Wendyl Wants To Know: Gluten-free treat isn't a total slice of heaven
There are now many gluten-free products available in our supermarkets. But you do need to exercise caution when buying these products. Just because they are gluten-free does not mean they are any healthier for you or do not contain a lot of additives.
Pavillion Raspberry Slice Gluten and Dairy Free - $6.00 for 330g
Gluten-free flour (starch: maize, potato, tapioca, rice flour, soy flour)
To make a gluten-free flour you have to avoid wheat which contains gluten. So this flour incorporates starch taken from other sources.
Margarine (animal and vegetable fat, vegetable oil, water salt, emulsifier (471, soy lecithin), acidity regulator (330, 500), flavour, colour 160a, antioxidant (320)
These are standard ingredients for margarine. I do wonder about the animal fat as this product is dairy-free, so you would hope it isn't butter. Perhaps it is fat such as lard or similar. Other ingredients include emulsifier mono and diglycerides of fatty acids (471), acidity regulators citric acid (330) and baking soda (500), artificial flavour, carotene which is a natural colour (160a) and antioxidant butulated hydroxyl-anisole or BHA.
This additive is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" by the US department of Toxicology and Health. However, our Food Standards Authority permits it for use in food.
This is a high-sugar product. You will eat 21.3g or just over five teaspoons of sugar per 55g serve, a sixth of the packet.
Good to see real egg in here rather than a substitute.
This is hydroxyl-propyl distarch phosphate (1422), which is a treated starch.
Raising agent (500, 450)
This is baking soda (500) and diphosphates (450).
This will be artificial flavour.
Icing (sugar, water, vegetable fat)
Not sure which vegetable oil this is.
Maize glucose syrup
This is a gluten-free sweetener made from corn.
Stabiliser (1422, 415)
This is hydroxyl-propyl distarch phosphate (1422) as above and xanthan gum (415), which is fermented glucose and sucrose.
Raspberry Filling (sugar, apple, raspberries 1.2%)
Good to see real raspberries in here.
Water Stabiliser (440)
This is pectin.
Acidity regulator (330, 331)
These are citric acid (330) and sodium citrates (331).
This will be artificial flavour.
This is potassium sorbate (202), which is neutralised sorbic acid.
Mineral salts (341, 452)
These are calcium phosphate (341), which is a salt of phosphoric acid, and diphosphate (452), which is also a salt of phosphoric acid.
Colour (124, 132)
This is disappointing. These are two artificial colours. Ponceau 4R (124) was included in a voluntary phase-out called for by the UK's Food Standards Agency and an EU-wide health warning must now be put on any food or drink that still contains these colours as they are thought to cause hyperactivity in some children. Indigotine (132) is a blue colour, previously banned in Norway.
It is such a shame that in the search for healthier food that doesn't cause an allergic reaction, you are exposing yourself to many other additives which can cause problems.
Sure, there is no gluten or dairy in here, but there are artificial flavours and colours, and BHA, which is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen". Still, this raspberry slice isn't quite as bad as the one I looked at which had a solvent and egg replacer included in its ingredients.
If you're gluten-free you might want to skip this cake and buy some gluten-free flour to make your own.
Do you have a food product you would like to feature in Wendyl Wants to Know? Email email@example.com with suggestions. Unfortunately Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.