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Why Is Barley Malt Added To So Many Breakfast Cereals?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:20 AM

Why is barley malt added to so many breakfast cereals? There would be lots of cereals I could eat if it weren't for this wretched ingredient. Yet here in Australia there are NONE on the mainstream market that don't at least contain this product?

Why do so many cereal makers (esp. Kelloggs) insist on using this ingredient? Especially when there are so many celiacs around? I'd like to know what's behind this. :angry:

I can understand it being in beer, however breakfast is, by far, the most important meal of the day! And the celiac condition has become a very common one at that. WE HAVE TO EAT!

On the upside, they've had Cocoa Pebbles and Kix at my local IGA in Canberra from time to time as they keep a lot of international (American and British) foods there.

Edited by kellynolan82, 21 August 2011 - 08:50 AM.

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#2 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:40 AM

It really does seem extremely odd to me, as we really don't see it so much in lollies and ice cream (though it is sometimes present in these foods as well) but it seems to be really extensively unnecessarily used in Cereals.

My feeling is is that if GM in the United States, could remove it from many of their items, why can't anyone here?
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#3 melikamaui

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:56 AM

I wonder this too. I miss Rice Krispies with a passion! If not for the stupid barley malt I'd eat it all the time. :angry:
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#4 sa1937

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:07 AM

I wonder this too. I miss Rice Krispies with a passion! If not for the stupid barley malt I'd eat it all the time. :angry:

Kellogg's has come out with gluten-free Rice Krispies. They're made from brown rice and the boxes are very well marked gluten-free on the front.
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#5 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:09 AM

Only in the USA though. Which is a really good start, though I thought they could have just as easily taken malt out of the regular ones. Is there any particular to an extract of malted barley?

From what I understand it's just a sweetener. Just like corn syrup or brown sugar syrup :rolleyes:
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#6 lovegrov

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:47 AM

I'm pretty certain that barley malt is in most of these cereals because blind taste tests have shown that people prefer the taste. They're more likely to buy the cereal.

A local Japanese restaurant owner once told me that he switched to wheat-free soy sauce without telling customers and they IMMEDIATELY noticed a taste difference and told him in no uncertain terms that they didn't like it.
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#7 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 12:07 PM

I'm pretty certain that barley malt is in most of these cereals because blind taste tests have shown that people prefer the taste. They're more likely to buy the cereal.

A local Japanese restaurant owner once told me that he switched to wheat-free soy sauce without telling customers and they IMMEDIATELY noticed a taste difference and told him in no uncertain terms that they didn't like it.


I would have thought it would be more widely used though if people liked it THAT much. I wonder if GM's Chex cereals were compromised when they took it out of them? :unsure:

In fact, I discovered that with strict labelling laws here in Australia that one brand's 'vanilla malt' flavoured milk doesn't actually contain 'malt'. They use an artificial flavour along with carrageenan. It isn't even labelled as gluten-free ;)

Times have changed though and I think it's about time we had some cereals that SHOULD BE naturally gluten free to BE JUST THAT! It's just bizarre that so many companies are so 'hard' and don't even 'care' about the gluten free market.

I also wonder what the Coeliac Society of Australia (now known as Coeliac Australia) is doing with the major supermarket brand 'Coles' when none of their cereals are gluten free either? Coles seems to always promote certain in-store brands of theirs at the Coeliac Society's gluten free expos yet they cannot offer any actual meal options. IT STINKS! And I think we're being cheated. :angry:
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#8 kareng

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 01:06 PM

Would be nice to have more mainstream gluten-free cereral but I don't see how a Celiac Society can force a store to change the cereal. Nor do I see how it is wrong for a company to make a cereral with malt as long as they aren't mislabeling it as gluten-free.
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#9 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 02:06 PM

Would be nice to have more mainstream gluten-free cereral but I don't see how a Celiac Society can force a store to change the cereal. Nor do I see how it is wrong for a company to make a cereral with malt as long as they aren't mislabeling it as gluten-free.


It's just frustrating. There are many other brands with at least as many (if not more) gluten free products as the Coles supermarket brand. They're the only supermarket brand that has chosen to stock a freezer range of gluten free products - which I think is why they're so active in the gluten free shows. They used to have one cereal that didn't contain gluten but there was a may be present warning on it due to probable contamination. All of their mainstream corn and potato chips have the same warning and some do contain gluten.

I just don't get why (given such a large celiac population) these companies do not even care to try. Someday it will probably be too late for some when others jump on the gluten free bandwagon.

Though, to be really honest, what really SICKENS me is when I hear that certain cereals in the UK are suitable for coeliacs when they contain barley malt! I know many friends in the UK who have complained to the cereal companies over there and all the get is a response saying that certain items have been tested for gluten content and contain no detectable gluten and can be labelled 'gluten free'.

THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS in the long term. Here in Australia, the food labelling law states that in order for a product to be labelled gluten free, it must comply with the code.

Gluten Free Labelling Laws
Excerpt from FSANZ (page 15) Standard 1.2.8

Claims in relation to gluten content of food

(1) Claims in relation to the gluten content of food are prohibited unless expressly permitted by this code.

(2) A claim to the effect that a food is gluten free must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains –
-- (a) no detectable gluten; and
-- (b) no –
-- -- (i) oats or their products; or
-- -- (ii) cereals containing gluten that have been malted/their products.

(3) A claim to the effect that a food has a low gluten content must not be made in relation to a food unless the food contains no -
-- (a) more than 20 mg gluten per 100 g of the food; or
-- (b) oats or cereals containing gluten that have been malted/their products.

