No gluten v gluten free: Boy with Coeliac disease finds out difference the hard way


Gluten free or no gluten – what's the difference?

Gluten free products are going mainstream, but no gluten is making life hell for a young Coeliac.
Source: Fair Go

So there are plenty of people these days who choose to be 'gluten free' – but what about those who get severely sick from even a tiny amount of gluten?

Eight-year-old Leo Flynn is one of thousands of Kiwis who has Coeliac disease - which means he's allergic to gluten.

Leo's case is more extreme than many, so he has to be very careful.

He even has a separate toaster from the rest of his family, and products in the pantry are clearly marked as gluten free.

Leo's mum Natalie Flynn is super careful about what she feeds Leo.

She bought him a Pure Delish Primal Choc Bar – because it said "no wheat, gluten or egg used in this recipe" on the front of the packet.

Natalie says a couple of hours later Leo became sick and she believes it was from the Pure Delish bar – because on the back it says "produced in a bakery that also makes products containing wheat, gluten, egg and dairy" and also on the ingredients list it says Gluten: less than 2mg.

Natalie believes the front of the packet should be clearer, because she thought 'no gluten' meant 'gluten-free'. But it doesn't.

There is no technology in the world which can test for zero gluten.

The lowest test is three parts per million. Only then can you label your product 'gluten-free'. 

Pure Delish say their internal testing is rigorous, to an incredibly high standard, and that they have been able to test down to always come in at under four parts per million.

They say their bars are safe to consume under international standards endorsed by the NZ Coeliac Society, and that independent testing has returned findings of 'no detectable gluten' in the bars.

They don't believe their muesli bar made Leo sick, but are willing to sit down with the mother and son to see if there's anything they can do to make the labelling clearer.

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