3.10.13

Warning - Are 9bar no longer free from dairy?


I have been a fan of 9bar for quite some time. Following a few mystery stomaches I decided to take a closer look at what I had been eating. Last night I pulled the 9bar packet out of the cupboard and noticed they were no longer declaring to be dairy free. I was 100% certain they had previously been marketed as free from dairy so I emailed the company for clarification. Here is the response -

"Thank you for your message via our website. Firstly, we apologise for any concern that the removal of our dairy free claim from 9bar has caused.

This decision has been taken as a result of a lack of clarity and guidance from the Food Standards Agency on the rules for claiming dairy free on a product, and whereas with claiming gluten free there are clear guidelines we can follow as a manufacturer, for dairy free claims we have recently been advised that there is a zero tolerance approach.

Whilst we have strict manufacturing practices in place for all allergens, we do use several dairy ingredients within our factory at times when we are not manufacturing dairy free products, and because there is therefore a theoretical risk of cross contamination below the limits of detection which is currently 2.5 parts per million, we cannot guarantee the complete absence of dairy and therefore have taken the decision to remove the dairy free claim from the 9bar range until such times as there is clear guidance from the Food Standards Agency.

We have not changed any of our manufacturing practices for 9bar, and in our opinion the bars are as safe for those with dairy intolerance as they have ever been, however for the time being we cannot claim dairy free for the reasons stated above."

I admit I had been lazy and not checking favourite products for changes. I simply bung them in the trolley at the supermarket and do not give it a second glance. I wanted to post this on my blog as a warning to others, especially if like me you have not been checking labels of your regular snacks. I do not know if 9Bars have been my trigger but I will be avoiding for the time being. 


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7 comments:

  1. are they still in the free from section? i always know somethi g has changed with my snacks if they are not in the place they usually are!

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    1. Yes they are at Tesco but I wouldn't expect them to move as they are still free from other allergens

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  2. My instinct is to feel that it's perhaps not fair to blame FSA on this occasion. 'Dairy free' labelling has to be driven by allergy concerns, and while we think 20ppm is safe for the vast majority of coeliacs, we don't yet know what ppm of milk is safe for the vast majority of those with milk sensitivities - the research isn't there yet. Not sure that's FSA's fault. The other issue with dairy, specifically, and with egg, is that when these thresholds are established and applied, we'll be in a situation where 'dairy free' and 'egg free' may not mean 'vegan' - because traces will be allowed. How the vegan community will feel / respond to this, I don't know, but it will be interesting ...

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    1. Remember Sunstart Bakery told me there was a limit for casein & lactose but are we talking about milk as in the end product as I know these are only components within. I think it's safe to say as the consumer I'm confused and perhaps it's about time we had some limits set as we do for gluten. I have to admit I don't know what my own threshold is with milk I often feel like I have zero tolerance but I eat plenty of "may contains" products. Good point about Vegans

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    2. I'd forgotten about that, but , on reflection, those were perhaps limits of detection too? After all, limits have only been set for gluten, as you say. Michelle of Foods Matter has just blogged on this, and I'll make this point there too, but I wonder why manufacturers like 9Bar can't make a 'no detectable dairy' claim instead if tests come back negative? I'm also concerned about this 'zero tolerance' approach. What does it mean, in practice? Surely not that nobody is allowed to make a 'dairy free' claim?

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  3. What a bummer! Well, I guess I'm also guilty of not carefully reading labels...I suppose I should check and check again, and be careful of changes to the ingredients!

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    1. It's so easily done, my weekly shop rarely changes because you buy what you know & love but don't necessarily double check everything each time

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