumer Relations Advisor, who was very helpful, although I sensed some reluctance after I stated my intentions of blogging on the topic!
My first questions went something like this;
- My partner noticed the other day while I was eating some Cadbury Dream chocolate that it now includes wheat in the 'may contain' clause on the packaging (I notice it is the same on all Cadbury Dairy Milk blocks now), can you please explain what this means to those who have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant?
- Can you please clarify if Cadbury's manufacturing process has changed?
The representative for Cadbury responded to each question below and followed up with the phone call which I missed;
- We believe that it is in the best interest of our consumers that we fully disclose a full allergen statement in case WHEAT, EGG, PEANUTS AND TREE nuts may inadvertently end up in our products and as such we have moved to a new more comprehensive allergen statement on pack to provide greater consumer confidence so that if you or a family member has a propensity for an allergic reaction to a cross contact material you are fully aware of all trace ingredients included in our products. Note: Our factory carries out a validated allergen clean after any production run that contains listed allergens.
- We would like to reassure you that we haven’t changed the formulation of Cadbury Dairy Milk or our production methods.
This opens up a proverbial can of worms. A long list of questions entered my mind as to how they could ever have been letting those with coeliac disease eat their product if there was even a question of it coming into contact with wheat and the same goes for other allergy sufferers. Some of the questions it raised in my mind were
- How is allergen management policed in the food industry? Look out for a blog on this as research is underway.
- Are we being subjected to unnecessary allergen statements, just because companies won't fork out for the testing required to have a gluten free statement?
- What is the process required to obtain the gluten free statement or crossed grain symbol endorsed by the Coeliac Society?
I have been in contact with Cadbury again to ask the following questions
- I was curious to know what drove Cadbury's decision to update the clause. If you are certain your allergen cleaning procedure is 100% effective you shouldn't need to have such a clause. Could you shed any light onto why the changes were made? Does Cadbury use the VITAL guide and calculator?
- Also I don't know anything about the process used to clean food manufacturing plant and equipment. Would you be able to give me an outline of how it works or point me in the direction of a valid resource.
I received a very polite but essentially uninformative phone call from Cadbury (I assume because in the same email I had stated my intention to blog the answers they were giving me). They went something like this;
- Cadbury used the fact they were updating their packaging to reflect a more stringent 'may contain' clause.
My contact at Cadbury couldn't give me any answers to the process undertaken to ensure their products are allergen free. Nor was there anything forthcoming in relation to how they clean their plant and equipment and they were unsure of where they would suggest I go for a resource.
Cadbury have stated that they are in contact with the Coeliac Society about their product and offered to put me on a mailing list to let me know if they can come up with a plan to ensure their product can be certified gluten free.
It would be interesting to analyse some more of Kraft's products in Australia to see if they have similar restrictions on them. Oh no please not peanut paste!
Further to this article if you are looking for gluten free chocolate is Australia Haigh's have a large range of gluten free chocolate, check out our blog to see the list of what you can't have because there are a lot more you can!