has anyone else reacted badly to the genius cheese & onion slices?

i recently went shopping and found new additions in the dozen "free from" range, I'm not going to lie - i did get a little excited!! i picked up these genius cheese and onion slices, re checked the ingredients as always and gave them a try, (i have cut out everything, but still have dextrose as i don't seem to have reacted in the past)


Gluten Free Flaky Pastry (57%), Cheese & Onion Sauce (43%).

Gluten Free Flaky Pastry: [Water, Rice Starch, Maize Starch, Vegetable

Margarine; ( Non hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Water, Salt, Acidity Regulator: (citric acid), Emulsifier; (mono and diglycerides of fatty acids), Antioxidant: (Tocopherol-rich extract), Flavouring), Rapeseed Oil, Potato Flakes, Guar Gum, Whole Egg Powder, Dried Glucose Syrup, Dextrose, Acidity Regulator; (Sodium Diacetate, Citric Acid). Cheese & Onion Sauce: Water, Seasoning: [Milk Powder, Whey Powder, Dehydrated Potato (1.3%), Cheese Powder (contains phosphate E339), Modified starch, Vegetable Fat Powder, Flavouring, Dried Glucose Syrup, Stabilisers E401, E450, E341, Onion Powder, Yeast Extract, Sugar, Colour E160c.] Onion (6.0%), Mature Cheddar Cheese (2.0%), Coloured Cheese (2.0%) contains colour: (Annatto, Paprika).

so i get home, and pop one in the oven as i was getting rather hungry, they looked/tasted lovely, like a "normal" pasty, well, as i remember, it gets foggy!!

hours pass by and I'm getting bloated, but this happens from time to time, it gets to 5hrs later, i had del asleep, which happens sometimes when i've been glutened, i wake up with the horrendous cramps, within minutes i was crippled over in pain, one of my worst reactions in a while, my reaction lasted all night, no sleep, stomach was still tender 2days after, has anyone any clue? or has anyone else tried & reacted to these monstrous slices? could it have anything to do with this new 20ppm is now "gluten free" help!

32 Replies

  • i haven't tried the slices yet but bought some yesterday so will let you know if react bad to them, i have tried both the chicken and the steak pies and i was fine with those! x

  • well i bought the steak pies too i am a little hesitant to say the less....... let me know how you go!! x

  • Hya, this with Genius comes up time and time again, some claim it is the high fat content? with these slices it is just over 11g of fat per 100g

    There are lots of additives and I read your answer about gravy using maltodextrin and many coeliac have issues with maltodextrin. And this depends on it's source. So if it comes from the US it will almost certainly be from corn. If on the other hand it comes from the Eu it could well be a wheat derivative. Dextrose as you are aware can be a wheat derivative so can glucose syrup and citric acid as can any additive that lists sucrose as it's source.

    Wheat deriv's do not have to be listed as wheat deriv's in the Eu. This is because they are so processed they are deemed safe for coeliac. But many coeliac have issues with wheat deriv's and what interests me is the EFSA (European food standards agency) tested coeliac and wheat intolerant people with dextrose and maltodextrin from wheat and some people had a reaction to levels as low as 10ppm. So in my opinion the real issue is that wheat deriv's do not have to be labelled as such. And the 20ppm means that these foods still come in at under 20ppm so are not necessarily totally gluten free like a potato is. Usally if a coeliac is OK with codex wheat then they do not have issues with wheat deriv's but to those of us who are super sensitive they are an issue. I call it life beyond codex.

    The other ingredient some people have issues with is guar gum, which is hydroscopic so it absorbs a lot of moisture and thus can act like a laxative in some. (like super roughage)

    Here's a list of E'no's that should help you and others who are sensitive to make decisions when buying processed foods:


    And I hope that you feel better soon as it's rotten luck when you buy something clearly labelled as gf and it upsets you.

  • thankyou i have had a look at the e'numbrs that is very helpful, i didn't know half of them!! :/ quite scary! i find it really puzzling that the us are using safer products than here, are we not good enough, its ridiculous its like their testing everyone like lab rats, we have a dietary REQUIREMENT, its not out of choice, i am so confused, i am probably just better off making everything from scratch aren't i, just so hard when you have a full time job.. sigh..

  • Hi all.

    I just cannot work out why the Government can't take the simple answer to a real problem.

