14.04.2024

Waitrose urgently recalls popular Italian side dish over health fears

Waitrose & Partners has recalled one of its own-brand arancini over fear it may contain gluten – it is labelled ‘gluten free‘ on the front of the packaging.

The supermarket’s Tomato & Mozzarella Arancini with a March 23 ‘use by’ date might pose a risk to those with coeliac disease or who are allergic or intolerant to wheat or gluten.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), which published the alert, told people in the UK  with coeliac disease or who are allergic or intolerant to gluten not eat the tomato and cheese-based riced balls.

Instead, they can return the 30g, £4.10 container tub to the Waitrose & Partners store they bought it from for a full refund.

The FSA issues food recalls — when customers are asked to return a product — when problems are spotted with food that means it should not be sold.

Waitrose & Partners has recalled one of its own-brand arancini over fear it may contain gluten despite it being labelled ‘gluten free’ on the front of the packaging

Waitrose & Partners has recalled one of its own-brand arancini over fear it may contain gluten despite it being labelled 'gluten free' on the front of the packaging

The supermarket’s Tomato & Mozzarella Arancini with a March 23 ‘use by’ date might pose a risk to those with coeliac disease or who are allergic or intolerant to wheat or gluten

Arancini are Italian rice balls that are stuffed, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried- they are typically eaten as a starter, side or a snack.

People who have coeliac disease have an autoimmune condition the immune system- the body’s defence against infection- mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

The immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attack them.

This damages the surface of the small bowel- the intestines- disrupting the body’s ability to take in nutrients from food.

Coeliac symptoms can range from diarrhoea, stomach aches, bloating, flatulence, indigestion and constipation.

Coeliac disease can also cause more general symptoms, including: fatigue, malnutrition, itchy rash, infertility, nerve damage, disorders that affect co-ordination, balance and speech.

Children with coeliac disease may not grow at the expected rate and may have delayed puberty.

Routine testing for coeliac disease is not done in England- testing is usually only for people who have an increased risk of developing coeliac disease, such as those with a family history of the condition.

There is no cure for coeliac disease but following a gluten-free diet can help control symptoms and prevent the long-term complications of the condition.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

It can be diagnosed at any age, although symptoms are most likely to develop during early childhood and in later adulthood- between 40 and 60 years of age.

MailOnline has contacted Waitrose and Partners for a comment.

What is coeliac disease and how can people avoid gluten?

Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten.

Gluten is found primarily in wheat, but also in rye, barley, and to a lesser extent, oats.

It makes up the protein part of these grains, nourishing the plant embryos during germination.

It affects the elasticity of dough, so is used to make baked wheat products more or less chewy.

It is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

For sufferers, eating food containing gluten can trigger a range of painful symptoms including:

  • diarrhoea
  • bloating and flatulence
  • abdominal pain
  • weight loss
  • feeling tired all the time, resulting from malnutrition
  • children not growing at expected rates

Coeliac disease is not an allergy, nor an intolerance.

The immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body, and attacks them.

This damages the surface of the small bowel, disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in food.

Scientists still do not know exactly what it is that causes the body to act in this way, but a person’s genetic make up and the environment appear to play a part.

There is no cure for coeliac disease, but following a gluten-free diet can help control symptoms and prevent the long-term consequences of the disease.

Even for sufferers whose symptoms are mild, or non-existant, a gluten-free diet is advised, because continuing to eat gluten can cause serious long-term problems.

Complications include osteoporosis, and iron deficiency anaemia.

Less common and even more serious complications include some cancers, include bowel cancer.

Gluten is found in beer, breads, pasta, cakes and pies. It is also found in cereals, chips, croutons, cookies and processed meats. It can be found in salad dressings, sauces such as soy sauce and soup or soup bases.

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