Celiac.com 01/18/2017 - Irish food manufacturer Largo, whose snack products include Tayto, has admitted it sold crisps contaminated with high amounts of gluten in a packages that were labeled "Gluten Free."
After buying a package of O'Donnell's mature Irish cheese and onion, gluten-free crisps for her 10-year-old son, a mother from Arklow, County Wicklow, reportedly noticed a reaction to the crisps when his ears began turning red. The mother complained to the company and the HSE subsequently brought a criminal case against the food manufacturer.
Calling the case a "very serious matter," Judge Grainne Malone noted that the maximum penalty on indictment in the cases at the circuit court was a €500,000 fine and/or three years in prison. However, the judge agreed to the jurisdiction of the district court in the case.
Giving evidence, HSE environmental health officer Caitriona Sheridan said that products to be labeled gluten-free were required to contain less than 20 parts-per-milligram gluten. The crisps targeted by the complaint tested at more than 700 ppm gluten. Lab tests on a second control sample of the product showed more than 100 ppm of gluten.
Two other people have since filed complaints about high gluten in Largo's gluten-free products. The company responded by withdrawing two pallets of the products, which it said contained the incorrect crisps.
Counsel for the company, Andrew Whelan, told the court the issue was identified as a malfunction in the line, and that Largo will now package gluten-fee products in a "totally segregated" production area.
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