Marzipan and fondant wheat problem

Had a bad reaction last night after marzipaning and fondant icing my homemade gf cake. Nibbled the Tesco brand marzipan, looked up glucose syrup as an allergen (I have severe wheat allergy) this morning to find that it can be wheat derived, and that the whole industry is celebrating new allergen labelling saying that doesn't need to be revealed.


20 Replies

  • Hi Rosered, I'm really sorry you've been made ill and I hope you feel better soon.

    Unfortunately wheat derivatives do not have to be labelled as that in the UK/EU. So you will have to be careful with other artificial sweeteners like dextrose and maltodextrin, some vitamin tablets contain Manatol which's not only a wheat deriv but is also used as a baby laxative! Another wheat deriv is caramel colour E 152 and even citric acid can be a wheat deriv.

    The problem is that wheat deriv's are so processed they are well within codex and would have much less gluten in them than codex wheat starch which's available on presrciption. And many coeliac can eat them without any apparent I'll effects and they are classed as gluten free, hence your issue.

    Until this is resolved the main advantage is it will encourage you to eat a diet avoiding many processed foods which is'nt a bad thing but that's still not fair on you or those who are sensitive to these wheat deriv's.

    Food for thought maybe we should have a campaign on GFG to get wheat derivatives to be labelled as just that.


  • Thanks Jerry

    That would be good for me, and also I suspect many Coeliacs. My consultant immunologist said people who have a wheat allergy often go on to become coeliac if they continue eating wheat and have the susceptible gene (which I havnt luckily). So many Coeliacs will be wheat allergic as well without realising it, and this may partly explain why so many Coeliacs react to miniscule levels of gluten.

    Happy xmas

  • I think a campaign would be good Jerry! This stuff is in so many products. I think I read somewhere that some glucose syrup does not contain wheat; but of course, if this is the case, we can't identify which products are safe.

  • I have spent time ringing confectionary companies for my son urban girl. He misses jelly sweets like Haribos, skittles and starburst. They all contain wheat derived sugars. The only sweets I can find that do not so far are Love Hearts and Double lollies. He also misses ice lollies so I make them out of fresh orange juice. I agree with jerry that the fact we don't know what's in these processed foods stops us eating them which is probably a good thing. Hard when you are only 10 though. I hadn't understood before the difference between wheat allergy and inability to eat wheat due to coeliac disease. I am wheat intolerant but eat no wheat at all. Are you saying Rosered that my son could tolerate wheat derived glucose syrup but I cannot?

  • I think a coeliac could eat wheat derived glucose syrup, if they did not have a wheat allergy too. But I am saying that based on what my consultant told me. I think lots of Coeliacs can and do eat wheat derived dextrins, dextrose, maltodextrins and wheat derived glucose syrup. Coeliac UK say they are ok too, presumably because the gluten is stripped out. I can't tolerate them because I, as I understand it, am allergic to the wheat element, a protein I think, rather than the gluten. However my understanding is very basic. Generally just lately I only eat fresh food prepared at home from scratch. There are a small number of products and places I trust, and I very rarely now break my limitations.

    Happy gf Xmas

  • Ah ha I see Rosered thank you for your explication. It makes sence. We too eat out in a select few places. If staff knowledge is poor we walk!

  • One option you might have with relation to sweets is buying the US versions, which as far as I understand (please someone correct me if I'm wrong!), are made with corn derived sugars instead.

    I've seen them at branches of Tesco and they can be bought online from specialist shops – the only problem is they cost about four times the price! I bought some recently in a fit of nostalgia then realised I didn't miss them half as much as I thought I did, but then I'm 50 and have no real excuse to be eating them in the first place...

  • Thank you freelancer for the tip. Nothing wrong with eating sweets at 50!

  • Count me in on that campaign Jerry.