(4) A claim to the effect that a food contains gluten or is high in gluten may be made in relation to a food.


As can be seen, nothing containing barley malt can be labelled 'gluten free' in Australia. 'Suitable for coeliacs' is also an illegal label.

I also think we should urge the FDA over there to consider including oats on the list of prohibited grains. We don't want your gluten free products being contaminated by trace amounts of gluten free oats if they don't suit. That would be so scary and sad. :(

But back to the topic - thought I'd draw to these points for a moment just to clarify reasons why these cereal companies may have not taken action. Perhaps they're being misguided...? :unsure:

Seems like for how common this condition is, we're really not getting the attention we deserve and I think we deserve better than this! :)
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#10 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 02:24 PM

Whoa how did my "b )"s turn into a B)

:lol:
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#11 kareng

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 02:28 PM

People with Celiac are 1 % of the population. Many companies will not want to go to the expense of reformulating and testing for 1 % of the population. It is their right to choose to have gluten-free food or not. If the grocery store has policies or products or anything you don't agree with, you do not need to shop at the store.

Laws are different in different countries. They do not all conform to Australia's laws nor do they need to. It is up to the people living in those countries to change or enact laws about gluten-free food standards, meat safety, real estate, marriage, motor vehicles, pet ownership, etc.

While I would love to have a Gluten Free Country, I don't think the gluten eaters in Hawaii, Colorado, or some other lovely place will take it well when we invade. :)
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#12 kareng

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 02:30 PM

Whoa how did my "b )"s turn into a B)

:lol:


Happy face magic?

Hit edit and look at your post. A letter b and the ) is the symbol for that face apparently B)
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#13 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 03:40 PM

People with Celiac are 1 % of the population. Many companies will not want to go to the expense of reformulating and testing for 1 % of the population. It is their right to choose to have gluten-free food or not. If the grocery store has policies or products or anything you don't agree with, you do not need to shop at the store.


I just think they're missing out, and it's to our disadvantage too. Gluten free 'fad' diets don't seem to be much of a thing here and sometimes I think Australians are just 'too tolerant'. I am going to submit feedback to ALL of the Australian breakfast cereal manufacturers and suggest they really do look into this. I have already done it previously a few years ago but I think it's just being ignored.

Sanitarium used to make a gluten free muesli however they deleted that line due to "extremely :rolleyes: poor sales". :angry:

I think the coeliac associations in the UK have taught Kellogg's that small amounts of gluten in their corn flakes are safe. However in Switzerland they don't use malt at all in Kellogg's corn flakes. I don't think we should have to accept this, and I won't! Cadbury stuffed up their chocolate recipe here in Australia last year by adding proprietary vegetable fats to their chocolates. All the needed were hundreds (not thousands) of consumers complaining to them over a period of 7 months and they changed it back. One of the posts I came across mentioned this: "If consumers can change such a corporate giant's product to suit their demands, they can LITERALLY change the world!

I think that part of the reason that nothing is changing in the breakfast cereal industry with regard to gluten is because we haven't demanded enough. We need to savour the opportunity we currently have to contact these companies with our requests. If anyone would be willing to help me out in a mission that could potentially help 140,000 or more Australians here are some links below.

Kellogg's Australia http://www.kellogg.c...60/Default.aspx
(Request gluten free' rice bubbles.)

Sanitarium Australia http://www.sanitariu...m.au/contact-us
(Request that they remove or replace the barley malt flavouring in their Skippy Corn Flakes.)

Coles http://www.coles.com...Contact-Us.aspx
(Request that they consider making some of their mainstream cereals completely gluten free.)

Mention some issues, such as cost, convenience and the prevalence of coeliac disease. Also make mention of the fact that other brands (such as General Mills in the USA) have reformulated a vast array of their products to suit the gluten free market without the need to charge consumers extra.

You may want to copy and paste the above links I've posted into your browser bar so they don't see that you've all been referred by one (1) person... Not critical, but just a thought ;)

Let me know if you think making requests as such is rude at all. I don't think it is, but have always wondered how it comes across whenever I make such requests. :rolleyes:

I also think brands just 'copy' and 'mimic' each other and product development teams just see the gluten free diet as a fad. In this regard, I think that often the company's product development team lets the company down.

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed as a celiac who always avoided foods labelled gluten free. He decided to go on the gluten free diet while at college and his mother was absolutely furious but he was constantly sick and his skin was as pale as anything. Now he's really healthy but boy were there some family problems or what? They had him on a dairy-free diet but every time he asked at home about removing gluten from his diet and having coeliac disease they were quite ignorant about it and said "Don't get it. You're not going to get it! You're not a dairy person, and many who have the disease find it's over in a month or two."

Soy and dairy seem to be a breeze to avoid in comparison to gluten over here. Don't know about the United States but I think between the wheat and barley products used in our supply we're just about through. No mainstream companies seem to want to change their recipes for us anymore.

End of my vent, but do try and contact at least one or two of the companies mentioned above on their cereal offerings. I've mentioned details in the brackets below each link with specifics on what you should request. I'll also try to contact some American companies for you guys and suggest the addition of more mainstream cereals. Same with the UK. It never hurts ;)
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#14 kellynolan82

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 03:41 PM

Happy face magic?

Hit edit and look at your post. A letter b and the ) is the symbol for that face apparently B)


Just saw that, thanks :)
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#15 psawyer

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 04:55 PM

Just saw that, thanks :)

If you need to post b) there are two ways to make it happen. The first is to insert format codes between the two characters, as in
b[i][/i])
There is also a post-wide option in the main editor. Look below for "Click to configure post options" - one of the options is to disable emoticons.
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