    Simply legislate that if an ingredient is derived from wheat, rye, barley or oats then this must be delared. This then makes it simple to make a choice to consume or not.

    It works in Australia and New Zealand.

  • So true Roscoe. Sadly I believe the words 'money' 'tax' 'income' have something to do with it as do 'import' 'export' in the EU. I know there are plans afoot to lifet the levels to 20ppm in NZ - the mind boggles - why fix what isn't broken.

    @Wheaty - Did you eat / drink anything else with the purchase? Do you normally eat products with those ingredients. If I find it hard to spell or recognise what's in so called GF foods I often wonder if I should be eating it. However, if it's labelled GF why shouldn't we? It's worth you mentioning your reaction to the Genius team in case there has been any other issues with the same batch yet as Jerry says it could be many things that have caused the problem for you. Get well soon.

  • thankyou, i didn't have anything else to eat, just a glass of water, so i deffinatley know its the slices, hmm i am going to mention it to genius, if they don't know it cannot be solved right? i don't usually eat ready made meals, ever since going gluten free, i usually make everything from scratch to be safe really, i am confused as to why the government cannot recognise this as a real health issue, its not like we want to be this way. it's so hard to know whether to eat thing or not, especially like you say, you see the words gluten free, so why should we have to doubt it. i am rather sad, i have hit a wall, i tried a sandwich the other day too and also ill, not having a good week :(

  • Well, there are at least 6 things in the ingredients which *could* potentially be derived from wheat/gluten containing sources and more sensitive coeliacs could suffer.

    I'm particularly surprised to see Modified Starch in there which is another name for processed wheat...:

    Non hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

    Dried Glucose Syrup


    Modified starch

    Vegetable Fat Powder

    Dried Glucose Syrup (again)

    Also all Genius products outside of their breads contain lots of milk. I wrote to them and urged them to reconsider this given that many coeliacs have milk issues. They wrote back saying that "it would not be possible to make their products without milk (!!!!!!!)".You can imagine my sarcastic reply!!

    These guys:http://www.bakedtotaste.co.uk/ do gluten free pies/pasties - the cornish pasties and chicken balti pies are to die for. Forget their sossy rolls and the steak/chicken pies are OK.

  • thanks meanioni, yeh i have been having quite a few issues with milk as of late, does this mean I'm going down the road of becoming lactose intolerant too...?

    I'm just really confused to be honest, I've been told that modified starch is safe but then others have said as you have, that its processed wheat, so why are they allowed to put it in "gluten free" food? so frustrating!!!!!!!!!!!!

    so would you say to stay away from all of the above?

    i wil have a look at that website thank you very much, although I'm wary of trying anything else now :/ I've not had ready made food i a long time so it was a little treat, which was not such a treat! ha

  • Modified Starch is generally not safe as it is generally derived from wheat.

    See below for comments on milk - word of warning you may still get milk reactions if you go lactose free if you have an intolerance or allergy to milk proteins. Keep a food diary (listing what you are eating/drinking and state of health) and watch for reactions. You should see patterns forming.

    Also see amzn.to/xS8vbW - this is a group of digestive enzymes which will break down milk sugars (lactose) and proteins (casein) and reduce impact of milk for those with intolerances. It should not be used longer-term - cure is get off milk! But I use them if I am unsure and don't want a reaction.

    They will not help with milk allergies though.

  • thanx i will look at these i will try anything, having health issues at the moment so any help i will take! also going to take a trip to the gp tomorrow see what they say, I'm not holding my breath though!

  • How can modified starch derived from wheat be considered gluten free. The mind boggles!

  • Indeed! Kinda leapt out at me from the ingredients list!

  • This is from CUK,


    According to the FSA these starches do not have to be labelled with their source so that the food manufacturer can switch the grain source without having the expense of changing the labels and this is with CUK's backing.

    To me it's the price we pay for being able to get codex wheat starch on prescription.

    Incidentally in NZ and Australia where they have to label the source of the grain, Marmite is listed as containing wheat germ extract and not gluten free, whereas in the UK it says plant extract and is listed as gluten free.

  • Wonder if the vegimite is gluten free.

  • Hi Osborne, it depends on our definition of gluten free as here's the ingredients of Vegemite and a list of foods to avoid.

    If you check out the last section of foods to avoid malt vinegar marmite and vegemite are listed: please see:


    Vegemite is made from leftover brewers' yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, and various vegetable and spice additives.