  • HI Everyone,

    I think that every ingredient and it's derivatives should be listed, not just the most common allergens. My 2 year old grandson is allergic to all animal milk proteins, beef, soya and egg and I suspect other allergens that he has not been tested for. Yesterday I was looking after him whilst his mum was at work and we had to eat out whilst doing our last minute Christmas shop. He had 2 sausages and 2 hash browns in a Wetherspoon's pub and for tea a McDonald's fish finger happy meal. These are foods that we have checked and he has eaten in the past but last night we had a terrible night with him. He was crying and would not sleep, his little tummy looked very bloated and then he has had 3 very bad nappies during today, that have a strange greeny/yellow colour and are very loose. These are signs that he has had milk in something he has eaten. My daughter thinks that his fish fingers may have been cooked in the same oil as those used to cook chicken nuggets. She used to work at McDonalds until she became pregnant with my grandson and knows that at busy times those doing the cooking might not use the separate cooking oil that they should. This is not just an issue for people with allergies but also people who cannot eat certain foods due to religious reasons.

    TT xx

  • It's very disturbing that it should have been dismissed in this way. Glucose syrup can be one of the worst triggers for me.

  • When I looked back on the link I gave it referred to a European directive of 2007, though I can't find more recent comment.

    Here's the list of wheat products which do not need to state origin:

    (a) wheat-based glucose syrups including dextrose (1);'

    (b) wheat-based maltodextrins (1);

    (c) glucose syrups based on barley;

    (d) cereals used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages.

    And here's the starch industry's reaction to the decision:

    Permanent exemption obtained for “allergen labelling” of wheat-based maltodextrins, glucose syrups, dextrose

    We are pleased to announce that on the basis of EFSA opinions, on 28 November 2007 the Commission published with Directive 2007/68/EC, the list of food ingredients or substances permanently excluded from allergen labelling.

    Thanks chaps


  • Also while I am on my high horse, (doesn't take much) 1 in 100 have CD, 1 in 500 have wheat allergy, I bet there's a lot in both camps. I would support a campaign Jerry.

    Happy Xmas everyone

  • Just want to add an additional perspective and some factual observations.

    As someone working in the food industry - glucose syrup, maltodextrin and dextrose are not always derived from wheat. They can also some from potato, corn etc...In fact most maltodextrin used these days in Europe is from Potato (as its cheaper). So there are plenty of gluten AND wheat free products that contain carefully sourced not wheat derived glucose syrup. So if in doubt ask. And if they can't answer quickly exercise cautions.

    As a nutritionist glucose syrup is both a processed food and a sugar - two things we should be eating less of anyhow regardless of source - buy hey I realise it's Christmas.

    All the best and Merry Christmas


  • Well that's what we'll do and the new year, if you go to the FSA website about wheat derivatives they say that that by not having to say source of these artificial sugars is so that the manufacturer can change the source without having to change the label. So maybe this was OK in 2007 but things have moved on and 'we' the consumer want to know what we are really eating and I reckon if we have a petition on it could get a lot of support from others, so thank you MaryF for introducing some of us to them. So food for thought.

  • Excellent! I'm in.

    However knowing EFSA I fear that it could be a long wait with many a consultation, proposal and subsequent amendments.


  • Well just now 15th May 2015 on Facebook Jamie Oliver has a petition going on so why not Jerry.

  • Happy New Year to you all.

    I am so sorry to learn of your problems with glucose syrups. Some food producers KNOW how, where and what the origin of....where the items used in production . When Wellfoods says its safe for us..I mean that. Only use beet or potato based glucose syrup. Nothing less will do.......

    As for making marzipan etc....make your own...its a 5 minute job, very easy....and giving the marzipan a thorough kneading is very therapeutic....and your hands afterwards will be so soft from the almond oil....more than one purpose.....= good value!!


  • Thanks for your post Apricot, I was already thinking I would have a go making marzipan, I remember doing so at school for a xmas cake in domestic science about 40 years ago. I think what really bugs me is that probably a lot of the glucose syrup, maltodextrin and dextrose is potato or corn based, fine for me and sensible Coeliacs, but that manufacturers won't put on base product because when it's a wheat based product that will put off many people. They and medics may believe people may not have a problem so let's withhold the info so they continue eating the product.

    Anyway good thing is my diet is only improving, fresh home made food and making lots of curries etc for variety.

    Happy new year to all


  • Rose, I can understand people being scared, frustrated etc at the prospect of having to scratch build meals....and I understand more than most the time pressures etc.

    However, there is a choice to be I control what goes into dishes I prepare...I know the sources of ingredients. I know I am safe in my choices. My first concern...

    Happy safe new Year to you


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