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Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Tesco Cool Tortilla Chips - incorrectly labelled?

Has anyone experienced adverse symptoms from eating these chips? Having checked the ingredients list before purchasing, I ate a large handful of these at the weekend. I have been really poorly since and there is just no other thing it could have been. On checking the Tesco website ingredients list, it quite clearly says Wheat and Gluten. but on the actual pack in the allergen advice it says see ingredients in bold. (The whole list is as follows with bold ingreds in normal brackets)


Maize, Sunflower Oil, Cool Flavour Seasoning.

Cool Flavour Seasoning contains: Salt, Cheese Powder -[Whey solids (Milk), Cheese Solids (Milk), Salt], Buttermilk Powder (Milk), Onion Powder, Dried Whole (Milk), Sugar, Tomator Powder, Dextrose, Yeast extract, Garli Powder, Flavourings, Citric Acid, Black Pepper, Lactic acid, Aidity Regulator [calcium lactate], Sunflower Oil, Colours [annatto, paprika extract], Rosemary extract.

Here is what it says on the info box on the shopping website:

Allergy Information - Contains: Milk, Wheat & Gluten

Maize,Vegetable Oil ,Cool Flavour ,Cool Flavour contains: Wheat Flour ,Milk Sugar ,Salt ,Onion Powder ,Flavourings ,Tomato Powder ,Garlic Powder ,Vegetable Fat ,Malic Acid ,Glucose Syrup ,Black Pepper ,Colour (Paprika Extract) ,Sunflower Oil ,White Pepper ,Milk Proteins ,Stabiliser (Sodium Triphosphate)

They are not the same, wheat flour seems to be replaced by whey solids, so is there anything else in the first list I should have avoided?

15 Replies

The Coeliac uk food and drink directory does not list them as ok for you, the lightly salted ones are listed as GF though.

I wonder if the recipie has been changed which would explain the discrepancy .


Yes, I noticed that afterwards and that would certainly tally with the Tesco product info. But the only allergen listed on the pack I bought is milk, which lulled me into a false sense of security. In comparing the above two lists, there is definitely a change of recipe . Looks like I shall have to tackle their customer services.


Dextrose and glucose syrup can be a wheat derivative so therefore contain gluten.


I think the "yeast extract" has got you.

I got glutened by some dry roasted peanuts a few weeks ago, labelled as safe. Didn't spot the mighty ubiquitous yeast extract in the ingredients until I had a pounding headache and cramps


Hi Waterlilly.

Sorry to hear about your bad luck. You have just reminded me about how one should be suspicious of the word 'flavourings.' It sounds like you did your best at the time to check the ingredients though.

I agree with your idea that you should contact Tesco's customer services. I feel at the very least they owe you an apology for not clearly labelling and identifying an allergen in their product. It would also help the next person not to fall into the same trap.

If you do contact them, would you let us know how you get on? - it would be interesting to hear how they respond.


After similar experiences I avoid anything with dextrose unless it states the source.

1 like

Last night we went to a friends for dinner. She was so pleased as she had found some gluten free potato Indian snacks for me. Wisely she had left the packet for me to read the ingredients. There were one or two that I considered dodgy but the biggest no no for me was the advice from the manufacturers that the product had been prepared in a factory with gluten products. So I did not have any. I don't know who made them I forgot to look I don't think it was a Tescos product. But I felt a bit ungrateful as my friend had tried to be helpful and considerate and cooked a delicious gluten free meal. This morning I am so glad I didn't eat any of the snacks especially I was wavering out of gratitude.


Hi Waterlily, sorry to hear you had a bad reaction. I avoid anything with yeast extract - it always gets me. Yeast (as in when I use it bake gf bread) is not a problem, but yeast extract always is - and it's in a lot of items labelled gluten free (like Kallos stock cubes for instance!!!). Also the cheese powder would have sent alarm bells ringing (as in just how did they make the powder?). I also steer clear of dextrose and glucose because I rarely see it disclosed as to what they are made from... I've long since stopped buying any flavoured crisps, even the Burt's ones which declare themselves to be gluten free (although I will sometimes have the ready-salted version). As for plain tortilla crisps, I seem to be ok with Tescos own value brand. But there can always be an issue with whether the maize has been cross-contaminated (I have yet to source gluten free cornmeal, for example). I hope you recover quickly - I find recovery takes longer now that I'm more vigilant about everything. Take care.


Bob's Red Mill blue cornmeal for sale on Amazon (if you don't boycott that company as I try to) is gluten free. Is blue the same as normal cornmeal?


Thanks for all the helpful replies. I do now steer clear of products like Doritos which state they have been prepared in a factory that handles gluten containing products. This is the first time though that I seem to have fallen foul of the dextrose, yeast extract, maltodextrin minefield. I have eaten stuff with no apparent ill effects before. I have only been GF since last May, so still slipping up occasionaly but this is without doubt the worst glutening I have experienced. It would help greatly if Coeliac UK would stop insisting that these ingredients are free from gluten, as people's experience would certainly seem to contradict this.


Aldi do a value bag of corn chip tortillas which just contain maize and sunflower oil. Tesco cool chips used to be gf but I remember it changed quite a while ago to be not safe for coeliacs. The worse thing for me is when manufacturers change recipes and do not clearly state this. It means we have to be continually vigilant and always checking labels, unless you do as I have had to and give up all but a few basic items to go on a very healthy fresh food diet- fortunately I love to cook!


Yes the Aldi value Tortilla chips are fantastic. Also my Asda does have from time to time some GF labelled T/chips ...... brand is 'Amaize-ing' or something like that ..... but quite a lot more expensive but nevertheless boldly stating GF. Curious to know how many other folk feel that Coeliac UK let them down over the additives? I felt very let down by them when I discovered that and I always mention it when possible. They are too much in league with big manufacturers I think whose aim might not be primarily to provide good, really GF food.


The drawback in tackling the manufacturers on the subject is the potential for them just using the get out clauses of "May contain......" or "Prepared in a factory which handles......", which will just further restrict our food options because of not being able to trust anything. :(


Here is an update:

I contacted Tesco customer services and after a few days I got a phone call from them to discuss the problem. The rep then went off to clarify the situation with the appropriate department. He has just got back to me to say that A) the website details are wrong and out of date and B) the tortilla chips are definitely gluten free. He assured me that if there was a potential for cross contamination during production, it would be stated on the pack.

So there it is, gluten free. This rather leaves me wondering what it could possibly have been that I ate, or, indeed whether it is the yeast extract that is the culprit after all. Question is, do I have another go at them to see what happens, or will I just leave well alone? (Hmmmm think I know the answer to that!) Thanks to all who replied.


Might be worth getting the Coeliac society to verify as well?


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