    Ingredients are:

    Yeast extract, salt, malt extract, colour (caramel), vegetable flavours, vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin).

    I'm going to ask Roscoe to confirm Vegemite's status in Australia at the bottom of this Blog.

  • Genius don't have their own factories, they use a large bakery in Edinburgh which manufactures baked goods for many other brands - it does quite a few of the gluten free products out there under different brands.

    However.... they do also do conventional wheaty baking there too - I'm not sure how separate their processes are and if cross-contamination could be an issue.

    I've never had a problem with their bread and can't do any of their other produce as it is milky, so can't say for sure.

  • @wheaty why not write to GF Wharburton's and ask them to create more savory products. They DO have a dedicated factory & were very passionate about catering for coeliacs when we met them.

    If you are newly diagnosed it is good to remove dairy for 6mths to allow villi to heal & then try and reintroduce dairy gradually. until villi re-grow you may have problems with all dairy. You can get lactose testing on the NHS caesin and dairy is harder to get done.

  • thats an idea, I've not had a lot of support from my gp to be honest, just thats it stay of gluten. but i don't really eat dairy products, just the ingredients that are in things like contains milk/dairy, i do have tea in the morning with a tiny bit of milk, a few weeks ago we were having cocktails and i had a white russian, got quite flemmy so i don't think it agrees with me really, so u think i should go off dairy completely? does it also affect my villi like wheat/gluten does?

  • No, in the normal course of events you won't get a coeliac style autoimmune reaction to dairy (where your immune system attacks your gut). Dairy reactions can be intolerances - squidgy bum and possibly a rash; or allergies - more typical allergic reactions - swelling of mouth/lips, soreness, difficulty breathing, runny nose, etc.

    Intolerances are nasty but not life threatening and cure is simple - just avoid milk. It does make life more complex as many, many processed foods (inc. gluten free) have dairy in them. Watch out for things like casein or whey powder on ingredients.

    Allergies are a different matter as they can improve over time but usually don't - I know several people with milk allergies who started off with a mild reaction and have now progressed to more anaphylaxis type reactions where they are potentially life threatening and have to carry an epi-pen.

    I'm not trying to alarm you - as the majority of people with milk problems won't experience that. However, personally I don't want to eat stuff that makes me ill and really don't want to have the risk of progression to something like that so would rather avoid it.

    There are plenty of soya/rice milk alternatives - do ensure you watch your calcium levels though as low dairy diets expose you to risks of this. If you start getting muscle cramps, this can be a sign of low calcium. Long term can lead to osteoporosis and other problems. A glass or two of soya milk and/or a soya desert will give you 60%-70% of your recommended daily allowance - or eat a diet rich in veg/fish/meat/eggs and/or consider supplements. Probably worth seeing a dietician.

  • I should add that if you do get mouth swelling/breathing issue type reactions you must see a doctor as this could be an indication of anaphylaxis potential...

  • Hi Jerry

    Did you mention marmite. No self respecting Australian (who can eat the product) would choose marmite over vegemite. :-)

  • Hi Roscoe, is Vegemite classed as gf in Australia please?

    Vegemite is made from leftover brewers' yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, and various vegetable and spice additives.

    Ingredients are:

    Yeast extract, salt, malt extract, colour (caramel), vegetable flavours, vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin).

  • No Jerry hence the (who can eat the product) sorry for that.

  • BTW ingredients list Yeast brewed on Barley and allergen statement reads (contains Barley) No mistake there.

  • Hi Roscoe and thanks for confirming this. In the UK there is a less robust definition of gf and Marmite is classed as gf over here. As are some breakfast cereals with low levels of malt and I avoid them all!

  • That is plain stupid of the government. How is a coeliac able to determine whether to consume or not if there is no allergen statement etc. to assist. Crazy.

  • i had these last ni ght and had a reaction

  • the cheese slices

  • really? do you still have the packet? although they would still say they're 'gluten free' as the food regulations allow small amounts of gluten to still be classed as gluten free, they are so ignorant to our needs they don't see it as a proper illness. i hope your feeling better its so horrible when you get excited to have a 'treat' and then be punished for it :(

  • i put a blog up on this matter also and i posted onto it the reply i received from genius if you wanted to have a gander. its not them that can do anything over it its the government. but would be good if you also let genius know that you have also had a reaction so they may take note that there product is actually causing illness.

  • i don't know, worth a try eh?

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